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Movie Review: Bolt


Bolt gets 8 out of 10 stars for being smart and insightful.

Thanks to a string of commercial disappointments (or at most, underwhelming successes), Disney Animation has been in dire need of a revamp for several years. Notwithstanding the fact that computer-animated movies as a whole have dominated the family-film market for a decade or more, the looming presence of their cash-cow Pixar has overshadowed virtually every project during that time – which is no doubt one of the major reasons Pixar CEO and major-domo John Lasseter was appointed the chief creative officer for WDA a few years back.

Because of the labyrinthine production schedule of animated films, the official first effort under Lasseter’s auspices hasn’t arrived until now and perhaps unsurprisingly it bears many of the hallmarks of Pixar’s classics. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t quite live up to their overall quality, which is why Bolt is a good but not great film which should earn Walt Disney Animation a deserved hit even if it won’t quite return them to the heights of their own creative and commercial heyday.

John Travolta plays Bolt, the canine star of a hit TV series about a girl named Penny (Miley Cyrus) who escapes capture by the evil Dr. Calico (Malcolm McDowell) with the help of her superpowered dog. When a mix-up results in Bolt being shipped to the rough-and-tumble streets of New York, he begins to make a valiant trek back across the country to Hollywood for a reunion with Penny. Because he has been deluded into believing that everything in the show is real, Bolt targets an alley cat named Mittens (Susie Essman) as a minion of Dr. Calico and enlists her to help him get home. In the meantime, the duo picks up a TV-obsessed hamster named Rhino (Mark Walton) along the way who helps inspire Bolt to feats of greatness after he begins to realize that he is just an average dog.

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