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When Disney bought out Pixar it was more like Pixar taking over Disney Animation. The big mouse despite being wounded still had far more money that Pixar, but no longer the quality of staff. Therefore, head of Pixar, Steve Jobs, made Pixar's John Lassiter head of production at Disney Studios, almost like being paid to take over! In the past few years Disney had forgone traditional animation in favour of CGI that other studios were making profitable. The likes of 'Chicken Little' and 'Meet the Robinsons' did poorly at the box office so Disney turned to Lassiter and co. One of the first things Lassiter did was to re-establish traditional animation from Disney and oversee the production of 'Bolt' a large budget CGI film. Could some of the Pixar success rub off on Disney? Did they need the help when in my opinion 'Chicken Little' and 'Meet the Robinsons' are two of the best Disney films of the past 10 years?
Bolt is the canine star of one of the highest viewed shows on TV. In each weekly adventure he must save his owner, Penny, from an evil scientist and his cat cronies. To us the show is great entertainment, but for Bolt it is real. To make his actions authentic the creators of the show have trained him into thinking he has super powers! Imagine then what happens when Bolt finds himself separated from Penny in the real world with no one to help and seemingly failed super powers. With the aid of an opportunist cat called Mittens and super-fan Rhino (who happens to be a hamster) can Bolt return to Penny and will be ever realise that his life is not real?
Although the films of Pixar and Disney have both recently been CGI cartoons I feel they have not been aimed at the same markets. Disney specialises in films for kids and is unable to appeal to the adult market as much as Pixar. Recent triumphs like 'Ratatouille', 'Wall-e' and 'Up' show that Pixar make adult entertainment that also happened to please the kids. As a group Pixar are at their weakest when trying to aim at the younger audience e.g. 'Cars' and 'Finding Nemo'. Therefore, did Disney go down the adult route of the child route with 'Bolt'?
It is clear that 'Bolt' is a film for kids and it has a lot less to entertain adults as many modern CGI films. The surreal humour of Disney's past CGI films is gone; 'Robinsons' in particular was a wonderfully eccentric film. Replacing the surreal is the more traditional and bland approach to film telling. The story of 'Bolt' is incredibly linear and is obvious from the very start. Only a very small child yet versed in the art of cinema would be surprised with anything they see on the screen. Linearity is not an all together a bad thing, and there are enough jokes to make the film fun to watch at least once.
In terms of voice acting Disney have gone down the 'DreamWorks Animation' route of hiring big names that are not always the best at adding inflection to their voices. John Travolta is decent enough as Bolt, but does not stand out. Miley Cyrus is just there as Penny. It is unknown animator Mark Walton as hamster Rhino who stands out. This is someone who was hired for what he could bring to the quality of the film and not the front of the poster. Susie Essman also does a good job as Mittens proving that good comedians often make the best voice actors.
Another area that animation using CGI varies in quality is with the look of the film. The bigger the budget usually means the better the film looks. Some of the smaller CGI films are unable to keep up and look poorly textured and woodenly animated. This is not an issue with 'Bolt' as it looks fantastic, almost as good as Pixar's own films. I watched the film on BluRay and it looked excellent as the transfer really highlighted the vibrant colours of the world.
For me 'Bolt' is an interesting first foray for joint Disney/Pixar films, but nothing special. It seems to be trying to be both old fashioned Disney and classic Pixar, but ends up in the middle and being neither. The story is heartfelt and moments are funny, but the overall experience lacks the character or animation of the best in the field. 'Bolt' feels like an incredibly safe bet by Disney after their last two films flopped. By being so safe they lost the edge that they had started to build and reverted to the timid mediocrity that has dominated their output since 2000. This is not a bad film and is entertaining to watch once. However, it lacks the depth for repeat viewings and even children will find themselves drawn to better films.
Director: Bryon Howard and Chris Williams
Starring: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus et al.
Price: Amazon uk £16.98 (BluRay)
Play.com £17.99 (BluRay)
In what has to be one of the strangest extras ever you get the DVD of 'Bolt' with the BluRay! This means that there are two copies in the pack and you can watch it upstairs and down. This is added value for money, but surely if you buy a BluRay version of a film you expect to want to watch it in HD? Perhaps one copy is for best, the others for the kids to ruin!
This film is a PG and not the usual U cert. This is probably because of the various explosion and chase scenes; nothing to worry about for younger children imo.
There are plenty of additional featurettes as you would expect from a kid films as well as a fun mini adventure for Rhino. Not as good a collection as the best CGI cartoons provide on BluRay, but still better than most adult films.
Bolt is a new animated film from Disney Pixar. As with most of their films the animation is computer generated & looks very realistic.
Bolt is an adult dog. Taken from an animal shelter as a puppy by a girl called Penny. Penny & Bolt are always in conflict with the Evil Green eyed man. Bolt however has super powers & is Penny's constant protector. We soon dicover however that Bolt is actually the star of a TV show. Everyone around him included Penny are all eaware that it is a TV show. Bolt on the other hand isn't & believes that his super powers are real.
To please the viewing public, the show decide to have a cliff hanger ending where Penny is captured. When this happens, Bolt escapes from his trailer to rescue Penny & is accidetally shipped from the Film studio in Los Angeles all the way to New York. The film then follows his adventure as he tries to get home.
I really enjoyed this film as did my wife. I found all the characters & situations very funny. The plot is a little predictable but this doesn't detract from the film. Also, bearing in mind that this was made for 3D in cinemas, you wouldn't know & doesn't have clear points where you know it should be in 3D.
The special features are a good extra. A short cartoon about Rhino. Deleted scenes. Commentary & also the film on DVD too.
There isn't much wrong with either the film or the Blu Ray release of it. If you like animated comedies, you should really give this film a go.
Bolt is the latest movie made by Disney and so I decided to recently purchase this movie and see what all the fuss was about. This version was only a couple of quid more than the normal DVD and I purchased mine from TheHut (which I have reviewed very recently) and this includes the Blu-ray disc with special features, the film on DVD as well which is worth over £10 and a Rhino soft toy! (the excellent and very funny hamster in the movie) So I obviously decided to buy the Blu-ray!
Bolt and his owner Penny are the stars of a massive TV show with Bolt being the main character. To make everything appear more realistic Bolt must not know that this is just a show and not real and so he believes everything around him is real. When Penny is captured by the evil green eyed man he escapes over night to try and save her. He meets some other animals along the way including the hilarious Rhino, Mittens the cat and some pigeons! While trying to rescue his owner Penny he discovers he is not as super as he thought he was and his super powers are useless in the real world which causes him to be confused and upset.
The film is really good and enjoyable to watch as a family. Bolt (who is voiced by John Travolta) and Mittens are the serious characters in the movie who keep the plot moving while Rhino the hamster provides all the laughs and is my favourite character. Rhino is quite hyper and is very excited to meet Bolt (as he is a huge fan) and also wants to help Bolt on his adventure. Penny is voiced by Miley Cyrus which I thought would be a huge disadvantage but she actually did quite well in her role and did not make the film any worse/ less enjoyable.
The Blu-ray makes the disc look very impressive at times especially with situations involving Bolt`s superpowers at the start of the film and the film is very well animated (as all Disney films are) and the computer effects all look very nice.
The film is quite similar to other Disney films and as with all Disney films you know it will have a happy ending and it also works well for children and adults and is great to watch as a family.
Overall this is an excellent Disney film and an enjoyable watch as a family. The best character is Rhino who provides all the laughs and you also get a free Rhino soft toy with the Blu-ray version as well as the standard DVD which means you can watch it wherever you are if you have 1 Blu-ray player and about 5 DVD players! Bolt is quite similar to other Disney movies though and I don`t think is their best animation but it is very good.
Special features include: Super Rhino Short which is quite funny and the only feature I have watched but the others include deleted scenes, an art gallery (which is exclusive to Blu-ray) , a game (Blu-ray exclusive), Creating the World of Bolt, the voice cast and a music video featuring Miley Cyrus and John Travolta.
Running time: Approximately 96 minutes
Rating: PG (I think it is suitable for all)
4/5 A good animated family film
This review may appear on other sites such as Ciao.co.uk under the names ns1209 and mariofan123.