Byron Howard, Chris Williams
It’s also about the most audience-friendly animated movie Disney could have released in Pixar’s downtime between Wall-E and next month’s Up. There’s a talking dog, a sassy cat, a hyperactive hamster, plenty of chase sequences, and did we mention Miley Cyrus?
Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) is the star of the hit television show, eh, Bolt, where he portrays a dog with superpowers named, eh, Bolt, who must rescue his beloved person, Penny (voiced by Cyrus), from the nefarious Dr. Calico (voiced by Malcolm McDowell) every week before the half-hour is up.
Only trouble is, Bolt thinks the whole thing (including his Superbark and laser vision) is real--primarily because the crew has duped him into believing so. But what happens if Bolt sees the boom mic? Or if the smell from the crafts service table drifts too close to Bolt‘s range? And when does the makeup department apply the canine’s trademark lightning bolt “birthmark?” Surely if Bolt notices a crew member slapping black paint on his side he’ll realize that it’s all fake, right?
Probably, so wouldn’t--ooh!, nevermind, look at the colors!, they’re so…vibrant…
Anyway, so what’s Bolt to do when an episode ends in a cliffhanger with the villain kidnapping Penny? What any animated mutt would do: escape his cage, get lost in an alien land, pick up a few other lonely critters--an alley cat named Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman) and a chubby, starry-eyed hamster named Rhino (voiced by Disney story artist Mark Walton)--along the way, and trek back home to find his person.
Pretty standard stuff here (think Homeward Bound), but kids won’t mind. Just so long as Bolt saves the day, Mittens does a good deed, and Rhino steals enough scenes to warrant a 12” plush toy to be sold in every major retail chain in America.
Disney regulars Byron Howard and Chris Williams directed Bolt to an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. It lost to Wall-E, and that’s the second mention of the Oscar winner in this review, neither one forced. Bolt doesn’t touch even Pixar’s weakest, but, hey, it has Miley Cyrus and a talking dog.
Super Rhino (4:26): This short, promoted heavily in TV ads for the Blu-ray/DVD, puts the lovable hamster in the role of hero as he attempts to rescue Bolt and Penny from the hands of Calico.
Deleted Scenes (6:37): There are only two here (“Dog Fight in Vegas,” “River Sequence”), both of which are presented as story reels (which may bum younger fans) and with optional introductions by directors Chris Williams and Byron Howard.
In Session with John Travolta and Miley Cyrus (0:59), which features amusing footage of John Travolta singing in the studio, and the Music Video for the Golden Globe-nominated song, “I Thought I Lost You,” serve as suiting additions.
Bolt’s Be-Awesome Mission: This game lets fans guide Bolt (aided by Rhino) through three levels to save Penny. What are those three levels exactly? I wouldn’t know--I didn’t make it past the warehouse.
A New Breed of Directors: A Filmmakers’ Journey (4:34): Backed by behind-the-scenes footage and clips, first-time directors Williams and Howard explain the process that goes into creating an animated feature, such as racing from meeting to meeting and spending time in a giant hamster ball. Short but fun.
Act, Speak! The Voice of Bolt (9:50): This featurette takes a look at the cast (Travolta, Cyrus, et al.) and their voice work using interviews, recording session footage, and clips.
Creating the World of Bolt (6:46) goes into the textured look of the animated film, utilizing interviews and useful clips from Bolt to support the crew’s case.
Also included are a handful of Art Galleries (“Character Design,” “Color Script,” “Storyboard Art,” “Visual Development”) and Sneak Peeks.
Identical to the Blu-ray disc, but with fewer features.
The sole feature here is the Digital Copy.