Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 2008. Walt Disney Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures. Screenplay by Dan Fogelman, Chris Williams, additional screenplay material by Byron Howard, Jared Stern. Produced by Clark Spencer. Music by John Powell. Production Design by Paul A. Felix. Film Editing by Tim Mertens. Academy Awards 2008. Golden Globe Awards 2008.
Charming animated film from the Disney studios whose writing isn’t quite up to the standard of its lovely animation. Bolt (John Travolta) is an adorable little pup who appears on a TV show with his human friend Penny (Miley Cyrus), the two of them starring as crime fighters aided by his special wonderdog powers. What Bolt doesn’t know is that nothing that he does is actually real, his producers having worked hard to make him buy his on-set situations so that he’ll deliver the most effective possible performance. When a set up is created to convince Bolt that Penny has really been kidnapped, he breaks free from his studio trailer and hits the streets looking for her, not realizing that his eyes don’t actually emit laser beams and his bark can’t actually cause earthquakes. Leave it to a wise talking, starving alley cat (Susie Essman, a wonderful voice performance) to set him straight and make him not only realize how normal he is, but also introduce him to the wonders of the wide world around him. It’s sweet and light, much more likely to win over the younger folk but still a warm piece, and Travolta does some wonderful voice work as the star pup. Listen for the wonderful song “Barking At the Moon” by Jenny Lewis.