Bolt (2008)

bolt poster 2008 movie rhino mittens
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Good characters, decent story

Still feels less developed than earlier Disney films

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Bolt

Studio:  Walt Disney Animation Studios

Genre(s):  Animated/Action/Adventure/Comedy/Family

Release Date(s):  November 21, 2008

MPAA Rating:  PG


Bolt to the rescue!!!

Bolt is a superhuman dog that has been genetically engineered to help his master Penny find her father and defeat Doctor Calico…or at least that is what Bolt believes.  What Bolt doesn’t know is that he’s part of a popular TV show called Bolt and that all the powers are special effects.  When Penny is kidnapped in a cliffhanger episode, Bolt sets out to find his master and accidentally ends up shipped to New York City.  Now, Bolt must make it back to Hollywood and has taken a stray cat named Mittens hostage to learn where the cat-loving Dr. Calico is keeping Penny prisoner.  Joined by a TV-obsessed hamster named Rhino, Bolt and Mittens are on the adventure of a lifetime!


Who’s a good dog?

Directed by Chris Williams and Byron Howard, Bolt is the forty-eighth entry in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series following Meet the Robinsons in 2007.  The 3D computer animated film was relatively well received by critics and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (losing to WALL-E).

Bolt comes a very forgettable stretch of Disney films that began with Dinosaur, The Emperor’s New Groove (which I love), or Atlantis:  The Lost Empire.  Disney’s ‘’90s shine had worn off and Disney was facing new challenges from Pixar and other computer animated films.  Bolt does work a bit better than some of the films.


Vegas rocks! Let’s pick up a hooker!

Bolt is a take on reality TV.  Bolt doesn’t know he’s living in a TV show much like Jim Carrey in The Truman Show…except he’s a dog so it is a lot easier to trick him.  This aspect of the script is the easy part, but the movie has to make a story from it and for the most part the story does flow.  I do find the ending kind of terrifying with Bolt and Penny facing death at the fire but touching in that Bolt is willing to die with her.

The voice actors for the film are like most Disney films in that they cast some big name actors.  John Travolta is the voice of Bolt with Miley Cyrus playing the voice of his owner Penny (with Chloë Grace Moretz playing her as a youth).  Malcolm McDowell plays the villainous Dr. Calico and Susie Essman is Mittens with Mark Walton as Rhino.  Other voice actors include Inside the Actors Studio’s James Lipton as the Director, Randy Savage, and singer Jenny Lewis as the assistant director (Lewis also performs “Barking at the Moon” for the soundtrack).


Really actually kind of depressing scene…

Visually the movie is an average computer animated film, but fortunately it is loaded with good characters.  Bolt comes off as a likeable and real and the hamster in a ball Rhino is also fun.  Bolt doesn’t really go for realism with its animation, but it works for the story.

Bolt is kind of derivative of a lot of stuff released around this period of time.  Despite this rather simplified version of a decent film, Bolt was rather entertaining and touching at points and leaves you wanting a dog like Bolt.  Disney followed Bolt with the traditionally animated The Princess and the Frog in 2009.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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