Bolt

Starring (the voices of) John Travolta and Miley Cyrus. Directed by Byron Howard and Chris Williams. In cinemas from February 6.

Starring (the voices of) John Travolta and Miley Cyrus. Directed by Byron Howard and Chris Williams. In cinemas from February 6.

My thoughts before

A new Disney animation from the director of Chicken Little - just what I've been waiting for! I saw some brief pictures and the poster for this and, I've got to admit, I've not been terribly excited at all for it. But, unlike most, I'm not really excited by any CGI animation unless it has the seal of quality by the Pixar group. And Bolt does not.

The genius of Wall-E surpassed any CGI movie I have seen and was a piece of art that touched old and young alike. Pixar has that quality. I've seen Shrek, yes, and although really good and charming it (and it's subsequent sequels) didn't have that timeless quality Pixar animations seem to have (a reliance on pop culture jokes doesn't help though).


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The only one that came close, and only because it had consistent laughs all the way through, was the underappreciated Horton Hears A Who a couple of years ago.

That gave me hope for CGI movies that didn't have the Pixar logo implanted across it. But, hey, maybe I'm a cynic.

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I'm not expecting great things, a few laughs and a childish message tacked on. But who knows, it could surprise... just a tale about a talking dog, with the voice of John Travolta, doesn't leave a huge amount to be desired.

Afterwards

Ok, I was wrong.

It had its flaws, of course. The animation was stunning but not as charming as other similar movies and it kind of dragged in the middle. It had some cracking one-liners but it also had structure problems as it crept along. It was, just about, the perfect length but also could have done with bits more here and a bit less there.

But, yes, overall it was pretty great. It had the references to a tee: from The Matrix to Indiana Jones... and even a brilliant reference to an old 1950s episode of The Twilight Zone. Plus, the humour is pretty spot on across the board.

The story is pretty run-of-the-mill - dog that thinks he is a superhero, forced to travel across America (I know, a rarity!) and find his owner - but the laugh-out-loud script drags it through to a pretty decent conclusion.

The little things I liked too; check out the beautiful traditionally-animated backgrounds and the awesome hamster character that actually deterred from the generic rejected cat character. Some of the set pieces were quite cool too (but nothing spectacular).

The biggest draw by far is the dialogue though; it's fresh, it's current, it's clever at times and it's constantly funny. It's not got the classic quality of Wall-E, of course, but it is very watchable.

Yes, it surpassed my anticipation. It really is a decent one to take the kids to, but to be honest... well... it's not a bad one to see on your own either.

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