Film Review: Bolt

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Much has been made of Bolt being a new start for Disney Animation as it seeks to recover lost ground to Dreamworks and Pixar.

I'm a huge fan of Pixar's work yet Bolt fails to enchant viewers of all ages. Clearly it will interest the kids below the teen bracket. The main character being a dog lacks the charisma or depth of his two main sidekicks, who often steal the scenes on a regular basis. Even pigeons do a better job than the superhero doggie.

Bolt kicks off with an electric opening sequence. What a great television show it would be with a sizeable budget. The premise of keeping the dog out of the loop feels a poor dynamic to set up the rest of the tale. New York is whisked away, with the main duo setting out on a road trip that brought back memories of Pixar's Cars (which by the way has a Japan short before the main film). The final target of Hollywood sets up the grand finale.

At just over 100 minutes Bolt romps along quite nicely, yet looking back there are few highlights that I can really pick out. Only a few laughs from myself, and even the kids around us were surprisingly timid. The film fails to work on all levels, yet still represents a decent punt for the hard pressed during the February school break. Just don't go in expecting greatness or Pixar averageness. This may be a new start for the Disney Animation Studios, but they have a great deal of work ahead of them.

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