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Reviewed on 2008-11-27
Received[3.5]  out of 4 stars
GenreAnimation / Comedy / Family / Fantasy
Disney magic is back with this exciting animated adventure that will win the hearts and minds of youngsters everywhere.

The title refers to an American white shepherd (voice of John Travolta), who is the headliner in a popular weekly television series. He has a lightning bolt insignia adorning his furry white body. Every episode involves a mission against the fiendish green-eyed villain Dr. Calico (Malcolm McDowell), who seeks world domination.

Bolt shows the loyalty characteristic of his breed by standing guard and protecting his red-headed owner/co-star Penny (16-year-old superstar Miley Cyrus from "Hannah Montana"). Bolt is able to save the day repeatedly by using a variety of super powers. He never leaves the Hollywood studio grounds and has his own mobile trailer.

This naÔve canine is oblivious to the difference between the make-believe world (when the cameras are rolling) and reality. A cliffhanger to-be-continued show leaves him confused. He accidentally ends up in a cardboard box that is shipped to New York City.

Bolt embarks on an emotional cross-country journey to return to Penny. He takes a stray alley cat named Mittens (Susie Essman from "Curb Your Enthusiasm") as his prisoner. Because she has green eyes, he believes she can lead him to Dr. Calicoís secret lair.

Mittens thinks Bolt is delusional and delivers the best wisecracking lines in the movie. She teaches Bolt how to beg for food and other things associated with being a regular animal. They are joined on their trek by a TV-obsessed, hero-worshipping hamster named Rhino (Mark Walton from "Chicken Little") who lives inside a plastic ball.

There are two sets of pigeons (a trio in NYC and a pair in LA) in the supporting cast that nearly steal the show in their brief appearances.

This clever story is entertaining and very funny. It will totally mesmerize the kiddies in the audience.

The animals only converse with each other and never talk directly to the human characters. The top-notch animation gives each cutely designed creation the expressive ability to move its eyes, ears and mouth. Every color in the crayon book is on display. The meticulous detail work makes the backgrounds look real. The lighting and crystal clear cinematography are additional strengths.

The running time of 95 minutes coincides perfectly with the attention span of a younger fan base. The big musical number "I Thought I Lost You" was written and performed by Cyrus.

A lot of credit for bringing these appealing new animated personalities to the screen belongs to the filmís executive producer, John Lasseter. Lasseter, Disney Animationís new chief creative officer, previously co-founded PIXAR and was Oscar-nominated for writing and directing the box office hits "Toy Story," "A Bugís Life," "Toy Story 2" and "Cars."

However, the best endorsement for this delightful movie came at the conclusion of the advance screening I attended when the audience erupted with a thunderous applause. Parents and grandparents planning a pre-Thanksgiving treat for the special children in their lives canít go wrong with this selection. This is one of the best animated films of 2008.

Disney Digital 3D is the preferred viewing format since it allows the characters to literally jump off the screen and into your lap. It is available in Johnson County exclusively at AMC Town Center 20.

Review By:
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"


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