Bolt (2008) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Animation / Comedy / Family|
|Disney || PG - 96 minutes - $39.99 || March 22, 2009|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-03-23|
Writer(s): Dan Fogelman & Chris Williams (written by)
Cast: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman, Mark Walton, Malcolm McDowell, James Lipton
Theatrical Release Date: November 21, 2008
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Synopsis: Bolt is the star of the biggest show in Hollywood. The only problem is, he thinks the whole thing is real. When the super dog is accidentally shipped to New York City and separated from Penny, his beloved co-star and owner, Bolt springs into action to find his way home. Together with his hilarious new sidekick Rhino, Bolt’s #1 fan, and a street-smart cat named Mittens, Bolt sets off on an amazing journey where he discovers he doesn’t need super powers to be a hero.
Throughout the years, Disney has produced some of the best animated movies. These not only include Pixar but some of the traditional features such as Sleeping Beauty and Fantasia as well. Now the Mickey Mouse Studio has released one of the better non-Pixar animated movies that I’ve seen in a long while.
Bolt – the story of a TV star dog who doesn’t know he’s a star is – a fantastic movie for the entire family. This isn’t a profound movie with any grand ideas and doesn’t hold a candle to the likes of Finding Nemo or The Incredibles (or Wall-E, I guess, though I personally wasn’t wowed about the latter half of that one). Bolt is certainly a fluffy animated feature but I for one loved every minute of it. As a dog (and cat) person and having a dog that somewhat resembles Bolt, I can roll with the jokes along with kids.
Animated movies can be a prickly medium. You can have those near-masterpieces such as the aforementioned Pixar movies and older Disney flicks, but you can also have the substandard money grabs like Shark Tale, the only purpose of which is to bring together voice talents (Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Jack Black and Angelina Jolie), but offer a lifeless story. Bolt may not have a profound storyline (it is quite simple), but I had a lot of fun. One thing I did like about this story is the writers didn’t drag the whole, “he thinks the whole thing is real” aspect out.
The voice talents include John Travolta as Bolt, Miley Cyrus as Penny, Bolt’s owner and some interesting voice casting choices including the brilliant James Lipton as “The Director”. Other voices: Malcolm McDowell as the fake villain, Susie Essman as kitty cat Mittens and one of the best voices of the film, Mark Walton as Rhino the hamster who will no doubt get his own show along the lines of “The Penguins of Madagascar”.
Bolt may not be the best animated movie and if you compare it to Pixar’s releases, it isn’t, but for my money it’s the best I’ve seen in a while and probably matches with the likes of Shrek and other DreamWorks animated features as well.
All features are presented in 1080p high-definition.
Bonus Short: Rhino (4:27) – A funny animated short featuring Rhino the Hamster as he gets to spring into action and save Bolt and Penny from certain doom!
Deleted Scenes (6:37) – There are only 2 scenes (storyboarded) with introductions from the directors. I’m glad they chose not to go with those story avenues.
In Session with John Travolta and Miley Cyrus (0:55) is an all-too short featuring the two stars singing together. I assume this originally aired on the Disney Channel.
There are three basic featurettes: A New Breed of Directors: The Filmmakers’ Journey (4:34), Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt (9:48) and Creating the World of Bolt (6:45). The “voices” one is the better one of the bunch but is still just your general introduction to the cast featurette.
You also get a music video (1:47) for the John Travolta/Miley Cyrus song, “I Thought I Lost You”; Bolt’s Art Galleries (Character Design, Color Script, Storyboard Art, Visual Development) a dumb interactive game ** Blu-ray Exclusive **, and BD-Live where you can utilize some funtastic features like “Movie Chat”, “Movie Challenge” (I ruled that one), “Movie Mail” and “Movie Rewards Live”.
This release also has a digital copy (iTunes compatible) and a DVD copy, which is well worth it especially if you have kids. The DVD does contain all the features as well.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Bolt is presented in almighty 1080p high-definition with a 1.78 aspect ratio. This is probably one of the best looking Blu-rays I’ve seen to date. Although I’ll certainly give live-action content the benefit (like The Incredible Hulk), for an animated feature, this is a gorgeous looking HD transfer. Colors are vibrant but not overly so and there were absolutely no flaws.
Disney has switched from Uncompressed PCM audio to DTS-HD Master Audio. It doesn’t match the levels of The Incredible Hulk, but it is still a fantastic experience. Levels on all channels were spot on with dialogue coming out strongly from the center channel while some nifty action explosions come via the front speakers as well as ambient noise from both front and rear speakers. I didn’t notice a whole lot from my subwoofer but that’s a minor issue.
If not for the lack of features, Bolt on Blu-ray could’ve easily been a 4.5 star release. The audio and video are both fantastic and the movie itself is one of the better non-Pixar animated movies I’ve seen in a while (CG and traditional alike). The great thing about these recent Disney releases is, if you have kids the bonus DVD copy is an excellent bonus and can go to friends’ homes and watch it there if you like without having to come across as a snob that you only own a Blu-ray player...