Saturday, November 22, 2008
Blue Sky Disney Review: Bolt
Sorry about the lateness of the review, I've been running around and living in the real world.
When it comes to "Bolt", many of you know it's taken a long winding road to the screen. There have been fans that have had their aspirations and hearts broken along the way. When I saw the film last week I had high hopes for it. I will admit that Chris Sanders designs were more appealing, but everything I've heard about this project told me that that was the only thing appealing about his version. As I said, I've trusted John Lasseter because up till now he's not let me down. And he really seems to know how to keep the audience interested.
He still does.
Bolt is a road picture, but it starts off in another world to establish this. I won't go into the details of the story because if you've seen the trailer then you know the premise. But you haven't seen the heart. This story has the warmth and attention that has been missing from Disney animation for a decade now. It's kind of ironic that the last Disney animated film to have this much heart was also the product of Sanders. Yes, "Lilo and Stitch" was the last animated film I thought was totally worthy of the Disney moniker. Not there haven't been attempts made, but all of them have faltered in one way or another. This is the first one in a long time to remind me why I like Disney and why their animation stirs my emotions.
I'm not a big fan of John Travolta, I don't have any hate for him like some of you, but other than "Pulp Fiction" and "Saturday Night Fever," I've just never took much of an interest in his work. I know he sounds familiar in the role, but very quickly I forgot it was him. The character seemed real to me, but the secondary characters were even more so. This is trademark at Pixar that Lasseter has wisely brought over to WDAS. The character of Rhino and surprisingly Mittens truly shine in this film. Unlike films I wanted to love like "Atlantis," these characters actually engage me and don't seem to be thrown in because someone said: "We need a cute little girl that's tough." Of all the voices, the one that kept bringing me out of the film a bit, was Miley Cyrus. She does a good job, but her recognizable voice would bring images of the Disney Channel from time to time. Don't worry, she's not in it that much. This is a road picture, remember?
I felt that the back stories and the depth of emotional involvement in the film were a great welcome from what I've had to endure(Chicken Little, Home on the Range, ect.) for most of the last decade. This is a story that kids and adults can enjoy just as much as a couple out for a date movie. It's not a film that talks down to you. It doesn't try to be hip like certain films from a former Disney Animation Head. It just tells you a compelling story that is worth watching, worth spending money on and most of all, worthy of being called Disney.
Chris Williams and Byron Howard have a great future at the Hat Building. They're clearly very talented storytellers and knowing that half of that team is working on getting "Rapunzel" fixed and ready for 2010 is a comforting feeling. I've not heard what Williams is doing next but excitedly look forward to whatever he's working on.
Look, some of you are dead set against going to see this simply because of your feelings about Chris Sanders. Others may not feel that it's very interesting from the trailers. But all I can do is offer my opinion on the matter. If you choose not to go see it, you're missing out on something special. You're missing out on the rebirth of Disney animation being relevant again. You're missing out on the first animated film from the Mouse that hasn't made you feel like you were being taken for a patsy for just going to see something because it had the name Disney on it. Lastly, you're missing out on a great time at the movies. When I see movies, it's rare that the audience claps and cheers at the end. That usually happens only at Pixar films. Both times I've seen it they cheered. Both times the audience sat in their seats to watch the credits. The show last night had many children there with their parents watching a bunch of boring credits scroll by. Giggling and smiling. I watched one mother walk her child out as he asked if he could see it again...
She nodded her head and said; "Tomorrow." I smiled realizing that Disney had hit the bulls eye if this is the kind of response they'd be getting from both adults and kids. A movie good enough for a parent to take here kid to see again in these difficult time. It shows that good stories are worthy of seeing again. And again. I only hope that you give the film a chance and see it once.
It's been a long time since a Disney animated film made me remember why I love the Mouse. Go see what I saw this past week. Twice, actually and more to come... Go see why you loved Walt Disney in the first place...