by | Mar 30th, 2009 | 4:00PM | Filed under: DVD Reviews

Puppy power!Despite all of the great things I'd heard and read about
Bolt (James was certainly a fan), I couldn't help but be a little bit skeptical as I sat down to watch it a few nights ago. After all, the main character — super-powered (or so he thinks) doggy Bolt — is voiced by John Travolta, and Miley Cyrus lends her pipes to the character of Penny, Bolt's owner. Travolta and Cyrus just so happen to be two of my least favorite celebrities on this planet. Could Bolt's animation, action and story outweigh my bias against Mr. Wild Hog and Ms. Hannah Montana?

Thankfully, the answer is "yes."

Perhaps I was able to enjoy the movie because Penny/Cyrus wasn't in it that much, or because Bolt didn't sound overly Travolta-ish.  In fact, if I wasn't aware of whose voice was behind the courageous canine, I'm not sure I could've guessed correctly.  (Which makes me wonder why studios shell out big bucks for celebrities to be involved in their animated films… but I digress.)  Instead of grumbling about the characters' voices, I found myself laughing at how much I could relate to the story of a puppy who — having spent the majority of his life within the confines of a TV studio — isn't aware that he doesn't actually have the special abilities he appears to have on the set.  It's kind of like how my black lab has no idea that he's not King of the Universe and all of our lives aren't revolving around his every move. 

I can keep the charade up for my dog, but when Bolt escapes from his trailer and ends up on the east coast, he has to learn the hard way that he might be a little more ordinary than he'd previously assumed.  He hooks up with a streetwise stray cat, Mittens (Susie Essman) and an overzealous hamster, Rhino (Mark Walton), and begins his journey back to Hollywood.

This is a Disney movie, so no one has to worry about whether or not there will be a happy ending for Bolt, but I will say that there are a few twists and turns in the plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. I was also pleasantly surprised by how genuinely funny much of the dialogue was… especially when dim-witted pigeons were involved. 

Overall, I liked Bolt a lot more than other animal-centric films I've seen recently, such as Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Beverly Hills Chihuahua.  But I didn't find it superior to the likes of Wall-E, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, or pretty much any of the other Pixar and Disney movies.  Still, if you generally appreciate these types of films, I'm sure you'll also enjoy Bolt.  You can check out its trailer here, and if you end up renting it, be sure to catch the "Super Rhino" DVD extra, it's hilarious!  

For those of you who have seen the film, you may be interested in this interview Rhino gave to E! news.  The kicker is that it was actually done in real-time.

Will somebody give this little critter a feature-length spin-off already?

8 Responses to “Bolt

  1. Ebone' B.
    Posted on March 30, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    I thought it was a very cute movie! My nephew loved it too. Very nice family cartoon.

  2. Petrie
    Posted on March 31, 2009 at 12:11 am

    If you have pets who’re like family members, you’ll definately like this one. I agree that Bolt wasn’t very “Travolta” which was a good thing. Needed more Awesome Rhino!

  3. Tammy
    Posted on March 31, 2009 at 2:18 am

    Definately a buyer, very good family movie! All of the characters were great and one day this will be a Disney classic!

  4. SpaceMonkeyX
    Posted on March 31, 2009 at 8:34 am

    My wife and I liked it as well. Although, it occurred to me about halfway through, that this film is really just a combination of Toy Story and Toy Story 2.
    Deranged person thinks he’s a real superhero (Buzz/Bolt); grounded partner who keeps trying to convince him he’s not (Woody/Mittens)); cute sidekick (there were a bunch of them in the TS movies/Rhino); cynical character who has been scorned so doesn’t think love really exists (Jessie/Mittens); a crazy adventure to get back to the owner.
    Just an observation. Still a really fun movie, though.

  5. Raquel
    Posted on March 31, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    This was a really good family movie and we enjoyed it.

  6. gracie
    Posted on April 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    great family movie

  7. kawgirl
    Posted on April 1, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    This was a really cute movie.
    Leave it to Disney to be able to keep both the adults and the children entertained. If you are a fan of dog movies or of Disney, this is a must watch movie.

  8. Jason
    Posted on April 14, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Excellent movie! I loved every minute of it! Very well done action and great character chemistry. Deidrich Bader even stole the show for a bit toward the beginning. (He played the cat/actor of Bolt the character’s arch-enemy, Dr. Calico.)