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Bolt
(Blu-ray)

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG (For Some Mild Action and Peril)

Running Time: 96 minutes

Starring the voices of: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman, Mark Walton, Malcolm McDowell, Greg Germann, James Lipton, Jenny Lewis

Screenplay by: Dan Fogelman and Chris Williams 

Directed by: Chris Williams and Byron Howard

 

Studio: Disney

Retail Price: $39.99

Features: Bolt Be-Awesome Mission Game, Bolt Art Gallery, Deleted Scenes, A New Breed Of Directors: A Filmmakers' Journey, Act, Speak! The Voices Of Bolt, Creating The World Of Bolt, Super Rhino, In Session With John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, "I Thought I Lost You" Music Video, Super Rhino 

Specs: 1.78:1 Widescreen 1080p High Definition, English 6.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Scene Selection (16 Scenes), 3-Disc Set

Released: March 22nd, 2009

 

 

"Bolt" is presented in 1080p high definition, with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. This is a stunning, flawless transfer that is easily demo material for any decent home theater set up. All the colors in the movie are rich and vivid, and all the object and character models pop right off the screen. (It's not quite 3-D as in some theaters, but the effect where you want to reach out and touch the image is there.) The beautiful backgrounds also look fantastic, while detail is phenomenal - namely the strands of fur you can see on the animal characters. If you haven't assumed it by now, the overall image quality is razor sharp and shows off the movie's outstanding animation. Perfect. 

"Bolt" also gets the DTS-HD Master Audio treatment, in 6.1 (the packaging says 5.1, but it's really encoded as 6.1). The track ranks almost as high as the transfer. The movie can be pretty boisterious and loud, as there are multiple chase scenes and lots of action. The action is all-ecompassing through the channels, and really pulls you in with discrete surrounds and deep bass. The film's opening is solid demo material that might shake your room, while the climactic fire sequence also pulls you in. But softer surrounds also make an imprint too: background noises on the New York City streets, Bolt's collar jingling and Rhino running on his wheel. Dialogue is always clear and easy to hear, while the music has a lot of power through the channels. The closing Miley Cyrus/John Travolta duet is pretty rocking, the Jenny Lewis song is refreshingly calm and Alan Silvestri's thrilling score all get their due. There is also plenty of subwoofer use, while imaging and dynamic range are very, very strong. This is a gripping mix that does justice to the full and rich sonic landscape of the movie.

Also included is a standard 5.1 Dolby Digital track in Spanish, plus subtitles in English and Spanish.

 

Exclusive to the Blu-ray edition of the movie is the Bolt Be-Awesome Mission Game, and the Bolt Art Gallery - which is pretty extensive.

There are some Deleted Scenes, presented as story reels, introduced by directors Chris Williams and Byron Howard. Always interesting to see how animated films evolve during their production. A New Breed Of Directors: The Filmmakers' Journey shines light on Williams and Howard, introducing them and in turn, them introducing and discussing the production of the movie. There's plenty of behind-the-scenes footage, and it looks like everyone had a fun time making "Bolt." Oh, and John Lassetter chimes in about the movie and the talents of the directors. 

Act, Speak! The Voices Of Bolt is a very entertaining and interesting look at the voice actors in the movie. Howard, Williams and Lassetter praise their actors, and then go onto discuss their strengths individually. The bases are covered for Miley Cyrus, John Travolta, Susie Essman - all talking about the process - but there's a lot of love for Mark Walton, the Disney animator who plays the lovable hamster Rhino in the film. There's also a bit on James Lipton, who voices the Director, which is pretty entertaining.

Creating The World Of Bolt is a nice look at the movie's gorgeous and stark look, help created by art director Paul Felix and director of look and lighting Adolph Lusinsky. Plenty of reference stills - be it photographs and drawings - are shown to help illustrate points. It might be a little boring for the kids, but older animation fans should eat it up. 

In Session With John Travolta and Miley Cyrus shows Cyrus and Travolta jamming in the studio, while Howard and Williams give their brief take of what they wanted the song to be. Cyrus also talks about the theme of the song, while Travolta gushes about Cyrus (even comparing her to Olivia Newton John). Truth be told though, this felt like a commercial - probably because it's a mere minute or so. There's also the "I Thought I Lost You" Music Video - using the same footage of Travolta and Cyrus in the studio from the short piece.

And last but not least is the brand new cartoon short Super Rhino. Inventive and hilarious, the cartoon gives thought to the idea if Rhino had powers akin to Bolt. The very fitting ending though is easily the highlight. Too bad the film itself wasn't as consistently funny as this.

Also included in this three-disc set is a standard DVD version of the movie, plus a disc to download a digital copy. 

 

"Bolt" doesn't quite reach the level of the Pixar films, but it's a step in the right direction for Disney Feature Animation. As a Blu-ray release though, "Bolt" is top-notch with an outstanding presentation that's bound to light up any home theater. While the extras are a bit sparse, this is still a great package with plenty of bang for your buck.