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I laughed, cried, and was on the edge of my seat. Disney has created some lovable characters who will definitely win the hearts of millions. Congrats to the entire Disney Animation studio, well done.
What makes Bolt noteworthy as well as a success on its own terms is its ability to take an age-old message about being true to oneself and finding your inner hero, and mesh it with a unique storyline that ends up spawning what, at first glance at least, seems wholly unique. Coupled with the expectedly bright crisp animation and stellar voice work, makes Bolt better yet, and a sure contender for best animated film at this years Oscars. Bolt also reclaims the original song work of Disney past, conceived between its also star and teen sensation Miley Cirus and Jenny Lewis and both compilations are memorable and sweet. Bolt never dives for the heartstrings, but scores its emotional points through well developed characters and thoughtful situations.
Bolt opens with a very entertaining action sequence in which Bolt (voiced to surprising effect by John Travolta) and his master Penny (Miley Cirus) are chased by well equipped super villains which plays out in the vein of The Incredibles. The genetically altered canine can leap helicopters in a single bound, melt evil with laser eyes and destroy villains at a whim with his super-bark. It is soon revealed that the action speckled lives of Penny and Bolt is in fact a hit television show, which requires Bolt to be kept in the dark about the nature of his existence; in brief, he actually believes he has super powers. But after a cliff-hanger ending of an episode in which Penny is taken, prompts Bolt to escape, determined to reclaim his friend and master. Embarking for the first time into the real world he haphazardly enlist the help of a very reluctant cat (Susie Essman) and a fan-boy err...fan- hamster named Rhino (Mark Walton) and along the way learns, and earns, the true stripes of a hero and that of friendship.
If everything I mentioned above was not enough to make you see this film, I can also reveal that Bolt is an at times hilarious send-up of the movie industry and genre clichés. Propelled by the hilarious supporting voice work including Malcolm McDowell, Dietrich Bader and James Lipton the blend of comedy, drama, and flat out entertainment value is unmatched. Also worth an enthusiastic mention are the pigeons that show up throughout the course of Bolt's adventure. Not only (as with all) is the voicing perfect but the physical humour implored is gut-busting, with the feathery fools twitching their heads in a pigeon- esquire way during their meetings with Bolt to glorious results.
If you have a chance, you obviously should see this film in 3-D, however it is still well worth your money viewed in a traditional medium. Bolt is a reminder of why Disney was such an animation juggernaut and it is pleasant to see them recapturing some of their past glory. And just in case you want it mentioned bluntly, yes there are many jokes that older patrons will more then enjoy. It is always refreshing to see an old formula revamped so effectively and certainly always welcome to see a movie that can put a smile on faces of all ages.
8.5 / 10.0
View all my reviews at Simon Says Movie Reviews: www.simonsaysmovies.blogspot.com
Who would have thought "Bolt" would be so thrilling and entertaining! The opening action sequence is rushed with adrenaline, it excites me even though it is an animation! The plot is intelligent, interesting and fun, the great thing is that it entertains without the need of any toilet or gross out humour. The super-bark and laser eye scenes are so hilarious, in a cute and mesmerising way. In addition, the transition of Bolt from being a super dog to realising he he has no powers is very well presented, that it makes me feel sad for Bolt. The animation is flawless, and all the characters in the animation are super cute. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of "Bolt", I think it makes perfect family entertainment.
The film revolves around Bolt, a white German Shephered who has spent his entire life on the set of a TV show in which he portrays a "superdog". As a result, he believes that the events on film (and his super powers) are real. When he is accidentally shipped from his Hollywood soundstage to New York City, he embarks on a cross-country journey to reunite with his owner and co-star, Penny. Along the way, Bolt teams up with a jaded alley cat named Mittens and a TV-obsessed hamster named Rhino who also happens to be an extreme Bolt fanboy.
First of all, the effects in this movie are unbelievable. Everything in the movie looks so realistic and yet doesn't contradict with the animated cartoon-esquire characters. Also, while Bolt is obviously the star of the movie, the real comedy comes from his unlikely companions. In fact, my favorite character of the bunch is Mittens the cat, voiced excellently by Susie Essman. Very seldom do I hear/see a character and say "I can't imagine anybody doing a better job playing him/her", but Essman really brings a lot to this already memorable character. And though I found him to be pretty irritating at first, some of the best lines in the movie come from Rhino the hamster.
Lastly, in one of the opening scenes we see Bolt as he is in the TV Show to set the understanding of Bolt's world. Seriously, that was made of awesome. The scene was action packed and full of excitement. I would watch the show that Bolt is in. If I had to have a complaint, it would be that it takes some ideas from several other films (such as Homeward Bound, Toy Story, and The Truman Show). That said, it still manages to feel like its own film, and with grace.
With terrific animation, an incredibly heartwarming story, and some of the most endearing characters I've ever seen on film (animated or otherwise), Bolt has not only become my favorite Disney film (Pixar included), but perhaps my absolute favorite movie of all time. It feels strange saying that, especially considering that I didn't even expect to like the film, but I simply can't think of a movie that I've loved more. It's also one of the very few films that manages to bring me to tears every time that I watch it, and when a movie is able to affect me on that kind of level, it automatically becomes a winner.
Few times I laughed, few times I had watery eyes, and it's impossible not to adore the characters and be at the edge of the seat as you follow the story. Also really loved the "authentic" finale with Penny and Bolt.
The Real D (my first ever 3D glasses movie too) was the cherry on the cake with the astonishing graphics.
All the characters were great. The pigeons were great comic relief. It's amazing the amount of detail the animators put in. Watching the way the pigeons moved their heads was entertaining in itself. Rhino and Mittens were also hilarious while having more depth as well. A lot of Rhino's great lines were in the preview but didn't exactly play out in the story the way they seemed like they were going to. Even with that, he was hilarious. Obviously the plot is predictable but it's a very fun story. We were laughing out loud throughout this movie.
Skip Bond and see Bolt.
This film is about the bonds of friendship between Bolt, a "superdog" and Penny, a young actress. Bolt thinks he has super powers but he he obviously does not. He realizes that when he takes a cross-country trek with a mangy cat and a weird hamster to save his human companion.
I guess you could say the voiceovers are great. John Travolta and Miley Cyrus certainly did a good job.
I liked the music in this film. I shouldn't be surprised because Travolta did star in Grease thirty years ago. The duet with Cyrus is a great song.
This movie deserved to win some bigtime awards. The only reason this did not happen because Wall-E overshadowed this film.
This is one of the best Disney animated films this decade. Actually, most of them are great animations. Anyway, I rate this film 10/10.
The script is based on a treasure of meanings: the world seen by the eye of a dog; the difference between fantasy and reality; the role of the audience in an entertainment project; and, first and foremost, the main idea: A DOG'S SUPER-POWER LAYS IN HIS FAITHFULNESS! Anyone who ever owned a dog knows how true (and sacred) a fact is this!
Further, the same script is really intelligent - well structured and built up, with a solid dramaturgy and a captivating narration, right from the beginning. The starting premise, as expressed professionally, is:
- WHAT IF a dog, loyal with his life to his master, plays next to her the part of a super-dog in an action TV series?
- BUT WHAT IF, for him to act well, the trick is to make him believe that everything is true, and his super-powers are real?
- ...AND WHAT IF he gets lost by accident, and has to face the REAL WORLD (and his REAL SELF) to get back to his master?
...And this is how starts this truly initiatic trip, from New York City back to Hollywood, for the engaging Bolt, his acolyte Mittens (the stray cat who begins by being his sarcastic hostage, only to become his main supporter), and Rhino the hamster, his devoted fan. While the script continues in the same compact and fast-paced spirit, the direction adds up to it by being more than just adequate: it's expressive, enriching, imaginative, creative, bright. And what an admirable humor, what an elegant satire, what a perceiving look all over the American society, from the East Coast to California...!
Of course, one should add that the graphics are superb, and the 3-D DOES WORK, friends and neighbors - it ceases at last to be just a cheap trick, and invests the story with style and perspective (not only at an optical level!)
One last word, and the most important: yes, I'm an old bastard, harshly dragged along thousands of movies - but, when Bolt chose to die next to Penny, I wept.
Remember at the end of A Bug's Life when they animated together some outtakes where shots from the movie were messed up because of various mishaps on set? I thought that was one of the most charming ideas in an already fun and entertaining movie, and in Bolt they have taken that and centered an entire movie around it. Bolt and Penny are a team battling the evil green-eyed man, who has kidnapped Penny's father and are attempting to extract information out of him.
Between shooting sessions, Bolt lives in a trailer, unaware that Penny is going home to her real life and that the world returns to normal when he's not around. He believes that he is exercising extraordinary restraint in not using his superpowers to teach a lesson to a couple of wise-cracking alley-cats who tease him through the roof vent of his trailer at night.
Through a series of unfortunate events initiated by an encounter with the cats, Bolt finds himself accidentally shipped in a box to the east coast, from where he must travel across America in the real world in his quest to become reunited with Penny.
In watching a movie about a cute superhero who suddenly finds himself in the real world and must gradually accept the heartbreaking news that there's nothing special about him, it's impossible not to think of Buzz Lightyear, who suffered through exactly the same situation in Toy Story almost 15 years ago, but even though this seems to point to a disappointing characterization weakness in the movie, it is the characters who are the most interesting.
There is nothing particularly fresh or interesting about Penny, who is really nothing more than a catalyst to drive Bolt's adventure, and even Bolt himself is giving us a predictable performance of a dog who thinks he has superpowers, but the characters that he meets along the way are the best things about the movie.
He encounters a hardened alley-cat in New York named Mittens who has been bullying pigeons into making regular food donations to her (a clear homage to the bullying grasshoppers in A Bug's Life). She and Bolt become tied together with a leash and he forces her to help him get to California. But it's the even smaller characters that are the most interesting and charming. The Italian-American pigeons that Bolt meets in New York, who just know that they know his face from somewhere but can't quite place it, are incredibly well-animated and cleverly voiced.
But my favorite is Rhino, a superfan of Bolt's TV show whom Bolt and Mittens meet in a trailer park on their way to the west coast. Rhino will be a popular favorite character from the movie. He's overcome with excitement at meeting his hero, and it provides a unique comedic situation when both he and Bolt think that Bolt has super-powers, while Mittens must pacify them in order to get what she wants. She has been dragged scratching and screaming into this situation, and her disbelief at her miserable luck provides a good portion of the movie's comedy.
The family content of the movie plays up the ongoing cats and dogs rivalry that I don't remember seeing this directly portrayed since the relatively disappointing 2001 film Cats & Dogs. In one of the movie's more amusing sequences, Mittens teaches how to beg, and he successfully gets one trailer park family after another to offer food to his puppy-dog begging skills. When Mittens tries it, she gets a frying pan flung at her.
The movie knows how to work the comedy of a computer animated feature, which is why it was nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar and is also why it's a lot of fun, but beneath the clever screen-writing and occasionally amazing animation, the standard-issue cartoon-messages of never abandoning a friend in need make the rest of the movie pretty un-spectacular.
Bolt deserves to be nominated as one of the best animated features of 2008, but it also deserves to come in behind Kung Fu Panda, the second best animated feature of the year, and WALL-E, which will win.