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 by an evil mastermind named Dr. Calico (Malcolm McDowell). Knowing that he won't always be around to protect his daughter, Penny's father genetically alters Bolt giving him superpowers such as heat vision, lasers that shoot from his eyes, super strength, super endurance, and a super bark that works as a sonic weapon. It makes for a highly entertaining adventure show that has made Penny and Bolt into stars. The only catch is that Bolt thinks that the world of the television show is real life. Each day after filming Penny takes him to his trailer where he is locked in for the night. Penny wants to bring him home for a weekend, but her agent and the producers won't allow it. When a studio representative threatens to shut the production of "Bolt" down if the ratings don't garner enough of the key 13-25 year-old graphic, the Director (James Lipton) writes a cliffhanger episode that ends with Penny being captured by Dr. Calico. Bolt thinks it's for real and attempts to rescue Penny, but accidentally gets shut up in a box and sent across the country to New York. Taking a stray cat named Mittons (Susie Essman) as his hostage, Bolt begins his cross-country odyssey to find Penny. Halfway through the trip they are joined by a hamster in his exercise ball named Rhino (Mark Walton). It's a trip that will change each of their lives forever. And even though the movie is named BOLT, Rhino is the real star of the film.
The plot isn't exactly new, but it is told in a fresh and engaging way. I think this has a lot to do because of John Lasseter and new directors Byron Howard & Chris Williams. Even if BOLT was just an average picture, it would be noteworthy because it's the first Disney film that Lasseter has produced since Pixar was brought under the Disney umbrella. Disney animation has been lagging for years and with the addition of Pixar, Disney hoped that Lasseter and company would turn things around for them. I also think that the fresh perspective of Howard & Williams also helped the production.
In regards to animation, BOLT is extraordinary. The landscapes and scenery are beautiful, but don't distract from the central action. While watching the special features, I learned that this is because the backgrounds are actual paintings of real-world locations. These were filmed onto a frame and then the main action was animated over those scenes. Also, scenes and items that looked too perfect were made to look more real and lifelike. It's a combination of old style animation, but done using computer technology.
The special features on the DVD include the short "Super Rhino" which shows what happens if Rhino had the same super powers as Bolt; two deleted scenes with introductions from directors Howard & Williams; the preview "In Session with John Travolta & Miley Cyrus"; "I Thought I LostYou" music video; "A New Breed of Directors" featurette; "Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt" featurette; "Creating the World of BOLT" featurette; and previews. I really enjoyed the "Voices" featurette. Mark Walton is not a full-time actor but just works at Pixar/Disney. He's done a few voice before and did the voice for Rhino on the rough-cut of the film. It was planned to hire a professional actor to do Rhino's voice, but everyone loved Mark as Rhino. The "Voices" featurette includes footage of when Mark found out he had been hired as Rhino. The guy is quite talented and enthusiastic and I hope that he does more voices in the future.
The Blu-ray version of the film also includes "Bolt's Be-Awesome Mission" which is a game using your remote and an Art gallery as well as a copy of the movie on DVD and a digital copy of the movie.
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
The main reason for putting off watching this movie was lack of a child visitor in the house. With the arrival of my 3-year-old niece, we've been catching up on 'family' films. I had pretty neutral expectations of this movie only to find my level of satisfaction rather high at the end. It reminded me a great deal of 'The Brave Little Toaster' from back in the day, but is otherwise a classic tale of a motley crew finding friendship and making their way … more
This was such a great film. The visuals are stunning and you can tell the animators actually cared (no thrown together film for these guys!). It's funny - really funny. I think Rhino stole the show myself though :) Yes, it's about a dog and it's a feel good family movie. Ho hum, Ho hum, right? Not quite. It's a little bit more than that, I thought. A stand-out film to be sure. My kids loved it and so did the adults. I think this might be the most surprising film I saw last … 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
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 … more
Bolt is such a good movie! Bolt is a dog with superpowers working in the world of espionage with his "person" Penny...or so he thinks. Truth is that Bolt works in a T.V. show and he doesn't even know it. The producers have gone to extreme lengths to hide this from Bolt (hiding the microphones, etc.) just so that his "performance" is real. But then Bolt is inadvertently shipped all the way across the country and exposed to the real world. He must come to terms with the fact that he does not have … 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
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, ...