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Bolt (2008)

Fully Awesome. Ridonculous. Let It Begin.

Directed by:

Byron Howard and Chris Williams

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 103 minutes

US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG

Country: United States

If kids are anything like me—and perhaps, unfortunately, they are—they’ll be entertained by anything with a cuddly dog, a talking cat, or a funny hamster. Bolt has all three, but it’s 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 bark—problem is, he doesn’t know it’s 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, I’m not a Miley Cyrus hater—I’m not a fan, but I’ve got nothing against the girl. And really, I know she’s 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 who’s 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 animation—especially 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 Penny’s agent). Like the best in the world of mainstream animation, Bolt doesn’t condescend to its audience, and even though it’s 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. It’s not quite up to the level of its peers and doesn’t really offer anything new, but this is definitely a movie you can feel good about taking the family to see—oh yeah, and I teared up in a few places.

It's Got: A hamster that can move a ladder even while he’s in his hamster ball, animation that looks furry, and a funny cat.

It Needs: A different Penny.

Alternatives:

Kung Fu Panda, Meet the Robinsons, Toy Story

Summary

Sweet and well animated, Bolt isn’t treading any new ground, but the path it does take is funny, action-filled, and entertaining.

Image Gallery

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3 Comments

  1. Posted April 20, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    this is lame lame i tell you its lame fricken fat dog runnin around ha

  2. Posted August 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Bolt was great! I thought it was touching, and a beautiful film to watch. Still 100 times better than Dreamworks animation any day.

  3. Posted November 4, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    F favorite movie of my little brother))

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