Bolt

Well, shit-nearly forgot about this film after I kept pushing it back for certain films starring a blue glowy superhero guy with his celestial bits out and a drunkard down-and-out superhero. So now for something completely different- a film about a dog with superpowers. Yes.

Bolt (2008)

What is it about Pixar? They can take a big, manly man like me and over the course of a surprisingly good and magical film change him into a horrible, girly wreck who uses words like “cute” to describe the film with no hint of irony. Well, unfortunately Pixar had very little to do with this film- although head honcho John Lasseter was drafted in for a few pointers.

“You’re beyond awesome! You’re… be-awesome!”

A girl named Penny (Miley Cyrus) and her dog Bolt (John Travolta) star on a hit television series called appropriately enough,”Bolt” in which the titular character has various superpowers and must constantly thwart the evil plans of the nefarious Doctor Calico (Malcolm McDowell). Due to a crazy producer, Bolt has lived his entire life on a soundstage and believes he really is his fictional counterpart and possesses superpowers. After filming completes for one episode, Bolt escapes from his on-set trailer mistakenly believing Penny has been kidnapped by the television villain. The story is pretty good. It’s the standard “believe in yourself” malarkey, but as it’s Disney, it’s forgivable. After all, if the Mouse House can’t pump cheesy morals and ideals into impressionable children, who can? It plays out like a kid-friendly version of “The Truman Show”, which is by no means a bad thing. As with most animated films these days, the voice acting is top-notch too.

Truth be told, I enjoyed “Bolt”, but I kept getting the feeling that with a little Pixar magic it could have been truly great. There are some great ideas here, such as the delusional Bolt believing that his powers aren’t working due to Styrofoam peanuts in a Superman/Kryptonite type way. However, the best part of “Bolt” is the superfan hamster Rhino (Mark Walton) who is a clear frontrunner for my “Talking Animated Rodent of the Year” award. I felt that Mittens (Susie Essman) was a bit underused and her story of human neglect was just a rehash of Jessie’s tale of woe in “Toy Story 2” Still, it’s not as if Disney can be accused of repetition and recycling is it?

“How do you say “No way I’m doing this” in crazy?”

I was lucky enough to see “Bolt” in 3D and I suggest you do too. The days of the ridiculous red and blue lens glasses are gone and a new era of black-tinted ridiculous glasses has begun! What i liked about the 3D presentation of “Bolt” was the fact that it wasn’t all “things poking out of the screen at you” and added some genuine (well, as genuine as an optical illusion can be) depth to the film, in both senses of the word. So, last words. Go and see “Bolt”. It’s not the best animated flick ever, but it’s damn enjoyable nonetheless. Be aware though, you will have to sit through the awful “Cars” short “Tokyo Mater” beforehand though- that’s 10 minutes of my life I won’t get back…

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