Overall Impression — A solid piece of work, a lot of fun, but one which requires a willingness to overlook some underlying logic holes.


Who’s your main character? — Bolt.

What’s he trying to accomplish? — Professional: Get back to Hollywood.  Personal: Rescue Penny.  Private: Accept that he’s not a dog with super powers.

Who’s trying to stop him? — Various people and forces along the way, but there’s no one, clear antagonist.  In the “movie within the movie”, however, it’s the Green-Eyed Man who is the villain.

What happens if he fails? — At first he thinks that Penny is in danger, but eventually the stakes become that he and Penny will be separated.  .


Orphan — Bolt believes that Penny has been taken away from him, and in the process of trying to go after her gets knocked out and shipped to New York where he knows no one.

Wanderer — Bolt hooks up with Mittens the cat and forces her to help him.  On their travels they find Rhino the hamster who joins in Bolt’s mission to “save” Penny and make it back to Los Angeles.

Warrior — Bolt and Mittens are both captured by Animal Control.  Bolt escapes with the help of Rhino, and together they go and rescue Mittens so their journey can continue, even though Bolt now knows that he doesn’t really have super powers.  Freeing Mittens they eventually get back to Las Vegas.

Martyr — Bolt is willing to give up the new life Mittens imagines for them in Vegas in order to be with Penny.  He leaves for LA and Mittens and Rhino follow (giving up the bounty of Vegas for Bolt.)  Back in LA, Bolt risks his life to save Penny from a studio fire.


BOLT isn’t a bad movie, but it’s a familiar movie.  Borrowing from TOY STORY (Bolt is like Buzz Lightyear, a delusional character who thinks he’s really a pretend character) and TOY STORY 2 (Mittens is like Jesse, a once loved member of a household who was abandoned), Bolt returns to the well that Pixar dug so nicely.  The fact that this is the first movie to come out of John Lasseter’s tenure at Disney has to be more than just a coincidence.

Similarities aside, it’s got it’s own charm but the story feels like it runs out of steam along the way.  Ultimately, I think it’s because we understand that there’s really nothing at stake.  We know Penny isn’t in jeopardy, and unlike TOY STORY there’s no Sid around to really threaten our characters.

Too bad Disney didn’t borrow from that well, too.

NOTE OF CONDOLENCE — John Travolta, as usual, does a wonderful job voicing Bolt, and our deepest condolences got out to Mr. Travolta, his wife and family over the loss of his son, Jett.

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