April 11, 2009 in Theatrical Reviews
Bolt tells the story a dog who plays a heroic pup in a hit TV show and has some trouble recognising that he is in fact not possessed of extraordinary powers beyond the ability to lick his own nether regions. This becomes something of a hindrance when he is accidentally shipped from Hollywood to New York City. From there he has to make his way home with only the help of a manky old cat and an overweight hamster in a plastic ball. John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman and Mark Walton provide voices. (Trailer Addict)
Disney Animation has been in a bit of a slump recently. Their last non-Pixar Computer Animated Chicken Little was a turd, and other than direct to DVD sequels to their classics we haven’t seen much. So, much to my surprise, along comes Bolt. This is the first non-Pixar movie that is up to par in quality with The Incredibles; a fun, action packed and funny little movie. Of course, Bolt was executive produced by Pixar’s John Lasseter. So Bolt can be a distant cousin of a Pixar movie.
The plot is a simple fish-out-of-water scenario. If you read the synopsis you know what you’re getting. As is the case with most simple plots, it’s the execution that is key. From the voice acting to the animation, Bolt works. John Travolta voices Bolt and you totally buy it. He does a great job of not drawing our attention to his voice. It works perfect for the character and the story.
Miley Cyrus is the surprise here. Her voice is perfect for Penny. I’m NOT the demographic for anything Miley Cyrus. She usually annoys the hell out of me. But her voice acting is so good here, it really fits the character and also isn’t a “Hey! Look at me!” performance. Hats off to Miley Cyrus for actually being a part of something I enjoy!
All the other character works fine. Susie Essman as Mittens is great and Mark Walton as Rhino the Hampster is pretty hilarious. He’s kind of channeling Jack Black a tiny bit, but it fits the character.
As a whole, Bolt is a great family movie. The story is fun. The humor is there, but doesn’t take you out of the story and has a very natural feel to it (as opposed to a few certain Dreamworks Animation movie…like…say…Shrek). I originally saw this in 3D with my wife, but unlike other 3D gimmicked movies, Bolt stands up very well in 2D and looks beautiful on Blu-ray. I have a feeling Bolt will stand up for some time and will become another classic Disney character.
Rated PG for some mild action and peril.