Fully Awesome. Ridonculous. Let It Begin.
Byron Howard and Chris Williams
Running Time: 103 minutes
US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG
Country: United States
If kids are anything like meand perhaps, unfortunately, they aretheyll be entertained by anything with a cuddly dog, a talking cat, or a funny hamster. Bolt has all three, but its more than just a cutesy animal tale from the likes of Disney; following on the heels of fellow Best Animated Feature Oscar nominees Kung Fu Panda and WALL-E, this story of a Hollywood dog in the real world offers something everyone in the family can enjoy.
Adopted as a puppy by young Penny (Miley Cyrus), Bolt (John Travolta) has become an action star on his self-titled hit TV series. He can burn through locks with his eyes, run at super speeds, and cause seismic shifts with the power of his barkproblem is, he doesnt know its all make-believe. But when network execs decide his show needs to become a little darker to hold on to its audience, and Penny is kidnapped as part of a dangerous cliffhanger, Bolt escapes the confines of his trailer and sets out on a mission to save his person, joined by alley cat Mittens (Susie Essman) and obsessed fan Rhino the hamster (Mark Walton), unaware that all his powers and abilities are all a figment of his Hollywood imagination and a good special effects department.
Now, Im not a Miley Cyrus haterIm not a fan, but Ive got nothing against the girl. And really, I know shes the golden girl of Disney right now, so I totally understand the reasoning behind casting her as the voice behind Penny. Problem is, as the voice of a young girl whos supposed to be around 12, she sounds distractingly old. Aside from that, though, Bolt is an engaging story that, though predictable, is sweet without being saccharine (that alley cat is a scene stealer), boasts some high quality animationespecially during the action scenes (the real life fire scene is a fantastic achievement), and manages to provide a little poke in the side of the movie biz (Greg Germann is exceptionally sleazy as Pennys agent). Like the best in the world of mainstream animation, Bolt doesnt condescend to its audience, and even though its clever enough to keep adults watching, it takes the lead of other recent cartoon fare like Kung Fu Panda and stays away from sly, winking, adult jokes. Its not quite up to the level of its peers and doesnt really offer anything new, but this is definitely a movie you can feel good about taking the family to seeoh yeah, and I teared up in a few places.
It's Got: A hamster that can move a ladder even while hes in his hamster ball, animation that looks furry, and a funny cat.
It Needs: A different Penny.
Sweet and well animated, Bolt isnt treading any new ground, but the path it does take is funny, action-filled, and entertaining.