Review: Bolt

Bolt (2008)
96 minutes
Directed by Byron Howard and Chris Williams


Grade:  B-

Remember the days of non-CGI, non-3D animated features?  Those classic Disney films like The Lion King, Pocahontas, and Beauty and the Beast of the 1990s.  Well with the success of Pixar starting with Toy Story to DreamWorks’ Shrek, Disney follows the trend with their own CGI creations.  Bolt is one of them.  It’s far from Disney’s best, but at least they’re getting back on track.

Bolt is a family/action-adventure that features a dog, Bolt, that stars in a TV-show where he has superpowers.  In order to evoke the best acting skills from Bolt, the director creates the scenes like they’re actually happening… therefore Bolt actually thinks he’s saving the day.  After a day of shooting that ends as a cliffhanger with Bolt’s owner, Penny, being captured by the green-eyed villain, Bolt panics and wanders off by himself trying to find her.  When he’s mistakenly shipped across the nation, him and two unlikely friends (a cat named Mittens and a hamster named Rhino) venture back to Hollywood.

Although the movie never falls apart, it never really takes any chances… which separates a good film like Bolt from a great film like WALL-E.  The voice actors pulled their weight, mainly John Travolta and Miley Cyrus who voice Bolt and Penny respectively.  Through the adventure the furry friends went on, I simply expected more from a great studio like Disney.  The visuals were impressive, but I wanted more.  There was a good amount of comedy from Rhino, but I wanted more.  The predictable and sappy conclusion… well that I could’ve done without, but you get the picture.

Overall, Bolt brings the fun in bundles but never really lifts itself off the ground.  It’s a wonderful children’s film, but unfortunately there’s little for the parents to truly enjoy.  All of the glamour, special effects, CGI, voice-actors, etc. aside… a great movie (whether animated or not) starts with a great story.  I want to see Disney grab that concept once again.

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