Combustible Celluloid
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With: (voices) John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman, Mark Walton, Malcolm McDowell, James Lipton, Greg Germann, Diedrich Bader, Nick Swardson, J.P. Manoux, Dan Fogelman, Kari Wahlgren, Chloe Moretz, Randy Savage, Ronn Moss
Written by: Dan Fogelman, Chris Williams
Directed by: Byron Howard, Chris Williams
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild action and peril
Running Time: 96
Date: 11/17/2008

Bolt (2008)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Best Friend

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

John Travolta's earnest, gentle voice performance as the title character goes a long way in making this Disney animated feature a winner. Bolt is a canine TV star who doesn't know he's in a TV show. The director wants a realistic performance from the pooch, and so Bolt thinks he spends all his time actually rescuing his human, Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus) from a sinister, green-eyed bad guy (voiced by Malcolm McDowell). After filming part one of a cliffhanger episode, which ends with Penny getting kidnapped, Bolt escapes to try to rescue her. Unfortunately, a small mishap causes him to be shipped all the way across the country, to New York. He enlists the aid of a reluctant, streetwise cat, Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman) and a goofy hamster (in a plastic ball) (voiced by Mark Walton) to get back to Hollywood and find the secret, "evil lair." Directed by Byron Howard and Chris Williams -- both Disney staffers making their directorial debut -- Bolt moves very fast, which helps to smooth over some of the predictable, sentimental themes, although it may be too fast for young viewers. For older viewers, the animation looks terrific, and like last summer's Kung Fu Panda, the action is gorgeously clear. Travolta joins Cyrus for a closing credit duet, "I Thought I Lost You."

DVD Details: Disney has released Bolt on a special three-disc hybrid edition. The first disc is a Blu-Ray, the second is a DVD, and the third contains a "digital copy" for your computer, iPod or iPhone. Extras include a music video, some "deleted scenes," a new short film starring Rhino, interviews, and other stuff.

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