Genre: CG Animation
Director: Chris Williams, Byron Howard
Cast: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman,
Mark Walton, Greg Germann, James Lipton,
J.P. Manoux, Malcolm McDowell, Chloe Moretz, Ronn Moss, Kari
Wahlgren, Sean Donnellan
RunTime:1 hr 36 mins
Released By: BVI
Official Website: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/bolt/
Opening Day: 4 December 2008
From Walt Disney Pictures comes an animated comedy adventure
featuring a super-dog named Bolt (voice of John Travolta),
whose days are filled with danger and intrigue—at least
until the cameras stop rolling. When the star of a hit TV
show is accidentally shipped from his Hollywood soundstage
to New York City, he begins his biggest adventure yet—a
cross-country journey through the real world to get back to
his owner and co-star, Penny (voice of Miley Cyrus). Armed
only with the delusions that all his amazing feats and powers
are real, and the help of two unlikely traveling companions—a
jaded, abandoned housecat named Mittens (voice of Susie Essman)
and a TV-obsessed hamster named Rhino (voice of Mark Walton)—Bolt
discovers he doesn't need superpowers to be a hero.
“It’s trying too hard.”
“But it doesn’t even look funny.”
“Talking dogs? They are so last era.”
Those were just some of the responses we heard after the trailer of this Walt Disney Animation Studios picture was released. While you can be sure that it will be nowhere near the standard of what is possibly this year’s best animated feature that is Wall.E, we would also like to assure you that this latest offering from The House of Mouse isn’t as passé as what the trailer suggests. And although this canine adventure lost out in box office takings to a certain vampire whom teenage girls find extremely charming in its home country, we are hoping that it will not adversely affect your choice of movie to watch this weekend, because, as the tagline aptly puts it, this family affair is truly a-w-e-s-o-m-e.
Forgive us as we get over with the unexcitingly predictable story plot (although you may have seen the unjustifiable trailer and know the story by now): An American white shepherd plays a heroic dog in a hit TV series and has believes that he is the character he plays, a dog with superpowers. An accident gets him shipped from Hollywood to New York City. Being thrown in the world of harsh reality, the dog has to find his way home to his owner with the help of a grumpily frumpy cat and an overweight hamster living in a plastic ball.
We don’t think readers will be agitated that we tell them about the “spoiler-ish” opening act where a setup of the TV series is translated on screen. The adrenaline filled sequence is pumped up with John Powell’s energetic score and although you think you’ve seen it somewhere before, it still keeps you at the edge of your seat for 20 odd minutes. And when it is revealed that it’s all part of a film set, you’d still chuckle good naturedly.
The movie then wastes no time in shipping off the protagonist to New York where the adventure begins. The lovable characters we meet along the way are what make this picture a winner. Susie Essman’s cranky cat is full of wisecracks and sarcasm that you’d want to introduce her to your self important colleague. Disney writer/artist Mark Walton takes up the task of voicing that hamster which everyone wants to cuddle and hug after watching the trailer. The rodent’s psychotic fandom and hyperactive personality is almost impossible not to love. There are also the pigeons which are wonderfully animated and voiced. Watch out as one of them makes a fleeting in joke about starring in Disney Pixar’s earlier hit Finding Nemo (2003) – we love it when movies make fun of other movies.
Then there is John Travolta’s Bolt and the increasingly popular Miley “Hannah Montana” Cyrus’s Penny. The rather odd pairing (the two are 38 years apart) does not feel so awkward anymore when you hear Travolta’s huskily humourous doggy voice put together with Cyrus’s angelically sweet voice as the dog’s owner. In fact, the duo’s end title duet “I Thought I Lost You” is a cheery tune that will be put on repeat mode on our players for a while.
The Disney messages we are all familiar with are in place too – finding your true self, sticking by your best friends no matter what happens and being loyal to those you love. These evergreen messages are best put across in an animated flick like this.
Coupled with the visually appealing animation (it’s an evidently vast improvement from Meet The Robinsons and Chicken Little), this highly energetic and pleasing movie is a must watch this holiday season.
And why watch it once when you can relive the awesome movie again in 3D? Watch the characters come to life in with 3D glasses the format is released here – and as the hamster will prance and shout zealously, we say: “Let it begin! Let it begin!”
(The fan in us tells you: This movie is electrifyingly awesome. Period)
Review by John Li