Ok, this is one of my favorite movies, and we borrowed it from a friend to watch and review it. Mom isn't as crazy about it as I am due to the sarcasm of the cat, but she does admit it does have lots of good to it. With no further ado, let's get down to reviewin.
Bolt is a super dog, plain and simple. With heat vision that can vaporize metal, a super bark that cause an earthquake, a head strong enough to smash a moving car, Bolt is as tough as they come. He and his "person", Penny, are on a mission to save Penny's father from the evil Doctor Calico, who has captured him to get him to release his scientific data that he has discovered.
Bolt defies every attempt of the evil doctor to capture Penny so he can use her as a tool to get her father to "spill his guts" as he puts it. Bolt is dedicated to protecting his precious Penny from harm.
There's only one problem.
Bolt isn't a super dog. He's actually a normal dog playing in a TV show, where the entire story of Calico, Penny, and the scientist, are all parts of the show, and Bolt is the super hero. The problem lies in that he doesn't know it. He thinks the whole story is real. Everything in the show is arranged around the fact that he thinks he is super and his Penny is in danger, so everything and everybody jimmys the set so it seems like his powers are real. If he knew for a moment his Penny wasn't in danger, he wouldn't act as well, so the entire crew is doing back-flips to keep him from knowing.
So, after a twist in the show where Penny is captured, Bolt makes a break out of the trailer where he lives, in an attempt to find and rescue Penny, he is accidentally shipped clear across the country when he knocks himself out trying to jump through a window, and falls into a packing box.
So, Bolt is tearing around in New York City trying to find his beloved girl.
Part of the story on the TV show was that there was an evil cat with evil Doctor Calico, so Bolt is convinced all cats are evil. He captures a cat and forces her to show him the way to Penny, since of course, as a cat, she is in league with the dark side and knows where Penny is. The poor cat, in an attempt to get the crazy dog off her back, picks up a clue from his collar tag which says "Hollywood, Ca." and tells Bolt he has to get back to California to get home and find Penny. Bolt changes the the poor alley cat's life forever by forcing her to show him the way. The poor cat is drug along across the country, where they join up with a gung-ho Hamster who is the #1 fan of Bolt, and is convinced that he is a super hero as well.
As he travels across the country Bolt finally realizes that he isn't super, and has to learn and enjoy the dog life. Eventually he makes it back home, saves Penny in real life from a studio fire, and he, Rhino, Mittens the cat, and Penny and her Mom, retire from the movie carrier and settle down to a home life.
Bolt is a Hero, and in terms of humans, is a true man. He selflessly defends his Girl, is brave in all odds, does not back down when confronted with evil. He is true to his girl, even after the cat tries to convince him that humans really don't love their pets and everything they say about loyalty to their pets is fake. Truly a hero who sticks to his convictions. He accepts who he is in life, and embraces his role. Also, even after finding out he isn't super, he is still willing to do brave deeds to save the cat from the animal catchers.
Rhino is an excellent example of being excited in the adventure of life. Granted, he's excited because he thinks it's another adventure like the ones he sees on TV, but he still is gung-ho all the way on everything he does. A great example of doing everything we do with everything we got.
The cat, who is burned about her past with humans, eventually forgives the past and lives with Bolt and his human family.
The worldview is surprisingly good. There is a pivotal scene in the movie, that makes the entire thrust. Bolt has now realized he is no longer super, and asks the cat the question we all ask at one point or another.
"If I don't chase bad guys.... What am I?"
He is asking the ultimate question of identity. He is like everybody in the world, who on realizing they are living a life that doesn't work, and everything they knew as real, isn't real, has to face the reality of who they are and who God is. He then goes on to learn how to play fetch, bury bones, play with other dogs, stick his head out the window of a moving car with his tongue out etc. The best part about it is, he loves it! It may not be the exciting, hear-breadth escape life he lived before, but he is a dog, and lives the life he is designed to live, and enjoys his God given slot in life. He accepts what he is, what is supposed to be, and enjoys every bit of it.
The Whole thrust to the movie is two-fold. First, you don't have to something special to be somebody's hero. Second, be happy with who you are, and enjoy your life doing what you were meant to do. This has incredible Biblical truth behind it. God never used the biggest and strongest guys to work his will, but used the small things to confound the wise. He also wants us to not be discontent with who we want to be, and settle for who he made us as. Granted, we are never to be content with sin, but our personality is uniquely given us by God, and we are to recognize that, and enjoy where God has us in life and enjoy what he has given us in life.
The animation is great. While I hear its not up to Pixar's standards, its still the best animated movie I have ever seen.
The Bad: Some of the humor is slapstick, the cat is sarcastic for most of the movie, and Rhino is so Gung-ho it sometimes is over-dramatic (but hey, that's Rhino).
One slightly crude scene.
The biggest downside to this movie is the amount of humor. I know for our family, we have to be careful of humor, because we tend to repeat the funny lines for a while, laughing about every twist in the movie.
So, if your family can handle the humor, I heartily recommend this movie.
Overall, I rate it at 4 stars. The one star out is because the amount of humor can be a turnoff for some families.