Disney: Bolt

Bolt is the 2008 Disney Cinematic movie that shows the story of Bolt (voice of John Travolta) the adorable little puppy hand picked from a shop by his owner Penny (voice of Miley Cyrus). In an explosive stunt-filled start we move forward 5 years later to find Bolt defending his beloved Penny from the evil forces of Dr. Calico (Malcolm McDowell).

With extraordinary powers, Bolt has great strength, speed, can shoot through laser eyes and his bark can destroy an army… Or so he believes!

As with The Incredibles that came out by Pixar 4 years earlier, you might be led to believe that this is yet another animated superhero movie with a canine for a superhero. But actually Bolt is no superhero and in a resemblance to the film The Truman Show it turns out that Bolt is a massive science fiction show in America where the key star in the show is Bolt. The producers set up all the events so that Bolt thinks his life is real and therefore the producers believe his expressions and actions are all the more real because the dog thinks his life is real.


When ratings start to fall on the show the producers stage a cliffhanger where Bolt is led to believe that Penny has been kidnapped by Dr. Calico. Bolt is the ultimate loyal canine and is devastated in the belief that Penny has been kidnapped. When he escapes to try and rescue her he ends up in a crate bound for New York and unaware that his superpowers are not real, he suddenly finds it out is not that easy to knock people out!

It is in the form of an unwilling streetwise cat, Mittens (voice of Susie Essman) that he finds some help. At first Bolt is led to believe that like all cats she is evil and he believes that Mittens works for the ‘man in black’, who works for the ‘green eyed man’ that has taken Penny (all very tongue in cheek). Mittens who guesses all along that Bolt doesn’t actually have these superpowers, tells Bolt that Penny has been taken to Hollywood and that is where they have to get to in order to find her.


It is while begging on the streets that they meet Rhino the hamster (Mark Walton), an overweight animated TV addict that looks up to Bolt as his hero having watched all his adventures on the ‘magic box’.

It is in Rhino that the humour really steps up a notch as he is as totally deluded as Bolt in believing that Bolt is the ultimate superhero.

From here on in the three of them set off to find Penny.

Reminiscent of Homeward Bound the animals set off on an adventure as they try to find Penny and bring her home.

Bolt soon realises that his power are not real and in order to survive he must learn (with the help of Mittens) what it is to be a normal dog. Here the moral of the story comes in as Bolt, with the help of his friends, discovers that you don’t need superpowers to be a superhero…

Bolt doesn’t disappoint. It is the traditional story about loss, hope, friendship and discovering ones identity with the modern twist of the superhero element that has been very popular recently.

As with earlier CGI Disney films, Bolt was also distributed in Disney Digital 3-D (in the theatres equipped for it) and with the animation and pace in this movie it makes for the ultimate cinematic experience.


The soundtrack features the film’s score sung by Bolt’s stars Miley Cyrus and John Travolta. This was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song in 2009.

With an all star voiced cast Bolt is filled with humour, vibrant colour and emotion and has everything you would expect from a Disney film.

Some might find it a touch sentimental with the super-warm fuzzy ending but that is what is so great about Disney movies – you always come out with a warm glow. Bolt’s expressions are so real and full of character and with the voice of John Travolta, you can’t help but fall in love with him and wish you had a dog as loyal as Bolt.

This movie is well worth taking a look at. It will delight both adults and children and will certainly bring out the dog lover in you!

Jacqueline Ling

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