Standing out in the crowd is not always the easiest thing to accomplish for an animated film, but above what you may expect, against WALL∙E's heart, and Kung Fu Panda's slapstick hilarity, Disney's Bolt jumps forward as simply the most fun.
What makes Bolt noteworthy as well as a success on its own terms is its ability to take an age-old message about being true to oneself and finding your inner hero, and mesh it with a unique storyline that ends up spawning what, at first glance at least, seems wholly unique. Coupled with the expectedly bright crisp animation and stellar voice work, makes Bolt better yet, and a sure contender for best animated film at this years Oscars. Bolt also reclaims the original song work of Disney past, conceived between its also star and teen sensation Miley Cirus and Jenny Lewis and both compilations are memorable and sweet. Bolt never dives for the heartstrings, but scores its emotional points through well developed characters and thoughtful situations.
Bolt opens with a very entertaining action sequence in which Bolt (voiced to surprising effect by John Travolta) and his master Penny (Miley Cirus) are chased by well equipped super villains which plays out in the vein of The Incredibles. The genetically altered canine can leap helicopters in a single bound, melt evil with laser eyes and destroy villains at a whim with his super-bark. It is soon revealed that the action speckled lives of Penny and Bolt is in fact a hit television show, which requires Bolt to be kept in the dark about the nature of his existence; in brief, he actually believes he has super powers. But after a cliff-hanger ending of an episode in which Penny is taken, prompts Bolt to escape, determined to reclaim his friend and master. Embarking for the first time into the real world he haphazardly enlist the help of a very reluctant cat (Susie Essman) and a fan-boy err...fan- hamster named Rhino (Mark Walton) and along the way learns, and earns, the true stripes of a hero and that of friendship.
If everything I mentioned above was not enough to make you see this film, I can also reveal that Bolt is an at times hilarious send-up of the movie industry and genre clichés. Propelled by the hilarious supporting voice work including Malcolm McDowell, Dietrich Bader and James Lipton the blend of comedy, drama, and flat out entertainment value is unmatched. Also worth an enthusiastic mention are the pigeons that show up throughout the course of Bolt's adventure. Not only (as with all) is the voicing perfect but the physical humour implored is gut-busting, with the feathery fools twitching their heads in a pigeon- esquire way during their meetings with Bolt to glorious results.
If you have a chance, you obviously should see this film in 3-D, however it is still well worth your money viewed in a traditional medium. Bolt is a reminder of why Disney was such an animation juggernaut and it is pleasant to see them recapturing some of their past glory. And just in case you want it mentioned bluntly, yes there are many jokes that older patrons will more then enjoy. It is always refreshing to see an old formula revamped so effectively and certainly always welcome to see a movie that can put a smile on faces of all ages.
8.5 / 10.0
View all my reviews at Simon Says Movie Reviews: www.simonsaysmovies.blogspot.com