“Bolt” is Thrillisious

Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy and Animation
Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min.
Release Date: November 21st, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild action and peril.
Distributors: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

Directed by: Chris Williams, Byron Howard

JJ Rating: A

Bolt (John Travolta) is a superhero dog on a TV show but doesn‘t know it. When the show decides to do a cliffhanger Bolt freaks out because Penny (Miley Cyrus) was taken by the Green Eyed-Man. Production shuts down for the day and he still thinks she’s stolen, so he goes out to try and save her with the help of Mittens (Susie Essman) the cat and Rhino (Mark Walton) the hamster. Bolt.

I saw it in 3-D. Sadly I had never seen a 3-D movie and this was the first time. I never knew, of course, how cool it was. I had so much fun with the 3-D. I did what the kids in the theater did and that was reach out and try to touch what was coming out of the screen, or so we thought was coming out of the screen. It was hilarious when the 3-D started because all the kids in the theater said, “ooooh.” at the same time.

Disney has talent that just can’t seem to be matched. Maybe I’m just attached, but last weeks Madagascar II did not have the same character cool and attachment that Bolt has. There is Bolt the dog that thinks he’s got superpowers and he is determined, with every fiber of his being, that he can save Penny no matter who has her. Mittens, who is small and frail looking, put the fear into pigeons that she would claw them to death if they did not pay her. She is the cynical one who slowly shows heart. Rhino is the hamster that they find on their journey who is Bolt’s biggest fan. His excitement and a extra positive boost charges all. Finally there’s Penny and she loves Bolt and the connection could be seen sincerely. This feeling of connectiveness, as well as characters with heart, tend to be missing from other cartoon films.

I really liked the storyline. It moved at a good pace. It kept the characters down to a few and that’s why they are developed so well. The quirks of each character are pretty smooth. Rhino is in a ball and he uses that ball for many purposes and one of the most creative is changing the channels on the TV via a remote. Bolt picks up a leash as he runs to go and find Penny, which, as the trailer shows, he uses to trap Mittens. The continual use of the pigeons was clever. They were always in groups of three and their lines were amusing.

The voice talent was pretty good. Travolta sounded young enough to be the puppy. Cyrus had lots of character in her voice that I forgot who it was that was doing it. That could be attributed to me not ever watching her show and barely ever hearing her speak. Walton had to have high energy to continue to deliver lines for that hamster. He never seemed to slow down. Essman was great with her lay back kitten speak.

The animation was fantastic. The animals spoke and it seemed like the actors were in suits because of how well the animation worked with the voices and the voices, of course, with the animation. The facial expressions were many and very helpful in telling the story. It’s something that many people would not notice, but certainly notice if they were not plentiful and meaningful. They would think something was wrong even though they could not put a finger on it.

The theme of Bolt was good. There was positive thinking in this film and logical thinking. Bolt was mostly positive and sure of himself. Mittens held the light of truth to most things even though it just dropped out of her whiskered face as cynical. I love friendship themes and how they are used in films and this one does the “help them even when they don’t ask” theme.

I could see myself buying this one because as a semi-adult I enjoyed the film. If you have kids this one is kid friendly. There is no death or questionable jokes; it’s all kid friendly. And, as most Disney movies are, adult friendly. Enjoy the trailer? Did it pull you in? Well the movie is just like that. So if you like the trailer then you won’t be disappointed in the film. Bolt might have been a huge stuffed animal commercial before Christmas, but it was a very good, entertaining, funny, fun, fantastic, thrillisious one.

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