Smile Politely

Bolt Delivers In-Your-Lap Entertainment

1-thumb-400×224.jpg” width=”400” height=”224” alt=”bolt-con1.jpg” class=”mt-image-left” style=”margin: 0 20px 20px 0;” />

If the reaction by the youngsters in the audience at last Saturday night’s preview of Disney’s Bolt is any indication, the new digital 3-D process that was used to make this feature is here to stay. “Oohs” and “aahs” filled the theater, as did the sight of young hands reaching towards the screen, trying to grab the many pixeled pictures that floated before them. Without question, this is not your grandfather’s 3-D, as this new technique does lend a depth of field to the screen that’s astonishing. The illusion that fireballs or helicopters are breaking the fourth wall is as real as it gets, making this one of the most significant advancements in motion pictures in the last twenty years.

Thankfully, the story these effects are used to bring to life is worthwhile as well. Bolt (voice by John Travolta) is a television superstar, a normal canine who believes that he has the many superpowers that his on screen counterpart possesses. His owner and the costar of the show, Penny (Miley Cyrus), worries about her dog’s well-being, as he’s never allowed off the set and remains convinced that his super speed and super bark are the real deal. However, circumstances arise that find Bolt inadvertently sealed up in a packing crate and accidentally shipped to New York City, where he finds himself alone on the streets and desperate to get back to Penny, who he believes has been kidnapped by the bad guys on their show.

1-thumb-200×105.jpg” width=”200” height=”105” alt=”DisneyBolt1.jpg” class=”mt-image-right” style=”float: right; margin: 0 0 20px 20px;” />

The cross-country journey Bolt embarks on is a long one and the film stumbles by not compressing it more than it does. Our canine star is accompanied by Mittens (Susie Essman), a reluctant cat hostage, and Rhino (Mark Walton), an overzealous hamster, and this pair does help provide some genuine laughs (a scene where they beg for food at a trailer park) and thrills (hopping a fast moving freight train). There’s just the right amount of action sequences, as one more would have run the risk of repetition.

This is all fine for the young ones in the audience but what will keep the parents engaged are Bolt’s existential struggles, as it slowly dawns on him that he’s not the dog he thinks he is. Travolta does a good job here, being overly earnest when Bolt is in hero mode and despondent when reality comes crushing down upon him. In the end, it’s this sense of poignancy that makes Bolt worthwhile as the film effectively reiterates that it’s all right to just be yourself. Then again, those scenes where the dogs look like they’re going to land in your lap are pretty cool, too.

Bolt is now playing at theatres everywhere.
Runtime: 1h 36min — Rated PG — Animation/Comedy/Action/Adventure

Related Articles