Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Bolt

Bolt
Starring:
the voices of: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus and Malcolm McDowell


Rated: PG 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: November 21, 2008 Released by: Walt Disney Pictures

This amiable animated Disney offering is most viewer friendly in auditoriums equipped with the studio's Digital 3D, with which it was conceived.

Bolt has the House that Mouse built concerned with a White Shepherd, not Chihuahuas, this time. The upgrade in animation in part has to be due to the auspices of Pixar guru, executive producer John Lasseter, remembered for Toy Story.

The voicing is top-lined by John Travolta and Miley Cyrus (who delighted many tweeners onscreen in 3D earlier this year).

The titular dog (Travolta) believes in his superdog persona as he handles the bad guys in a Hollywood studio. Directors Chris Williams and Byron Howard, the former being a co-writer, put dimensionality in the opening reel, most notably when it comes to action.

After inadvertently relocated to the Big Apple, Bolt has to make his way back to the West Coast in order to rescue his owner Penny (Cyrus) from the malevolence he perceives back in his element - a soundstage.

The mostly zippy excursion is light on the humor scale with the characters not nearly augmented as it is on the visual level. With his amazing abilities not there, there's a boost for Bolt in this story within another one that plays like a modern takeoff on the studio's own Homeward Bound. There may be a couple of scenes that might start some tots, but otherwise this is friendly family fare.

A jaded street feline, Mittens, voiced to a certain irritating degree by Susie Essman and the more amusing Rhino, a scene-stealing hamster in a plastic ball share much screentime with Bolt. Also, there is an arrogant director (James Lipton) and the devious Dr. Calico, venomous voiced by Malcolm McDowell.

Bolt has Travolta and Cyrus not fetching hard for one's appreciation, as their performances are recognizable and sweet while singing "I Thought I Lost You" during the end-credit scroll. It doesn't have the pleasant, prescient mastery of Wall-E, but the latest technology helps wag its creative, genial tail in the right direction when it comes to a canine action hero marking his territory.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Bolt  B      B-      B   C+         B- 

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