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Directed by Chris Williams and Byron Howard
Featuring voices by Malcolm McDonald, Miley Cyrus, John Travolta, Mark Walton

I didn’t get a chance to see this film in the theater when it came out. It did look pretty cute to me: big eyed dog and a wise cracking hamster. So, I was pretty happy when I saw this package in my mailbox. Bolt: Blu Ray 3 Disc Special Edition was recently released by Disney Home Video.

The Movie

The film opens and we are introduced to the uber cute Bolt (John Travolta). Bolt is the star of a hit primetime show, alongside his owner and best friend Penny (Miley Cyrus). Penny and Bolt have many fans but no one loves them as much as they love each other.

However, there is a bit of a twist. Bolt truly believes that he has superpowers and the cast and crew work diligently to make him believe it: hook, line and sinker. It makes his acting more “method” and believable, according to the director.

In the latest episode, the duo is running from the “villain” Dr. Calico (Malcolm McDonald) and his men. The director is more dedicated than ever to keep Bolt believing that not only his powers are real, but he and Penny are actually experiencing this “adventure”. However, Bolt takes it so seriously that he runs off in search of his owner after he is left in his trailer for the day. Bolt only knows that the last time he saw Penny; she was in extreme danger and needs his help.

Through many twists and turns, he winds up on the road in search of Penny and Dr. Calico with a stray cat named Mittens (Susie Essman), who has a sharp tongue and even sharper wit and an enthusiastic and hilarious hamster named Rhino (Mark Walton), who recognizes Bolt for the TV star that he is and is convinced that the two are destined to not only be best friends, but perhaps, Rhino could be an action star as well.

It is through this friendship with Mittens and Rhino, Bolt learns many things, about truth, love and friendship.

Bolt, while not quite on the level of the Pixar greats like The Incredibles, Toy Story, Finding Nemo and more, works on many levels much better than the average schmaltzy Disney fare. Not to say that it doesn’t fall into some schmaltz, because it does. But, it doesn’t “reside” in it for the running time of the film. The film is fast paced, entertaining and has quite a few laughs.

The animation is absolutely fantastic, a wonderful mélange of CGI, traditional hand drawn and photographic elements. It is eye-popping and truly on the level of the heartfelt quality of a Pixar film. Is it any surprise that John Lasseter, a long time Pixar producer and director and current creative officer of Pixar, is a producer on this film?

The voice acting is first rate, especially by John Travolta as Bolt and the scene stealing Mark Walton as Rhino. Miley Cyrus, while I am certainly NOT a fan, does fine in her part as Penny. Susie Essman and Malcolm McDowell seem to relish in the fun of their parts.

So, don’t hold the fact that Miley Cyrus is a voice in this film against it. If you do, you are going to miss a fun little animated film. Definitely a good time for the animated film fans in your house, young and old.


The Video

The show is presented in Anamorphic widescreen in 1080/AVC MPEG4 video. This transfer is truly first rate and takes full advantage of the Blu Ray format. The colors are spectacularly vibrant and the level of detail is stunning. The image is respectable sharp and there are no instances of grain or artifacts in any frame.


The Audio

Presented in DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1, the dialogue is crystal clear and mixed well. The bass mix is respectable and there is nice usage of the rear speakers. The sound is immersive and lively.


The Packaging and Bonus Features

The film is presented in a 3 Disc Blu Ray amaray case with a cute picture of Bolt on the cover.

There are some nice bonus features to explore on this release. A New Breed of Directors: A Filmmaker’s Journey is a look at the directors Chris Williams and Byron Howard and their experiences making this film. Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt is a visit with Miley Cyrus and John Travolta and the surprise hit of the film, Mark Walton as Rhino. Creating the World of Bolt is look at the fascinating combinations of animation style utilized in the film.

Also offered is some deleted scenes, a music video, and a very 5 minutes short film entitled Super Rhino, starring everyone’s favorite hamster.

A digital copy of the film is included in the 3 disc version. As far as exclusive HD content, there is an Art Gallery, BD Live Enabled section and an Interactive Game called Bolt’s Be-Awesome Mission.

While I miss a director’s commentary, the bonus material offered is well produced and worth watching.


Overall ( Not an Average) 8/10

The Review
The Movie 7/10
The Video 10/10
The Audio 9/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 8.5/10
Overall ( Not an Average) 7/10