Bolt (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital File)

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Rating: PG

Starring:
John Travolta as Bolt (voice)
Miley Cyrus as Penny (voice)
Susie Essman as Mittens (voice)
Mark Walton as Rhino (voice)
Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Calico (voice)
James Lipton as The Director (voice)
Greg Germann as The Agent (voice)
Diedrich Bader as Veteran Cat (voice)
Nick Swardson as Blake (voice)
J.P. Manoux as Tom (voice)
Dan Fogelman as Billy (voice)
Kari Wahlgren as Mindy (voice)
Chloe Moretz as Young Penny (voice)
Randy Savage as Thug (voice)
Ronn Moss as Dr. Forrester (voice)
Grey DeLisle as Penny’s Mom (voice)
Sean Donnellan as Penny’s TV Dad (voice)
Lino DiSalvo as Vinnie (voice)
Todd Cummings as Joey (voice)
Tim Mertens as Bobby (voice)
Kelly Hoover as Ester (voice)
Brian Stepanek as Martin (voice)
Jeff Bennett as Lloyd (voice)
Daran Norris as Louie (voice)
John Di Maggio as Saul (voice)

Special Features:
New Exclusive Animated “Super Rhino” Short Film

In Session With John Travolta And Miley Cyrus — Behind-The-Scenes Feature Music Video “I Thought I Lost You” Performed By Miley Cyrus And John Travolta

A New Breed Of Director: The Filmmakers’ Journey — A Look At The Movie From Conception To Completion

Deleted Scenes — With Optional Introductions By The Directors

Act, Speak! The Voices Of “Bolt” — Join The Voice Cast In Session
Creating The World Of “Bolt” — Discover How The Filmmakers Designed The Look Of The Film

Bolt’s Be-Awesome Mission Game

Bolt Art Gallery

Disney BD-Live

DisneyFile Digital Copy

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Languages
Running Time: 325 Minutes

The Movie:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Fully awesome! For the first time ever Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release ‘Bolt’ in high definition early as an exciting Blu-ray + DVD + Digital File combo on Sunday, March 22, 2009. Two days following, the standard DVD versions will be available on Tuesday, March 24, 2009. Plus, the DVD 2-disc Deluxe Edition and BD 3-Disc both include a special ‘DisneyFile’ Digital Copy of the movie — enabling DVD and Blu-ray owners to receive a digital version of Walt Disney Pictures´ ‘Bolt’ in their choice of iTunes or Windows Media formats for the fan on the go! ‘Bolt’ is jam-packed with fully awesome bonus features including ‘Super Rhino,’ a new exclusive short film starring Bolt´s biggest fan!

Nominated for two Golden Globe Awards for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song (‘I Thought I Lost You’), ‘Bolt’ features the voices of Academy Award® nominee John Travolta as Bolt, the wonder dog and Miley Cyrus (“Hannah Montana”) as Penny, his ‘person.’ The stellar voice cast also includes Susie Essman (‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’), Mark Walton, Malcolm McDowell (‘Heroes’) and James Lipton (‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’). ‘Bolt’ was also produced by Pixar co-founder and CGI pioneer John Lasseter (director of ‘Toy Story,’ ‘A Bug’s Life’ and ‘Cars’).

‘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 sidekicks Rhino (voiced by Mark Walton)–Bolt’s #1 Fan–and a street-smart cat named Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman), Bolt sets off on an amazing journey where he discovers he doesn´t need super powers to be a hero.”

“Bolt” is rated PG for some mild action and peril.

The Movie:
“Bolt” starts out as an action film as we’re treated to the TV show world. Penny and Bolt are attacked by a variety of goons in helicopters, on motorcycles, and other stuff. The opening scene is as exciting and imaginative as anything in a James Bond flick. You start wondering, “How can they top this?” as Bolt is thrown into the real world. It’s at this point that the movie switches gears and turns from action to comedy. Fortunately, the comedy is just as strong as the action.

I was impressed how practically every new character that was introduced along the way brought an entertaining piece to the story. A couple of cats (one voiced by Diedrich Bader) amusingly harass Bolt in his trailer. In New York, Bolt encounters a funny group of pigeons that are perfectly animated like real world pigeons. When we meet Mittens, her exasperation and dismay at Bolt’s high levels of crazy brings a lot of laughs. But the real show stealer is the hamster Rhino who is voiced by Mark Walton. He brings the house down and the character’s introduction alone takes the movie to another level. Rhino’s uber-fanboy persona and can-do attitude is hilarious. How can you not crack up when a hamster in a ball does a maniacal laugh or offers to snap a man’s neck? Rhino might be able to carry a movie on his own.

The supporting cast is so strong that Bolt is almost relegated to the role of straight man. John Travolta does a fine job as Bolt and gives the character a sympathetic and earnest tone. Miley Cyrus is also good as Penny, but she’s not in the movie all that much. Where the two really shine is in the song they sing together in the closing credits. “I Thought I Lost You” features the teen pop starlet and the “Grease” superstar singing together in a nice duet that the two apparently actually wrote together. But as far as voice performances go, Susie Essman really stands out as Mittens. She’s funny, sassy, and a great heroine. Essman really brings the character to life.

The animators do a really great job with the performances of the CG characters. A standout scene is when Mittens is teaching Bolt how to beg for food. By giving him little instructions here and there (“Ears down! Head tilted!”), Bolt goes from a neutral facial expression to an all out “I’m cute, feed me” look right before your eyes. That scene should be required viewing for any aspiring animator. The subtle touches with body motions and facial expressions are apparent through the rest of the film.

The only times “Bolt” really stalled were whenever the film went ‘Hollywood.’ By that I mean scenes where the director goes on a long monologue about dog ‘method acting’ or any scene with Penny’s slimy agent. Whenever the camera diverts away from the animals and onto the humans, the pacing seemed to slow down. Other than that I have no real complaints about “Bolt.”

“Bolt” was a fun film. I’d recommend it not just for families but anyone that enjoys comedies or animation. This is not just a kid’s movie.

The Extras:
First off, this set comes with a Blu-ray Disc, a DVD copy, and a digital copy. That’s cool, but honestly if I’m already watching Blu-ray, I’m not planning on taking a step back to DVD. I guess my kids can use it on older players, but I didn’t really need the DVD disc.

As for the other bonus features, the undisputed highlight is the short film “Super Rhino”. In it, we see Rhino dreaming that he’s on the Bolt TV show and is given super powers to defeat Dr. Calico. It’s funny to see him race in his ball at super speed, shoot lasers from his eyes, and unleash his super-squeak. He even manages to throw in a brief Hannah Montana parody. Unfortunately it’s over all too fast. Let’s see some more Rhino, Disney!

You’ll also find the “I Thought I Lost You” music video with Miley Cyrus and John Travolta, an art gallery, and some making-of featurettes. There are two deleted scenes, one of which is rather dark as it shows Bolt being mauled by two other dogs (think Clark Kent being beat up in “Superman 2″). You’ll find a Bolt game for kiddies called ” Bolt’s Be-Awesome Mission”. I had a hard time controlling the Bolt character in it. But another highlight for me was “Creating the World of ‘Bolt’” which shows how they gave the backgrounds painted looks and based the lighting on New York, Las Vegas, LA, and Ohio. It sounds dull, but when you see it you certainly gain a greater appreciation for the animation.

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