Frankly, I did not know what to expect when I took three grandchildren to see this film immediately after it arrived in Dallas months ago. We saw it at an IMAX theater in 3-D, an experience that reminded me of a time when (at their age) I was startled when Vincent Price began to hit a rubber ball with a wooden paddle at me and others in the audience at the Shore theatre in Chicago. This time around, I was soon unaware of the paper glasses and concentrated on an especially clever plot. Briefly, Bolt (voice of John Travolta) has become a celebrity dog because of his appearances on a television show during which (through special effects) he demonstrates super-canine powers when opposing evil forces in various forms, especially those that threaten his beloved owner, Penny (voice of Miley Cyrus). Bolt is convinced that he indeed possesses these powers. After all, he can "see" himself in action on film. And then, for reasons best revealed during a screening, Bolt and Penny are separated (a recurrent theme in most of Disney's feature animated films) and he must overcome all manner of obstacles to become reunited with her, another familiar Disney theme.
Of course, he collects some eccentric but likeable companions along the way. I was especially impressed by the co-directors Byron Howard and Chris Williams keep the plot moving along at a lively pace and credit the screenplay's co-writers, Dan Fogelman (also the voice of Billy) and Chris Williams (another voice) with producing consistently entertaining dialog. It's always fun to try to recognize the voices provided to animated characters. Other than those of other than Travolta and Cyrus, the only other significant voices I recognized were James Lipton's as The Director and Malcolm McDowell's as Dr. Calico. Lipton is best known for his association with the Actors Studio (he conducts the interviews on PBS) and McDowell was unforgettable as the character Alex in Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film, A Clockwork Orange.
The quality of this film's production values is very high. I especially enjoyed watching it in 3D and expect most (if not all) animated features to introduced in 3D. As is also true of so many other animated features produced by Disney's Pixar as well as DreamWorks, Bolt appeals to those of all ages. The special features that accompany the film in both DVD and Blu-ray formats (my copy is DVD only) really are special. They include an animated short film, "Super Rhino," and deleted scenes as well as several featurettes: "In Session with John Travolta and Miley Cyrus," "A New Breed of Director: The Filmmakers' Journey" and "Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt."
As indicated, I really enjoyed seeing this film again as well as seeing the special features provided with it. I think Bolt is a worthy companion of Disney's other action/adventure animated features, notably The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under, and also resembles Disney's Pinocchio, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan in terms of its themes of separation and "grace under duress." Also, its clever use of loyal companions throughout a sometimes perilous journey before reaching a reunion or reconciliation of some kind. However, unlike most of these films, it has no scenes that may upset younger children. True to the studio's founder, Disney's animated features also affirm certain basic values of enduring importance. For Bolt, it means possessing authentic courage rather than the illusion of it.
Within the past few years, Disney movies that don't have Pixar attached typically tend to be forgettable. Meet the Robinsons was funny but so random and jumbled that telling anyone just what the movie was about was a pain. So when Bolt came out without Pixar to it (and having to follow the absurdly over the top Meet the Robinsons) it was easy to be a little skeptical. Without Pixar (or Johnny Depp) it doesn't seem that Disney does so great on their own. Yet for what it's … more
Welcome back Disney. Far too long have you been in Pixar's shadows. The last big hit you had was with "Lilo & Stitch," a movie that stood out in a sea of duds and lessor attempts, and that was back in 2002. That movie was based off an idea by Chris Sanders, a longtime animator who hit box office gold. Now, after "Home on the Range," "Chicken Little," and several other poor attempts to reclaim your former glory, you have brought us "Bolt," a movie about a dog who run faster then a speeding bullet, … more
You know the formula, classic Walt Disney. Some cute and cuddly lead character, attacked by a black evil character, scare the little kids for a while, there's a big fight, and the cute and cuddly lead character wins. If you love the Disney formula, this film is a total winner. Hate that formula, and well you just won't enjoy this film. Animation has certainly made a ton of progress in the past few years. This movie is no exception. Where the Incredibles (The Incredibles (Two-Disc … more
Mittens: [to Bolt] The real world hurts, doesn't it? Short Attention Span Summary (SASS): 1. Bolt (John Travolta) is a pup with super strength, laser vision, and all the other good stuff that comes with the portfolio of "superhero" 2. That is, once he's on the movie set of his hit series 3. He's never been off the movie set 4. He's totally devoted to his owner Penny (the ubiquitous Miley Cyrus) 5. Unforeseen … more
I admit that I really wasn't that excited to see BOLT. An animal road trip movie featuring the voices of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus? It really didn't sound that interesting to me. However, I was wrong. BOLT is a much more entertaining and enjoyable movie than I expected and after viewing it I would gladly watch it again. Bolt (John Travolta) is the star of his own tv show with his owner, Penny (Miley Cyrus). In the show, Penny's dad is a world-class scientist who is wanted … more
Pros: Zesty, exotic, hard, perfect for the movie Cons: Not as gripped as I thought I would be. The Bottom Line: I thought I would be listening to this soundtrack over and over. Sad to say I was wrong. Hans Zimmer with bite. Thats how I would describe this soundtrack. Tyler Bates, the composer, has a bit of Zimmers style, but throws in some spices, plenty of flair, and a lot of violence. You get 300 out of it. I enjoyed … more
Professionally, I am an independent management consultant who specializes in accelerated executive development and breakthrough high-impact organizational performance. I also review mostly business books … more
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Boltis a funny animated film about a dog who thinks he has superpowers. It is also a movie about friendship, perseverance, and the power of believing in oneself. Everyone knows that superheroes on television are not real, but super-dog Bolt (John Travolta) is a canine star who has been carefully raised to believe that he really possesses superpowers. Bolt is completely devoted to his human co-star Penny (Miley Cyrus), so when Penny is captured by the evil Dr. Calico (Malcolm McDowell) in their latest television episode and then Bolt accidentally gets loose in the real world, Bolt sets off on a journey to save her. Bolt is confounded when his super powers are suddenly ineffective, but inspiration strikes and Bolt quickly discovers the mysterious, power-stealing effects of Styrofoam packing peanuts. An encounter with alley cat Mittens (Susie Essman) gives Bolt some eye-opening lessons about being a real dog in the real world, while star-struck, ball-enclosed hamster Rhino (Mark Walton) revels in the opportunity to serve as Bolt's sidekick in the quest to rescue Penny. The trio traverses the United States from waffle house to waffle house on a hysterical quest to find Penny and prove that the relationship between Penny and Bolt is real. In the end, Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino learn that everyone is special in their own way and they discover the true power of believing in oneself and one's friends. Select theaters showed Bolt in Real-D 3-D which features some nice effects, ...