Pixar better start looking over their shoulders because there’s a new company… … well… an old company is coming back to regain it’s throne in animation… Actually no, Pixar has nothing to worry about, but Disney can however hold it’s head up in pride that they have finally brought themselves up from the pit of despair and death that they were quickly digging up for themselves.
Bolt is the story of a young little puppy that was adopted by a girl voiced by Miley Cyrus (Bolt himself is voiced by John Travolta), who turns out to be the star of a hit TV show called BOLT. In this show Bolt has been genetically engineered to protect Penny (Cyrus) at all costs. He has heat vision, incredible speed, and even a super bark. Each episode Penny and Bolt are running from danger from “The Green Eyed Man” and his cat, while they have Penny’s father imprisoned and attempt to get Penny as well and they end up defeating everyone in their path and going away happily ever after and safe…… despite the fact that the father is always under capture by The Green Eyed Man… and his cat. At the end of each episode Bolt is quickly taken to his trailer where he remains until the next episode begins shooting because to Bolt the entire setup and premise of the show is completely real. He truly believes that he is a super dog and the Penny is in constant danger, and as a result all of the other animals on the set make fun of him for it, thought he doesn’t know what they’re playing at.
One day, at the pressuring of those god damned TV Executives, the episode needs to get less happy and it ends in a cliffhanger with Penny captured and Bolt unable to save her. After the episode is finished Penny desperately tries to return to Bolt to ensure him of her safety but no one will allow it until he saves her in the next episode, which he never makes it to. Bolt becomes so furious that he lost Penny that he breaks out of his trailer and is set forth, eventually being knocked out and shipped from Hollywood to good old New York City, where, upon discovering that his powers have suddenly stopped working, he takes a cat hostage under the urging of some cat-handled pigeons who mean business. He tells the cat (Mittens voiced by Susie Essman) that she must take him to the Green Eyed Man (because he has a cat… so all cats work for him… Bolt has a strange mind… but it’s an interesting ride none the less.) who has Penny hostage so that he can save her. Mittens does not agree but is tied to Bolt’s leash so is forced to go along on the ride, especially after he threatens to drop her off of a bridge, and realizes that Bolt is a dog from Hollywood, and not only that, but that he is the star of an action TV show and he doesn’t even know it.
Basically that’s the movie, with Bolt, Mittens, and eventually a hamster… or gerbil… … named Rhino (voiced by Mark Walton) go off on a journey to find and rescue Penny. If it’s not obvious from the beginning that The three will become friends and everything will work out perfectly in the end then you obviously missed the logo at the beginning of the movie, but it’s perfectly acceptable as a whole product. Travolta gives a great performance as Bolt who, while he may have a plot line so close to Buzz Lightyear that you could almost feel the detached limb coming for a while, is an endearing little character who won’t truly annoy parents and who you won’t mind watching for an hour and a half. Susie Essman and Mark Walton also give great performances, and even Cyrus who, probably because I’m not a thirteen year old girl who’s now into the Jonas Brothers, I’m not so crazy about turns in a fine performance as a young girl concerned for the whereabouts of her poor puppy.
Overall the movie is above average, excellent when compared to recent Disney movies… what was the last great disney movie that has come out? Chicken Little was a train wreck heading for a nuclear power plant that was built over an ancient Indian burial site from the beginning, even though it was a first attempt. Meet The Robinsons was acceptable, but nothing exceptional. Bolt truly is one of Disney’s finest movies of the last couple of years, unless I’m forgetting something major here (and please don’t count Pixar movies as Disney). The animation is great, almost on par with Pixar, (Disney still is a rookie in that area after all, hopefully they won’t get too used to it seeing as how I still miss my 2-D animated movies where they will always reign majestically) and the voice acting doesn’t seem too obnoxious, or star focused (*cough* dreamworks /*cough*). The plot line may seem a bit cliché but it is fast paced and you never really find yourself getting bored. Bolt is a sweet story that will have you laughing and smiling throughout the movie, and maybe have you feeling a little pull at the heart strings during the last act of the movie… maybe. All in all I give Bolt a well deserved 4/5. Disney may be on it’s way back.