There’s nothing wrong with Bolt. I had a pleasant experience watching it but if I wasn’t taking notes I would be able to tell you very little about it just minutes after seeing it. Bolt is like the movie equivalent of fast food- tastes pretty good but no nutritional value.
Bolt was first created by Chris Sanders, the writer of Lilo and Stitch. However, at the beginning of production his script was swapped out and Chris Williams, the co-director was brought on board.
They made Bolt in only 18 months as opposed to 4 years and John Lasseter from Pixar was involved in rewrites just like Meet the Robinsons.
The voice-cast includes John Travolta, Susie Essman, and Miley Cyrus (if you are thinking you hate Miley she is fine in this).
They developed 2 new technologies for the 3D in the Bolt and it was nominated for Best Animated film but lost to WALL-E (duh!)
Here’s a trailer
The biggest problem with this movie is it is too long. Most Disney movies are around 75 minutes. This is 96 and you feel those extra minutes.
Especially at the beginning where we get a scene from Bolt and Penny’s TV show that goes on forever. 25 minutes!! It just starts to get ridiculous after a while.
I know we aren’t supposed to take a movie like this seriously but there are aspects which are tough to believe even in this setting. The idea is Bolt is the star of a TV show where he literally believes he is responsible for saving the world. They keep him sheltered and feed him this lie so he can be a ‘method acting’ dog. Evidently this show has a budget bigger than The Avengers destroying a dozen cars and a helicopter in the first scenes. .
The director claims they never do reshoots and evidently shoot in chronological order so the dog doesn’t know it isn’t real. Insane. Even for TV they would never do that. Especially because Bolt zooms through streets, overpasses and everything else. Plus in filming the shots he has full access to his super powers which would be added by special effects later. He thinks he really has a super bark. He thinks he has laser eyes. He wouldn’t have any idea of those things because they are all added by special effects departments.
But again, not a realistic picture but it was pretty far-fetched thing to swallow. There is so much twisting to make the plot work as opposed to the Toy Story movies which aside from the alive toys and the scene at the end deal with a less strained setting (big moments are birthday party, pizza place, neighbors house, moving truck etc).
Again totally overthinking it but it goes on for so long my mind wandered.
Because the plot requires it, Bolt gets lost and he meets pigeons, a hamster in a ball named Rhino and a cat named Mittens. The animals are very cute and attractively drawn.
Mittens is basically the Woody character from Toy Story (with a little Mr Potato Head thrown in) who is trying to convince Bolt he is a dog, not an action star. (this film feels very Pixar derivative…). It takes an hour before we finally get the scene where Mitten tells Bolt ‘you are not a super hero’ which is so close to ‘you are a toy! You are a child’s play thing. You’re an action figure’. Toy Story had so much more flair at the scene.
Penny’s agent is a real jerk in Bolt. He is constantly telling her to ‘put a pin in it’ making him one of the more unlikable non-villains in a Disney movie.
Just like any road trip movie they have various adventures and travel montages including a stop over in Vegas. There’s one moment where Mittens gives an almost identical speech to Jesse from Toy Story 2 about her person left her except without near the effect. Unlike Sid in Toy Story, there is no real villain, no sense of true peril but just one stop after another.
It uses a lot of road trip cliches but the whole time it is pleasant and fun. It is just too long. There are especially too many chase sequences with trains, cars, on foot etc. They got predictable after a bit.
Like I said, a lot of Pixar jabs but my favorite was from the pigeon when he is pitching a script says ‘Man, don’t freak out. This is how you blew it with Nemo’. That was a good line.
Eventually Bolt makes it back to Penny alive and all is well in the world.
I think kids will enjoy this movie. That said, I’m equally sure they will have no recollection of it a year from now. Tell that to kids still talking about Frozen all these months later but nevertheless it is harmless fluff.
The animation looks nice, the voice cast is good (even Miley she is fine). the music is an after thought.
The biggest problem is it’s just too long. 96 minutes is too much for this type of movie. There isn’t enough substance to the story and it drags in each section of the film
If you want to see a kids movie with a humorous take on Hollywood try Big Fat Liar. It is a fun movie where kids take on a lying studio exec played by Paul Giamatti. It has a faster pace and the humor is way more on point.
But like I said there is nothing bad in the movie. It’s harmless and will entertain kids and has some nice messages about friendship and loyalty . I would have no problem watching it with my kids; although there are so many other choices which will inspire them more.
Overall Grade- C-
We are nearing the finish line! Some of these next one’s I like a lot so I will try my best to not be defensive to the haters and cynics! I will try!
49- Princess and the Frog
51- Winnie the Pooh
52- Wreck it Ralph.
54- Big Hero 6
Which one is your favorite? Mine is Tangled with Frozen a strong second. I’m excited to see Princess and the Frog and Wreck it Ralph because my previous viewings I was not a big fan. We will see!