Bolt [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - America - Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (6th April 2009).
The Film

"Bolt" stars the voicing talents of Miley Cyrus and John Travolta, and I have to be honest, I never thought I'd say I enjoyed a film with either of these two in it. Travolta has done some good work but his recent films of late have been rather lackluster, and Cyrus just doesn't make it onto my radar because I don't the description of her demographic. Thankfully what adds to my enjoyment of the film was it's animated nature and that all the voice actors did a relatively good job of bringing life to the characters. "Bolt" was a fun time and a pleasant surprise.

"Bolt" tells the story of a superhero dog of the same name (voiced by John Travolta), Bolt is only a superhero on television as he's the star of a hit show. The only problem is that Bolt truly believes he's a hero. One day he is accidentally boxed and shipped to New York, Bolt thinks he's been kidnapped and sent to an unknown location and must find his way back to his owner Penny (Miley Cyrus), the only problem is Bolt's super powers he has one the show don't seem to work anymore and he must find his way back on his own accord with the help of a few friends he picks up along the way.

The voice acting from all involved is lively and engaging, you can easily tell the cast is enthusiastic about these characters and the story from the overall light and playful tone of the delivery. And I'm sure the animators took a cue from their recordings and added the actor's personality to the characters. If anything Disney are the masters of humanizing animated characters from unique facial expressions to capturing character traits.

Speaking of the animation, it's flawless and the character styles evoke a sense of fun that's been missing from recent Disney films like "Treasure Planet" (2002), "Brother Bear" (2003) among others. With those later animated films it seemed like Disney had lost their direction but with John Lassater now in charge the studio seems to be finding their rhythm again and going back to wondrous and engaging stories with memorable characters. What I liked most about the the film was that it's light and has enough to entertain both kids and adults.

While "Bolt" may not be on par with the Pixar bunch, it still holds up as a decent Disney entry and helps to return the company back to its former glory. It's a standard fish out of water story with some gags that follow that template, so there's nothing new here in that sense, but the film is charming and worth watching.

Video

The film's transfer is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and in high-definition 1080p 24/fps with AVC MPEG-4 compression. Being a CGI animated film the transfer was created from the film's original HD digital source. The result is a crystal clear image that's sharp and incredibly detailed. The image is clean of any flaws such as dirt and specks (which is due to the fact its transferred from the digital source), the colors are vibrant and bold and certainly make an impression on the viewer. I also found the animation to be of a high standard, you can virtually count the strands of fur on Bolt from the pristine look of the image.

Audio

Disney has released this film with two audio tracks in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround mixed at 48kHz/24-bit as well as a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. For the purposes of this review I chose to view the film with its DTS-HD track. Much like the image the audio is equally impressive, it's engaging, active and occasionally aggressive. The sound mix is rich and this sound track presents it accurately and with a sense of immersion that's expected from such a recent film. Ambient sounds are subtle and well mixed, dialogue is clear, music soars through the channels, overall it's a fantastic audio mix.
Optional subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired and Spanish.

Extras

Disney has released this film as a 3-disc set, which features the Blu-ray edition, a DVD edition and a digital copy of the film along with extras that include a short film, a couple of deleted scenes, a series of 4 featurettes, a music video, an interactive game, 4 photo galleries and a collection of bonus trailers. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

DISC ONE:

This disc included "Super Rhino" a short film that runs for 4 minutes 27 seconds. The character Rhino (Mark Watson) the hamster gets his own little adventure in this neat little film.

Next up are 2 deleted scenes, both scenes come with an introduction by the film's directors Byron Howard and Chris Williams, the total run time for these scenes is 6 minutes 37 seconds and they include:

- "Dog Fight in Vegas" basically this scene didn't get past the storyboard stage, here Bolt finds out his powers don't work.
- "River Sequence" Also in storyboard stage and is another scene where Bolt learns is powers don't work.

"A New Breed of Directors: The Filmmakers’ Journey" featurette runs for 4 minutes 33 seconds, this short clip is an introduction to the film's two directors. We learn about their backgrounds at Disney and the films they worked on as well as this being their first feature film. It's a neat clip that provides some background on the two filmmakers but is too short.

"Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt" is the next featurette which runs for 9 minutes 47 seconds and is my favorite clip on this disc as we get a behind-the-scenes look at the voice recording process. This provides fans a chance to see the process unfold and features some interviews and plenty of footage from the recording sessions.

"Creating the World of Bolt" featurette runs for 6 minutes 47 seconds, this clip takes a closer look at the animation design process mixing CGI methods with traditional backgrounds. The filmmakers take us through the aesthetic of the film and provide another great behind-the-scenes look at the process for fans.

"In Session: With John Travolta and Miley Cyrus" is the last featurette and runs only for 1 minute. Basically the two talk about collaborating on a song for the film.

"I Thought I Lost You" is the music video of the song in which the two actors collaborated on, it's a fairly standard video clip and runs for 1 minute 46 seconds.

Following that is "Bolt’s Be-Awesome Mission" this is an interactive game, you can use your remote to navigate Bolt through a series of adventures. It's a big slow in its reaction time and also gets boring rather quickly.

Disney has provides 4 photo galleries that cover various stages of the design and animation process, they include:

- "Character Design" which features artwork of the various characters from the film.
- "Color Script" Color illustrations from the film.
- "Animation Storyboards" is a series of boards created for key sequences in the film.
- "Visual Development" are more image from the design of the film.

There are a series of bonus trailers for:

- "Disney Blu-ray" spot
- "Monsters, Inc."
- "Tinker Bell and The Lost Treasure"
- "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
- "The Princess and the Frog"
- "Bedtime Stories"
- "Disney XD"

This disc includes some Blu-ray exclusive extras by way of BD-Live features for profile 2.0 players only, these online extras include:

- "Movie Chat" which allows you to chat online with other viewers as you watch the film.
- "Movie Mail" create messages sent via a mail function to pop-up over the film.
- "Movie Challenge" trivia game, features some pop-up questions while the film plays.
- "Disney Movie Rewards Live" is a portal that takes you to an online shop to redeem your acquired points.

The film is also D-Box enabled for those that have the capability.

DISC TWO:

This second disc is a DVD version of the film and includes a lot of the same extras from the Blu-ray as listed above.

The extras on this disc include the 2 deleted scenes, the "A New Breed of Directors: The Filmmakers’ Journey" featurette, "Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt" featurette, "Creating the World of Bolt" featurette and the "In Session: With John Travolta and Miley Cyrus" featurette. Also featured is the music video for "I Thought I Lost You" the "Super Rhino" short film and finally bonus trailers for:

- "Disney" promo spot
- "The Princess and the Frog"
- "Lilo & Stitch"
- "Bedtime Stories"
- "Disney Blu-ray" spot
- "Disney Movie Rewards"
- "Schoolhouse Rock!"
- "Earth"
- "Monsters, Inc."
- "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
- "The Black Cauldron"
- "Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure"
- "Disney Channel's Princess Protection Program"
- "Disney XD"

DISC THREE:

Is the digital copy of the film for portable devices.

Packaging

This 3-disc set is packaged in a deluxe Blu-ray case housed in a cardboard slip-case.

Overall

The Film: B+ Video: A+ Audio: A+ Extras: B Overall: B+

 


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