HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
You Don't Nomi
Man from the Alamo, The
Vast of Night, The
Furies, The
Days of the Bagnold Summer
Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975, The
Apartment 1BR
1776
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Bolt Superdog with super-delusions
Year: 2008
Director: Byron Howard, Chris Williams
Stars: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman, Mark Walton, Malcolm McDowell, James Lipton, Greg Germann, Diedrich Bader, Nick Swardson, J.P. Manoux, Dan Fogelman, Kari Wahlgren, Chloë Grace Moretz
Genre: Comedy, Animated, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: Plucky doggy Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) and his adoring owner Penny (Miley Cyrus) are the stars of a hit television show. Having lived his whole life on a soundstage, Bolt genuinely thinks he has amazing superpowers and that every week he helps Penny foil cat-loving, evil genius Professor Calico (Malcolm McDowell). One day, mistakenly believing Penny is being kidnapped, Bolt tries to save her and is knocked into a box and shipped from Hollywood to New York City. Stranded in a strange city, Bolt enlists the help of a cynical cat named Mittens (Susie Essman) and Rhino (Mark Walton), a hyperactive hamster who claims to be his number one fan, as they journey across the country in search of Penny. But Bolt has a lot to learn about the real world.

Disney’s latest CG cartoon started life as American Dog, a project written and directed by Chris Sanders, of Lilo & Stitch (2002) fame. While still centred around a deluded dog TV star, the plot saw him stranded in the Nevada desert with a one-eyed cat and an oversized, radioactive rabbit for company. Dissatisfied with the direction the story was heading, Pixar boss-turned-head of Disney animation John Lasseter handed the project to writer-directors Byron Howard and Chris Williams. Lasseter’s influence is apparent in the emphasis on emotional impact and heart-warming relationships, apparent right from the lyrical first encounter between young Penny and the puppy Bolt, although the gags aren’t quite as punchy as those in Pixar fare.

The movie teases with its dazzling sci-fi thriller opening. Alongside Penny on her jet-powered scooter, Bolt outraces heat-seeking missiles, leaps over a helicopter in slow-motion and zaps bad guys with his heat vision and super-sonic bark. Exciting stuff and, like Bolt, you can’t help feeling a teensy bit disappointed none of it is real. Essentially, this spins the same premise as the Buzz Lightyear subplot in Toy Story (1995), albeit with a great deal of heart as Bolt races to save the girl he loves, while Penny struggles to stay true to her dog in the face of heartless Hollywood.

For a Disney movie this is remarkably cynical about showbiz. A manipulative director (voiced by James Lipton, host of Inside the Actor’s Studio) is dead set on keeping Bolt living his Truman Show existence (“If the dog believes it, the audience believes it”), a venal agent tries to fool Penny with a fake Bolt and turn an on-set accident to front page news, and a heartless TV exec reroutes the happy-go-lucky show because “18-35 year olds hate happy endings and want a dose of reality.” Cat-lovers will enjoy the neat joke in how every feline on the show knows it’s fake and teases Bolt mercilessly.

The bulk of Bolt is a mismatched buddy road movie, wherein streetwise Mittens, herself carrying emotional scars, teaches the clueless canine how to beg for food, play with other dogs and savour the delights of hanging your heat out of a moving car. Great vocal performances from John Travolta, Susie Essman and Hannah Montana starlet Miley Cyrus bring warmth and lovability to the oddball characters, although obsessive fan boy hamster Rhino (“My ancestry isn’t all hamster, there’s some wolf in there somewhere”) is a trifle irritating. Still, he does deliver a message that even silly fantasy TV shows can inspire people and impart certain worthwhile values. Predictably - spoiler warning - the characters trade showbiz for reality, which slightly undercuts the argument for the validity of their show, plus you wish someone had put that cynical network executive in her place.

Still, there are some very witty touches - including the screenwriting pigeons who pitch Bolt their ideas for his show (“And we have a great pop song for the end credits!”) - and the climax delivers excitement, drama and warmth. Its beautifully animated, with a visual style allegedly inspired by cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, and has a likeable country & western flavoured soundtrack, including a song sung by Travolta and Cyrus. Keep watching for the charming 2-D animated end credits.

Click here for the trailer

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3648 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: