I guarantee if Donovan had written the theme song somewhere it would’ve included the line “Underdog and Dyno-Mutt ain’t got… nuthin’ on me.”
Because it's true, “Bolt”
is neither a malfunctioning robot nor a ‘sucka in a blue and red suit’. With his powers of super speed, super-strength, laser vision and supersonic bark attack, when it comes to super-dogs Bolt is the real deal!
Originally named “The OmegaDog”
, BOLT, the superdog
) guards and protects his owner, Penny
) on one perilous adventure after the next on their quest to foil the plans of the evil Dr. Calico
) and rescue Penny’s kidnapped father. For these two everyday of their lives is like an action–packed, Michael Bay-directed television series.
“Bolt! The Superdog”
is a big budget, highly-rated TV show who’s success is driven by a director (James Lipton, perfectly cast) who insists on method acting for his ‘leading man’. Thus, great pains are taken to insure that Bolt believes the scenarios and his superpowers are 100% real, in order to pull the most convincing performances from him.
Okay, he’s a dog
so it’s not like it’s that hard to fool him. Plus, Bolt’s little ‘Truman Show’
world is pretty cush. The conflict comes when Bolt escapes from his on-set trailer mistakenly believing Penny has been kidnapped by Dr. Calico. Attempting to break through a window, he falls unconscious into a box of styrofoam peanuts and gets shipped from Hollywood to New York City. In New York, Bolt meets ‘Mittens’
), a New Yawk alley cat running an extortion racket on pigeons for their food. Because the felonious feline is so similar to the cat owned by Doctor Calico, Bolt assumes she’s a supervillain and forces her to help him get back to Hollywood. From here it becomes a road trip movie with the two traveling from NY across the middle of America to Las Vegas and back to Hollywood.
When Bolt notices that his ‘superpowers’
aren't working he rationalizes it’s the effect of the styrofoam , which leaves Mittens convinced she’s been kidnapped by a lunatic. Bolt’s delusions of grandeur are further substantiated when they pick up ‘Rhino’
, the hamster( Mark Walton)- a rabid (not literally) Bolt fanboy
- who knows that Bolt is from a TV show but hero worships him all the same. Much like Buzz Lightyear
, Bolt's belief that he really is a hero allows him to perform heroic and even incredible feats…until it really, really doesn’t.
Also like Buzz Lightyear (maybe too much like Buzz Lightyear
) Bolt’s house of cards comes crashing down when he finds out the truth and he tailspins into depression. Chalk it up to Stockholm Syndrome I guees, but Mittens comes to sympathize with Bolt and works to pull him back into good spirits. The second half of their road trip centers on her teaching him how to be a real dog and enjoy it. By the end there’s the question: Should Bolt even try to go back to Hollywood?
Come to think of it, that was the big question of Toy Story 2, as well.
Well, of course all the Toy Story
comparisons don’t come from nowhere. BOLT
is the direct result of the big Disney
rift that almost happened years ago, which ended in Pixar staying with Disney and its Lead Director, John Lasseter
, taking over as the head of Walt Disney Studios Animation Dept. Even though BOLT
was co-directed by Chris Williams
and Bryon Howard
it’s got Lasseter’s stamp all over it. Still, in the wake of Disney’s previous non-Pixar 3D animated movies, ‘Chicken Little
’ and ‘Meet The Robinsons
’, I would pay BOLT
the highest of compliments and say that it is almost, ALMOST indistinguishable from a Pixar movie. The only tell-tale signs are that it breaks no new ground and too many elements feel too familiar (even the New York pigeons are reminiscent of the “Goodfeathers”
characters from ‘Animaniacs’).
if it isn’t one of the most gorgeous movies I’ve ever seen, especially on Blu-Ray. Even more impressive by the fact that they only had 18 months to complete the film, as opposed to the standard four years for most 3D animated movies. Add to that the excellent voice actors (special kudos to two of my favorite under-the-radar comedians Susie Essman
and Nick Swardson
, who knocked it out of the park for me)and a solid story with a schmaltzless ending – BOLT
is a movie that makes me want to hug my dog every time I watch it.
The biggest extra in this to me is that fact that in one package you get the movie on Blu-Ray, DVD and a digital copy. I’ve only just stuck my toe into the Blu-Ray waters with one player but this allows me to watch the movie on my TVs that “only” have DVD hooked up and on anybody’s computer.
“SUPER RHINO” Short:
Since he came so close to stealing the movie it only makes sense that we'd get etxra time with Rhino. Here's a cute little, short feature in which Rhino dreams he has the powers of Bolt. Nothing spectacular about it except it has the same beauty and tone as the rest of the film. In fact, it fits SO well and it’s so short (maybe two minutes long) that it could’ve eaily been a deleted scene from the main feature
In Session With John Travolta and Miley Cyrus:
It’s the obligatory mutual admiration society schtick you find on every DVD. The only difference is that this is here for the purpose of setting up the ensuing music video and it’s really, really short. I’m talking maybe 30 seconds long.
“I Thought I Lost You” Music Video
Quick cuts between John Travolta
and Miley Cyrus
lip-synching in the studio and scenes from the movie. I’d completely forgotten that Travolta
once had a singing career a lifetime ago.
I don’t know if he’s lost his pipes since then but one thing I did notice is that the song is arranged in such a way that every time he sings the music cranks way up and drowns him out.
Again, this music video is so short it was over before I could register that I was tired of it.
A New Breed of Filmmaker’s Journey
An animator the featurettes are always interesting to me. Though not very in-depth it was entertaining to see the process and just how close the co-directors, Williams and Howard, are. They’re practically holding hands the whole time.
It was also the first time I’ve seen storyboards drawn digitally and not on paper.
3D animated film require too much money and computer processing to actual render scenes you aren’t going to use. What you have here are two animatic storyboards of alternate scenes in which Bolt discovers he just a normal dog.
“Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt”
The highlight of this featurettes is when Chris Walton- who you’ve never heard of before because he’s not an actor, just a member of the story crew who does fill-in reads- gets the news that they’ve decided to actually give him the part of ‘Rhino’ in the movie for reals. His excitement is infectious.
Bolt’s Be-Awesome Mission Game
I haven’t known ONE
DVD extras game to be even as good as the chimpiest of web games. This one is no exception. Waste of time.
There’s also a gallery of early concept sketches and a link to BD Live on the Disney website. You have to register to do stuff on it so I didn’t bother. Really, everything I could want is already contained in this box.
…except for perhaps a real dog wit laser vision!
You can (and should!) purchase BOLT/ Three-Disc Edition
by clicking here