Cover of "Bolt (Single-Disc Edition)"

Cover of Bolt (Single-Disc Edition)

I watch for those awesome films from Disney.  Whenever I have gone to see one in the theater, it makes me laugh, smile, and maybe even cry.  All the rest of the movie industry has YET to catch up with Disney.  Disney = magic!  That’s what they do, and they do it very, very well! So, earlier this year I saw a film advertised called “Bolt”, and boy, did I get excited!  Maybe it was the hamster and the line “I’ll get my ball!” that struck me as humorous?  I don’t know for certain, but I couldn’t help but pay attention to this movie’s release date.

Sadly, I was a little disappointed.

Let me say this: “Bolt” is a great story and a unique one at that.  Disney’s take on the whole animal-actor-believes-movie-is-reality was rather inspired.  However, it is what they did not seize on that made this film not so awesome.  There was a lot of humor that they lost out on.

The title character is voiced by John Travolta and his talent works well with this type of film.  Bolt thinks his movie life is reality, and in his movie life he is a super-powered dog.  That alone creates a lot humor.  Travolta does a fine job with Bolt’s attitude towards cats in this film, but there was a lot of missed opportunity to present a plethora of dog-jokes.  I understand that you can’t fit everything in there, but there wasn’t even a classic scene involving a fire hydrant!  At the very least, that could have been something.

The pop star sensation Miley Cyrus plays the role of Bolt’s human counterpart named Penny.  Anyone could have been Penny, so there isn’t anything really to comment on the role.  The role of Rhino the hamster is voiced by the wonderful Mark Walton.  Rhino is the real humor of the movie as a main character.  The overweight hamster is a positive delight!  Lastly, the role of Bolt’s captive feline, Mittens, is voiced by Susie Essman.  I didn’t recognize Essman’s name in the credits so I had to learn more about her.  If you were ever a fan of the show Crank Yankers, she may sound familiar.  She shines as Mittens, odd as that may sound.  Mittens has great lines and you can tell Essman has great comedic timing.

There were a lot of good laughs in this film, and anything involving dogs in an animation film usually gets me smiling.  However, Bolt could have done a LOT more with this.  It is almost as though the film had too short of a span to tell its tale.  I know that the film was overhauled from a previous treatment of the story, dating all the way back to 2005.  From what I understand, the story was radically changed.  Given that fact, maybe that was a huge reason behind this perceived lack of laughs.  Maybe I just expected more from it in that department?

I write this review to simply state the obvious: this is not the family film you may want to see.  If you want to see a good laugh fest of a movie, go see “Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa” instead.  It is truly the funnier of the two films.

…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE


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