By Pam Swartz
For any movie to be successful, the story has to be compelling, and be able to stand-alone before considering adding any sort of 3D element. This point is crucial if the new 3D revolution in Hollywood is to continue being successful. Disney has definitely gotten this equation right with their latest offering, Bolt.
Bolt is the canine star of a weekly TV show in Hollywood. He has incredible strength and dexterity. Bolt can burn fiery holes in brick walls just by staring at them with his extraordinary eyes. He can bend steel bars easily, and knock humans unconscious all with the mere tap of his paw. At the core of his powers is his super bark. His super bark is capable of turning over cars, making airplanes crash and blowing things up.
In every episode of his show, Bolt (John Travolta), saves his much-loved “person”, Penny (Miley Cyrus), from the menacing Dr. Calico (Malcolm McDowell). The show is a huge hit, but Bolt is the only one who doesn’t know that it isn’t reality. He has spent his entire life acting on the show, and everyone involved works hard to keep the sham going. Even Bolt’s feline co-stars take turns taunting him with false warnings of danger long after shooting is finished.
Penny hates what is being done to Bolt. She continually asks to take him home from the studio, but is denied for the sake of protecting the TV show.
One day after filming a scene that leaves Penny in a dangerous cliffhanger, Bolt escapes from his trailer and goes on a mission to save her. In the process, he ends up on the East Coast, lost and alone in New York City.
Believing that someone has sabotaged his powers, Bolt is determined to save Penny, and sets out on a cross-country journey to find her. Along the way he teams up with Mittens, a scrawny street cat with attitude, voiced by Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Susie Essman, and Rhino the hamster, hilariously voiced by Mark Walton.
All of the animal characters are enjoyable to watch, but Rhino the hamster definitely steals the show. This plump, celebrity loving hamster lives in a trailer park and spends his days watching television (which Rhino calls a magic box) in his plastic ball. He idolizes Bolt, whose TV show he has seen one too many times.
The 3D in this movie works seamlessly by offering a comfortable experience that few will find fault with.
Unlike other films which can be criticized for using 3D as a gimmicky feature, Bolt is a shining example of how the technology can enhance the story without distracting from it. If objects protrude outside the screen space, it’s because it is natural for them to do so.
3D naysayers will immediately see the benefit of this technology when they experience the first chase sequence with Bolt and Penny. Or appreciate the plumpness of a certain hamster in a plastic ball.
I firmly believe that if the 3D movement is going to continue to grow audiences, the movies that make use of this technology have to be entertaining and story driven. Bolt is a working example of how a well-written movie can utilize 3D technology to make it even more enjoyable.
Bolt is a thoroughly charming movie that will appeal to all audiences. I am also pleased to report that no animals were harmed during the making of this movie.
MTBS Rating: 8.5/10