A "Bolt" of cute humor

Nov. 24, 2008, midnight | By Rose Wynn | 11 years, 11 months ago

Animated sweet adventure tale is complete with wonted Disney charm

We can always count on Disney to produce a sweetly unique storyline complete with lovable and funny characters. In this bolt of delightful comedy, directors Chris Williams and Byron Howard take audiences on a fun adventure complemented by tender friendships, life lessons and a simplistic charm that is sure to light up movie goers everywhere.

Attackers zooming in from every direction. An evil man with a green eye. Thousands of his accomplices clad in protective gear. An innocent girl in danger. These are the aspects of on-screen life for Bolt (voiced by John Travolta), an extremely loyal and protective canine who would do anything to defend his owner, Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus). His priority is to keep Penny safe, using his super powers to fling, destroy and subdue enemies in every direction. This world of staged danger and intense action means everything to Bolt, but he doesn't realize that the battles are only on-screen, his super powers only special effects. When an unexpected mix-up lands him on the streets of New York, thousands of miles away from his exciting Hollywood home, he realizes that his powers seem to have disappeared.

A confused but determined Bolt forces Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman), a gruff and scrawny alley cat who exudes calm authority, to lead him to Penny's location, although Mittens is unsure of where that may be. Before long, another cohort joins the two companions in their hitchhiking journey across the country. Rhino the hamster (voiced by Mark Walton), a cheerily chubby and avid fan of Bolt's show whose excitement and admiration for Bolt expands far beyond the plastic confines of the ball he rolls in, is ecstatic to accompany the two. While Bolt copes with the realization of his false powers, the three companions outsmart Animal Control, share heartfelt experiences and engage in many fun escapades in their quest to find Penny.

Spotted with sincere exchanges and sensitive moments, "Bolt" is a fun ride for young movie goers and Disney adventure enthusiasts. Cyrus is appropriately genuine and sweet as Penny, while Travolta hits the nail on the head with his strong voice, effectively portraying Bolt's concern for Penny's safety. Rhino's nerdy enthusiasm, hilariously portrayed through Walton's varying voices, sparks laughs.

The movie features adorable animation that convincingly captures Bolt's deft maneuvers, Mittens' haughty swagger and Rhino's hurried scampering. Especially during gripping action scenes on set, the animation keeps audiences engrossed as Bolt narrowly escapes his enemies aboard their weaving motorcycles.

As is characteristic of many Disney films, flashes of humor strike throughout the charming tale. Many of Rhino's one-liners are chuckle-worthy, as is his matter-of-fact narration during action scenes, such as "Initiating escape!" and "Threat nullified!" Comedic sequences such as Mittens's attempt to indoctrinate appropriate dog behavior into the clueless Bolt keep a smile on the audiences' faces.

Clearly defined characters also provide humor. Penny's agent, an egotistical and inconsiderate man, seems to care more about fame than Bolt's disappearance. Mittens' wry comments also amusingly offset Rhino's eager enthusiasm, while pigeons periodically appear during the journey to offer comically simple-minded input. Bolt shines as the ultimate best friend, being both caring and devoted.

Admittedly, the film is occasionally cheesy, which is to be expected from Disney flicks. But the tender moments, simplistic charm, original storyline, loveable characters and silly fun significantly overpower its faults. "Bolt" carries the audience through a lightning-paced adventure complete with laughable characters, creative plot twists and valuable lessons about friendships and priorities.

"Bolt" (96 minutes) is rated PG for some mild action and peril. Now playing everywhere.

Rose Wynn. I love piña coladas, getting caught in the rain and the ladies of the Blair Pom Squad. More »

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