Bolt Review
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So there’s this dog, right? He’s a big-time Hollywood star. But then he gets lost, and he ends up having to fend for himself.

Sound familiar? It should. You might have seen it back in the spring of 2007, when it was a live-action family flick called Firehouse Dog. Personally, I chose to skip it. So when I heard that Disney was making an animated movie with a suspiciously similar story, I may have rolled my eyes and let out a frustrated sigh. But I went to see it anyway—because the fact that it was an animated Disney movie somehow made it seem okay. And, once again, Disney didn’t let me down.

As I’ve already explained, Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) is a canine star. He has his own hit TV series, which follows his action-packed adventures with a girl named Penny (Miley Cyrus), whose brainy scientist dad has been kidnapped by the evil Dr. Calico (Malcolm McDowell). Bolt, however, doesn’t know that it’s all just a show. He believes that he really does have superpowers. He believes that Penny and her dad really are in danger. And he believes that he’s the only one who can save them. So when an episode ends on a cliffhanger, leaving Penny in peril, Bolt escapes from his trailer and heads out to rescue her.

  
 
After Bolt accidentally gets himself shipped to New York City, he ends up on a cross-country trip to save Penny—joined by a tough alley cat named Mittens (Susie Essman) and an over-eager fanboy hamster named Rhino (Mark Walton).

Though its cute, cuddly story (and a few of its characters) may not be entirely original, Bolt is nevertheless a clever family comedy. The writing is sharp and witty, and the crisp animation makes it all come to life—from the set of Bolt’s TV show to the back alleys of New York City to the Vegas Strip.

What makes Bolt so much fun, however, isn’t really the story—or even the stunning Disney animation. It’s the characters. The three cross-country traveling companions make for a motley little crew: the delusional dog who believes that he has a “super bark,” the street-smart bully with a dainty housecat name, and the overweight and overeager hamster who’s absolutely thrilled to be traveling with his hero.

In fact, as far as I’m concerned, Rhino alone makes the movie worth watching (over and over again). He’s always up for anything—and everything. Whether his friends need him to jump onto a moving train or harass a bunch of dogs at the pound, they’ll never have to ask twice. And when Bolt discovers that he doesn’t have powers after all—and he isn’t feeling especially super—Rhino’s boundless bravado encourages him to keep going. We should all be fortunate enough to have a friend like Rhino.

But Rhino’s more than just the group’s cheerleader; he’s also a major source of comic relief. And his geeky, fanboy-like enthusiasm is sure to keep audiences giggling whenever he’s onscreen.

So if you’re looking for some action-packed and laugh-filled entertainment that the whole family can enjoy, bolt out and check this one out.


Blu-ray 3D Review:
It’s no big surprise that Disney’s Bolt looks pretty cool in 3D—especially the action scenes from Bolt’s TV show (like the opening chase scene). Apart from those action sequences, though, the 3D probably isn’t really necessary.

Bolt is also one of those 3D releases that could have (and probably should have) come with an extra or two. A bonus 3D short would have been nice (maybe Super Rhino in 3D). But the disc doesn’t include any extras—not even a scene selection option. If you want extras, you’ll just have to switch out the 3D disc for the 2D Blu-ray, which comes complete with all of the features covered below.


Blu-ray / DVD Review:
In the words of Bolt’s over-eager sidekick, Rhino, the three-disc release of Disney’s Bolt is “fully awesome.” No matter what your preferred format (Blu-ray, DVD, or digital), you’ll find it here. So whether you’re watching on your Blu-ray player at home, in your car’s DVD player, or on your MP3 player on the train to work, you’ve got your bases covered. Really…it’s brilliant.

Extras include the hilarious new short, Super Rhino, a couple of deleted scenes, a confusing Blu-ray game, the “I Thought I Lost You” music video, a bunch of art galleries, and a handful of short making-of features. Aside from the Rhino short (which is an absolute must-see), the most entertaining extra is Act, Speak!, a short feature about the film’s voice talent—most notably Disney story artist Mark Walton, who totally freaks out on camera when he gets the part of Rhino.

While the film’s DVD release includes most of the same features, the three-disc Blu-ray release is still worth adding to your collection. Even if you don’t have a Blu-ray player yet, it means that someday, once you switch over, you’ll be able to watch Rhino in high-definition. And that alone makes it worth a few extra bucks.

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