by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
BLURAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)
John Travolta as BOLT
Miley Cyrus as PENNY
Susie Essman as MITTENS
Mark Walton as RHINO
Malcolm McDowell as DR. CALICO
Directed by: Byron Howard and Chris Williams
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“Bolt” follows a pup named Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) that thinks he has super powers. He protects his girl Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus) from a battalion of evildoers. However, what Bolt doesn’t know is that these events are all staged for his benefit by the producers of a television show. When Bolt thinks Penny has been captured, he rushes out into the real world to save her. He’s accidentally shipped from Hollywood to New York, and he must make his trip across the heartland to return home. Along the way, he befriends a cynical alley cat and a hyperactive hamster named Rhino, and eventually discovers that he’s just a normal dog with no super powers.
WHAT I LIKED
This past year, I have found myself often uttering the phrase, “You just can’t go wrong with Disney dogs.” It’s not that dogs and Disney are an infallible combination, but rather that the Mouse House can usually put together an adorable family film with a dog as the lead character. “Bolt” was part of a one-two punch this fall with “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” Both movies were great for kids, and they could also be enjoyed by the whole family.
I’m impressed with “Bolt” because the Disney Feature Animation department is now approaching Pixar quality with their films – not just in animation style but also with the heart and soul of the story. All the elements are in place with this movie: the cute dog, the adorable sidekick, intense action (especially in the spectacular opening sequence) and a wholesome message.
Of course, I’m a kid at heart, so I was taken in by the obvious elements. The opening action sequence was as incredible as a film can be, and in the BluRay hi-def format, it’s amazing. The only thing missing is being able to watch the movie in 3D, which you could in the theaters.
But the best element of the film was the overzealous hamster Rhino. Like other scene-stealing sidekicks, Rhino gives us the energy where Bolt is played with more subtlety by John Travolta.
The bottom line is that this is a great family flick and a very well made film.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Not to harp on that opening sequence, but I wish the whole movie was like this. I understand the need to present a disconnect between fantasy and reality for the youngest of viewers, but I was so taken in by that action piece that it was a bit of a downer to come back to the “real world” in the film.
The answer is yes... I would absolutely watch a “Bolt” television show if it were like the beginning of this film.
There are several versions of “Bolt” floating around there, scaled by price. You can get the single disc DVD, the double disc DVD or the 3-disc BluRay/DVD combo. What’s great about the combo is that even if you don’t have a BluRay player (but plan to buy one soon), it also comes with a DVD of the film, which includes the bonus material. The third disc is for Digital Copy if you want to play the movie on your portable device.
The bonus material includes a behind-the-scenes feature on John Travolta and Miley Cyrus as voice talent, an “I thought I Lost You” music video with Travolta and Cyrus, a few deleted scenes in storyboard format with directors’ introduction, an art gallery and the set-top “Bolt’s Be-Awesome Mission Game” introduced by Rhino himself.
Additional featurettes include “Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt,” “Creating the World of Bolt” and “A New Breed of Directors: A Filmmakers’ Journey.”
But the best part of the special features, which is included on both the BluRay disc and the DVD, is the new short “Super Rhino,” featuring my favorite character with new-found super powers. Fully awesome!
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Kids, animation buffs and fans of Disney dogs.