Sunday, November 16, 2008

BOLT! Movie Review! Disney! Fantasticness!

Last night I went to the sneak preview of Disney's new CGI animation film BOLT featuring the voices of John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, and a bunch of other people you won't know. I was not able to see it in Disney Digital 3D though that will be available once the movie is released Nov. 21st. Disney Digital 3D is generally amazing so I would highly recommend seeing it that way if you can.

The film is a tremendous step for Walt Disney Animation in the computer animation arena. Their past efforts Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons were decent but not very well-received. Since then, however, Disney acquired the magnificentness that is Pixar Animation, and with that the Pixar-leading genius that is John Lasseter (the brain behind Toy Story, Cars, and really everything Pixar), who executive produced BOLT.

I'll just start by saying that this film will likely be the cause for a huge spike in sales of American White Shepherds... There will probably be lots of little Bolts running around on Christmas morning. Just a guess.

I want one. (Though after just looking at the actual dogs, Bolt was a lot cuter. Maybe I'll just get a stuffed animal version...)

Bolt is the star of a popular TV show in which he plays a super-powered dog whose sole mission in life is to protect his "person," Penny (Miley). The catch is that Bolt doesn't know he isn't actually super-powered-- he's never left the set or seen the TV cameras. He thinks it's all real.

In an unfortunate twist of fate Bolt gets shipped to New York and spends the rest of the film trying to get back to Hollywood to rescue Penny once more. It is over this time that he realizes his superpowers don't actually exist. Or do they?
Along the way he meets two GREAT characters in the form of Mittens the cat and Rhino the hamster (in a ball). These guys were hilarious. You've surely all seen Rhino in the previews and he's just as funny in the movie. But Mittens actually makes a sort of miraculous transformation throughout the film and I really got to like her and feel for her by the end.

The story of BOLT, looking back-- all the way to last night-- is eerily similar to that of the Toy Story films. Not that that upsets me. I love those movies. But they share in that they're both centered around long-distance search and rescue missions and both have a "You're just a TOY!"/"You're just a dog!" theme.

Mittens even has a very Toy Story 2-Jessie-ish scene where she recalls being abandoned by her previous owner who grew tired of her. I was literally waiting for Sarah McLaughlin to start singing "When she loved me..." I normally would be annoyed by something like that, but it really fit the character and movie so I gave it a free pass. Mittens also had several other really great moments during the movie-- in particular the whole sequence of her showing Bolt how to be a real dog.
I also really enjoyed the pigeons from all the different cities that Bolt&Friends visited. They represented the stereotypes of the people from each of the cities the gang traveled to and were all pretty spot on. Especially the Cali ones.

Oh and I loved the artistic design of the movie! During several of the wide shots in the traveling scenes they used beautiful painted backgrounds against the CG animation which made for a really cool effect.

All in all I really enjoyed this movie. And like I said I REALLY want to see it in Disney Digital 3D. If you haven't seen it yet, I'd definitely recommend that you try and see it in 3D if you can.

So don't forget to BOLT to theaters November 21st!

Next up for Walt Disney Animation will be The Princess and the Frog, Rapunzel, and King of the Elves which are all expected to feature a combination of both CGI animation as well as traditional 2D animation. They are expected to premiere in the Christmas seasons of 2009, 2010 and 2012, respectively.

All images © Disney Enterprises, Inc.

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