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Friday, November 21, 2008


November 21st, 2008

Rated PG for some mild action and peril.

Byron Howard (dir.)

Chris Williams (dir.)

John Travolta as Bolt (voice)

Miley Cyrus as Penny (voice)

Susie Essman as Mittens (voice)

Mark Walton as Rhino (voice)

Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Calico (voice)

James Lipton as The Director (voice)

Greg Germann as The Agent (voice)

Diedrich Bader as Veteran Cat (voice)

Our reviews below:


Bolt Review By John C.

**** (out of four)

When a poster has the name of Miley Cyrus, and is advertising a Disney movie about a dog that will be presented in 3-D, it could easily just be a cash grab. But Bolt is not. The 3-D is not the old red and blue, it’s the digital kind where two images (one for the left eye and one for the right) flick back and forth at a higher frame rate then usual film, so when you wear the special glasses, it gives the illusion of depth, (without the glasses, it just looks like a perfect double image), the glasses draw the light into your eyes, so that each eye sees pretty much the same thing. You can get more info on Real D 3-D at it’s official website www.reald.com, or on Wikipedia.

The film would be great if you didn’t see it in 3-D, but the extra 3 dollars make the experience a bit better and more fun. But enough about 3-D, and on to my thoughts on the film. The story is a lot of fun, and the premise is interesting for an animated movie, where a character who plays a hero on a TV show thinks it’s all real, and is shocked to find out it’s not, (it could be described as a cross between Toy Story, The Truman Show, and is also a bit like Tropic Thunder, only in reverse), The characters are fun and funny, (especially the pigeons, who are hilarious), and the animation and visuals are great.

The action scenes are exciting, on and off the Bolt TV show, including car chases, set pieces on the back of moving vehicles, and one impressive grand finale, (which, be warned, could be scary and disturbing to some young kids, so take the PG rating into effect). John Travolta is perfectly cast as Bolt, as are Susie Essman as Mittens the cat and Mark Walton as Rhino the hamster.

It’s not quite up to the standards of Pixar, but Pixar has set the bar so high that nothing else can really compare no matter how good it is. Bolt is though, the closest Disney has ever gotten to Pixar, and it is really great. Having quite enjoyed Disney’s other two CGI movies, and really loving this, I actually can’t wait to see what they come out with next.

2008 has been a great year for animation, and Bolt should not be missed, so go see it with kids, or just go by yourself, and either way you’re sure to have a great time. I can’t really resist saying this, so I won’t, Bolt is truly fully awesome.


Bolt Review By Erin V.

**** (out of four)

In the new Disney movie, the title character Bolt, (voice of John Travolta), is the star of a TV show - which he thinks is real. And so, when an episode is taped with a cliffhanger, he believes that his owner, Penny, (voice of Miley Cyrus), who plays his owner on the show as well, is truly in grave danger. Since filming will not resume until the following week, he doesn’t know that she’s all right and breaks out of his trailer at the studio. He ends up accidentally brought across the country where he starts his efforts to try to find her. As he journeys back to California from New York he teams up with a cat named Mittens, (voice of Susie Essman), and a hamster named Rhino, (voice of Mark Walton), who like Bolt, believes that the show is real.

The fact that Bolt believes his powers so deeply, even in the ‘real world’, makes his delusion very real in the sense that, you really believe that he believes this. At first he easily finds an answer to anything that challenges his delusions, but it gets harder for him. The characters are very appealing in this movie, especially Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino. Each one has their own unique personality, and that’s one of the many things that makes this movie really work.

The voice cast does a great job in helping to bring the characters to life here, and John Powell’s musical score is amazing in the action, quieter, and more emotional scenes. I liked the design of the animal characters especially, and the scenery was very good. The Real D digital 3D actually works well, (unlike the red and blue 3D), and was especially effective in providing a sense of depth in landscape scenes. The chase scenes that are in this movie look spectacular using these effects, and unlike some 3D movies, it was not used as a reason to throw stuff at the screen, but instead to help move the story along.

I would definitely go see this movie again, and I would recommend it as well. While this isn’t WALL•E, it is a very well made film, and a very enjoyable one at that. Older kids, and adults will probably really enjoy it, but just take into account though, that the rating is a mild PG and with good reason. There are scenes here that could be very frightening to young children.

If you’re looking for something to go to, Bolt is one of the must see movies in theatres right now. This is a quality movie, and one that will be enjoyed by the whole family.


Bolt Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of four)

Bolt is a white German Shepherd, who stars as a superdog in a television program, along with a girl named Penny. Problem is, Bolt has the delusion that he really is a superdog. (Penny, in the meantime, wants Bolt to be a pet and not an actor, who lives in a trailer.) When a cliffhanger episode of the Bolt TV program finishes filming, Bolt believes Penny is really in danger, and sets off to find her. He gets lost along the way, and meets up with other animals, a cat named Mittens, and a hamster named Rhino. Together, they set off on a series of cross-country adventures, in a quest to find Penny. In the end, Bolt realizes that one doesn’t have to be a superdog to be a hero.

Bolt is a fun movie. John Powell’s score is exhilarating and amazing, and really captures the mood of the film. Some of the funniest parts of the movie are the scenes which make fun of the entertainment industry, (especially the way media exploits child actors). One of Disney’s finest, Bolt contains some of the best action sequences in animation. While not quite Pixar, this film has the quality of being an animated movie which doesn’t try to be too cute. Some scenes involving characters in peril will frighten young children, but this film is still a good one to bring the family to. The Real D 3D works quite well, and adds an element of depth to the animation, but even without the 3D, this movie is still worth seeing. Bolt is one movie you don’t want to miss this holiday season.


Bolt Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of four)

I really enjoyed seeing Bolt. I especially enjoyed the Real D, 3D experience. There are a lot of exciting chase scenes, explosions and a fire that really worked in 3D. Even the non-action scenes worked well.

This movie would still work well even if you couldn’t see it in 3D. It has a good story line, lots of action, a good soundtrack, funny dialogue, very likable characters, and a strong cast, (including Miley Cyrus as Penny). Bolt is well voiced by John Travolta, and Mittens the cat, (Susie Essman), and Rhino the hamster, (Mark Walton), are fun to watch. Also fun to watch are the pigeons. As is often the case in animated films, a lot of the humour will go over kids heads. Some of the scenes are scary for younger viewers. Because the Bolt story line involves a story within a story, younger kids will have trouble differentiating between the Bolt TV show scenes and the Bolt real life scenes. A lot of the action may seem too real.

Overall, at the heart of this story is a friendship between a girl and her dog, and the friendship between Bolt, Mittens, and Rhino as they go on their adventure to reunite Bolt with his person, Penny. It is the thread of friendship that makes this movie really nice to watch. The action, the humour, and the special effects make it all the more special. I would highly recommend this one for families to see either in 3D or not. This is a real holiday treat. Just keep in mind the mild PG for the youngest of viewers.


Bolt Review By Tony

*** (out of four)

Bolt, the latest Disney animated feature is better than the two previous ones, Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons. With Pixar’s John Lasseter as executive producer, it combines some of the qualities of Pixar with the weaknesses of Disney. (In my opinion Pixar is to Disney as Mac is to PC.) The two clips available on Apple.com illustrate what I mean. The opening Chase clip, up to Pixar’s high standards, would not be out of place among the classic film car chases. The Rescue clip on the other hand typifies the heavy-handed slapstick and negative stereotypes of previous Disney films. Some have suggested that the skinny figures painted by El Greco came from some form of astigmatism. Maybe the opposite is true for some Disney artists. It is refreshing that plus-size characters are used, but making them spherical in shape is just grotesque. Moreover, as in Chicken Little, the relative sizes of characters are inconsistent. Bolt is usually shown to be not much bigger than the cat Mittens and the hamster Rhino, and in the chase scene is tiny beside his “human” Penny standing on her scooter. However, when Penny gets down and hugs him, Bolt is almost as big as she is and his head is actually bigger than hers.

Despite these minor problems, Bolt is really a good film. It has a well-written script and excellent voice actors. The use of special effects and other superhero conventions are well lampooned. The premise of an actor on a cross-country mission who finds out he really does not have super powers and has to rely on others (reminiscent of Buzz Lightyear) is a strong one. In his first voice acting role, John Travolta captures the irony of this perfectly. The minor characters are also well drawn and acted. Watch for the obnoxious agent, the perfectionist director, and the regional pigeons, especially the New Yorkers and the Hollywood partners.

The Disney Digital 3D™ theatrical version added nice depth without any of the problems of earlier 3D systems, but you wouldn’t miss all that much without it–the 1080p high definition clips we saw on our big imac were also beautiful to watch. In other words, unlike some recent 3D blockbusters, Bolt doesn’t need to be in 3D to be worth seeing.


Consensus: Bolt is a very entertaining movie, especially in 3D. It is well made, has likable characters, and good voice acting. This will be a movie no doubt enjoyed by families for years to come. ***1/2 (out of four)

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