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Bolt (2008)

Bolt. Feature film. (2008, 96 mins) IMDB

...a fun animation film...

B

olt, a puppy, sits in a cage in a pet store when Penny, a young girl, picks him out of the batch. She adores her new puppy. Her father, a scientist, applies his knowledge to the dog to create a superdog whose job is to protect Penny from the evil Green-Eyed man and his henchmen.

It's a story within a story where Penny and Bolt and the rest are actors for an action TV series except for one thing. Bolt doesn't know he's a character on a TV show. To stay in character, the production is designed so he doesn't know what is truly happening. He thinks he has a superbark. He thinks he has laser visions and can cut metal with it. He thinks he can ram a speeding car and stop it dead. He believes it because the production team makes him believe it.

That's the setup and it was a fun setup because it's filled with animated action as if Ridley Scott was helming Black Hawk Down.

The story takes flight when he accidentally is shipped off to NYC and no longer has Penny or anyone around him. He's a lost soul.

Once he realizes he's not where he's supposed to be, his mission is to return to LA because he feels it's his duty to protect penny.

Along the way he meets a cynical alley cat who knows he's not a superdog, but anything she says goes right in and comes right out.

The third person of this trio is Rhino the hamster. He's a big fan of the TV show, dimwitted and doesn't understand Bolt can't do the things in real life that he does on the show. He believes Bolt is a superdog.

This dichotomy between what he can and can't do and what the three believe about it creates some of the humour in the film. The story on folds in such a way that the cat was right all along, the hamster is right all along, but the dog realizes he just another dog.

They journey west to LA and the film becomes a road trip where they search for food, get captured by the pound and other such things. They are a team because Bolt forces the cat to come along and the hamster is such a fan he would do anything for Bolt.

Eventually the cat leaves when the two have a fight. The fight is about accepting who you are. She thinks it isn't bad for a dog to be an ordinary dog. Nor does she understand the need for him to get back to Penny. Act II is over.

Bolt and Rhino make it to LA and to the studio where he used to live, but to his dismay he finds Penny loves this new dog that looks just like him. The replacement Bolt. He's dejected. Maybe that's the end of Act II. Could be.

But all is not lost. She was acting when she said those word to the new Bolt. Plus when it's time for thge new Bolt to be the hero in a production, he whimpers away and can't do it. It gets worse for the production. An accident results in a fire. Here comes the big climax. The fire rages out of control. Penny is caught inside a burning building, but Bolt comes to save the day. He's a hero protecting Penny after all and he didn't have any superpowers to do so.

Like so many animation movies, this one is fun and enjoyable. I didn't cringe once.

Posted 2009/05/28 at 19h06ET in Movie Commentary.

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