Plot: Bolt (voiced by John Travolta), is the canine star of a TV action adventure show- where week after week, he rescues his young co-star, Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus) from the clutches of a diabolical super villain. In order to get a realistic performance out of Bolt, the producers have him convinced that everything that happens in the show is real, and that he possesses incredible superpowers. When filming a cliffhanger involving Penny being abducted by the villain, Bolt, convinced that she’s in danger, escapes from the studio in a frantic quest to save her. Meanwhile, Penny- who in reality is a child star with an overzealous agent starts her own search for Bolt.
Review: I had a lot more fun at BOLT than I initially thought I would. Usually, the only CGI animated films that I enjoy are the ones put out by Pixar, and this, despite being from Disney Animation, is not Pixar (although supposedly, when they took over Disney Animation, they had a hand in revamping the film somewhat).
I think the main reason that BOLT works so well is due to the rather clever script by Dan Fogelman & Chris Williams. The film begins with a really funny send up of modern, over the top super hero films, showing Bolt in action, with all the hallmarks of the genre- including lame one-liners, an over the top bass heavy musical score, and lots of gratuitous slo-mo.
Once we move into the meat of the story- which involves our canine hero slowly realizing the he’s not actually a super hero, the film starts to go down your typical, super saccharine Disney route. Despite this predictable turn, there’s still enough cleverness in the film to keep it thoroughly entertaining throughout- especially once Bolt’s number one fan- a geeky hamster named Rhino, enters the picture. I also loved the “Noo-Yawk”, wise guy pigeons.
Regarding the voice cast, both Travolta, and Cyrus do a good job, although I think my favorite piece of voice casting had to be James Lipton as the pretentious director of Bolt’s TV show. I should also note that BOLT is being released in both 3D, and conventional formats. I’m not a particularly huge 3D fan, but the effects were actually less annoying here than in most 3D films (meaning the film consists of more than people just throwing things at the screen- like in JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH 3D).
Overall, I had a good time with BOLT. While it’s definitely no WALL-E (but really, what is?), it’s a solid family flick, and an easy recommendation for a Saturday matinee with the kids.