Friday, 28 January 2011


Lowdown: A film star dog has to come to grips with reality if he wants his human owner back.
The institution that is the Disney animation film feels like it is as old as the institution of film in general. There used to be a time when animation films were hard to make, resulting in few but very famous releases, mostly from Disney; as technology improved these became more frequent, so much so that Disney institutionalized a yearly animation release. Bolt is one such film, a proper Disney animation release (it's computer animated but it's not a Pixar flick). As you can expect from what has become a frequent tradition, the good old Disney trademarks are there - talking, human like animals etc - but so is predictability.
Bolt, voiced by John Travolta, is a Hollywood TV action hero star. He plays in this TV series as his child master's dog-turned-superhero by the child's genius father, and when that father is kidnapped by an evil organization the dog and his master attempt continuous rescue. The catch is that in order to pass as an authentic hero our Bolt is made to believe he is truly a superhero with genuine superpowers and all, which makes life hard on him when - due to an accident - he finds himself in New York. Getting back across the USA to his rightful place proves hard, but don't worry: with the aid of an anorexic cat and a hamster that likes to live in his transparent ball no challenge can stand in the way.
There is not much to say, really, about Bolt. It is as standard a Disney release as one can expect: the nice story, the interesting lessons that are pushed hard down our throats, and the funky characters say it all. Unlike its Pixar siblings Bolt has limited adult appeal, although that hamster sure is fun.
Best scene: I liked the escape from the stray dog prison scene, but mostly because it reminded me of Terminator 2 escape from Pescadero's scene. I don't know if that was the intention Bolt's makers had in mind, but there can be no doubt these films try to appeal to the parent by touching on fondly accepted popular culture icons.
Technical assessment: A classic animation DVD with a very good picture and sound to match.
Overall: Kids will like it more, but for an adult this cannot bring more than 2.5 out of 5 stars.

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