Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Bolt is Walt Disney Animation Studios' fourth mainstream computer animated feature after Chicken Little (2005), The Wild (2006), and Meet the Robinsons (2007), and the studio's 48th animated feature over all. It is also the first feature film from the studio to be nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature since 2002 when Lilo & Stitch and Treasure Planet were both nominated.
The plot centres around Bolt (John Travolta) a dog who plays a superdog in a TV series. To make sure he gives off the most realistic performance out of any actor in history everything is set up to make him believe that he is a true superdog and that his young owner Penny (Miley Cyrus) is in danger. However, Bolt ends up in a box going to Manhattan and when he gets out the box he realizes he must get home to rescue Penny. Joining him on his cross-country treck home are cat Mittens (Susie Essman) and Bolt's biggest fan, hyperactive hamster Rhino (Mark Walton) on a journey full of fun, adventure, adrenaline and some shocking truths for Bolt that will change his life forever.
In this film it is a thrill or a laugh a minute. The action of the opening scenes when Bolt and Penny are filming the TV series is a truly adrenaline-fuelled sequence, filled with 'explosions', 'machine guns' and 'motorbike chases', and is so well edited that the action never slows down for a second and is your heart is constantly racing as you watch it. The main comic relief of the film, despite quite a number of the characters being very comical, comes from Rhino. Never before has a hamster been so enjoyable to watch thanks to the outstanding vocal performance from Walton, as well as the screenplay and character's animation that make him hyperactive, cute, worringly geeky and a bit too tough for his own good in equal measures that will make the character, to us the viewers, irresistable and so fun to watch. His most funny moments, arguably though, are when he is in his exercise ball acting all tough and ready to fight, only to be pushed away or to end up rolling without intending to. I can't explain why this is so funny - you just have to watch it.
The animation is truly spectacular, done with such care and detail that it is easy to forget while watching the film that this isn't a picture made by Pixar, as it is to the same standard as their films. The whole film, however, is carried by the characters. Rhino, as mentioned above, is truly the comic relief. Mittens is also very fun to watch as never before have you seen such a tough cat, especially in the scenes where she acts like the Godfather around the New York pigeons. Bolt, however, is the most memorable character. It has been so long since a dog was (one of) the main protagonists in a mainstream Disney animation - the last time being 1988's Oliver & Company - that it is really refreshing to see it. Bolt, in equal measures, is courageous and heroic, and every bit the wonderful creation as Disney hero should be, yet is also so sweet in the moments where Penny plays with him and he gets really over-excited over his squeaky carrot, and heart-breaking, in the climactic fire in the TV studio where he desperately tries to get himself and Penny out of the burning building, and almost cries as Penny starts to slip in and out of consciesness. The character of Bolt was created by Pixar Chief and Head of Animation at Disney, John Lasseter, who is the film's producer, and clear parralels can be drawn between Bolt and Buzz Lightyear of Pixar's Toy Story trilogy (1995, 1999 and 2010), which was created by Lasseter, as was Buzz. Both of them believe they are what the media has depicted them to be and both realized the truth after being stranded in the real world, and it is interesting to see how many parralels/similarities you can spot between the two over the course of the film.
In short, Bolt is a wonderful animated film that will be loved by children and adults alike, and is entertaining and mature in equal measures.
Stars: John Travolta, Susie Essman, Mark Walton, Miley Cyrus, Lino DiSalvo, Todd Cummings, Jim Mertens, James Lipton, Malcolm McDowell, Greg Germann, Grey DeLisle, Diedrich Bader, Nick Swardson, Kari Wahlgren, Randy Savage, Chloe Moretz.
Oscar nomination: Best Animated Feature (Chris Williams, Byron Howard).