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Bolt (2008 film)

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Bolt
Bolt ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chris Williams
Byron Howard
Produced by Clark Spencer
Screenplay by Dan Fogelman
Chris Williams
Starring John Travolta
Susie Essman
Mark Walton
Miley Cyrus
Music by John Powell
Edited by Tim Mertens
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
  • November 21, 2008 (2008-11-21)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $150 million[1]
Box office $310 million[1]

Bolt is a 2008 American computer animated comedy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 48th Disney animated feature film. Directed by Chris Williams and Byron Howard, the film stars the voices of John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Malcolm McDowell, Diedrich Bader, Nick Swardson, Greg Germann, Susie Essman and Mark Walton. The film's plot centers on a white dog named Bolt who, having spent his entire life on the set of a television series, thinks that he has super powers. When he believes that his human, Penny, has been kidnapped, he sets out on a cross-country journey to "rescue" her.

Despite a relatively marginal box-office performance, Bolt received a strong positive critical reception and is renowned for playing an important role in instigating what is widely referred to as the Disney Revival, as well as setting the studio in a new creative direction that would lead to other critically acclaimed features such as Tangled (2010) and Frozen (2013). Bolt was also Disney Animation's first feature film to be produced under the complete creative guidance of then-Pixar executive John Lasseter in his role as chief creative officer for the studio, as well as the first computer-animated feature film to implement non-photorealistic rendering.

The film was nominated for a series of awards, such as the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.

Plot

A White Shepherd puppy named Bolt is adopted by a seven-year-old girl named Penny. Five years later, Bolt and Penny star in a hit television series called Bolt, in which Bolt uses various superpowers to protect Penny from the villain. To gain a more realistic performance, the show's producers have deceived Bolt his entire life, arranging the filming in such a way that Bolt believes everything in the show is real and that he really has superpowers, including a devastatingly powerful sonic scream-like "superbark". After a cliffhanger episode causes Bolt to believe Penny has been kidnapped, he escapes from his on-set trailer in Hollywood but knocks himself unconscious and is trapped inside a box of foam peanuts which is shipped to New York City.

In New York, Bolt resumes his search for Penny and quickly finds that his "superpowers" are useless. He encounters Mittens, a feral cat who bullies pigeons out of their food. Bolt compels Mittens to guide him back to Penny — Mittens being convinced her captor is a lunatic — and the two start their journey westward by truck. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, Penny is distraught over Bolt's disappearance but is convinced by the studio to continue filming with a less experienced lookalike dog.

Surprised at his first feelings of hunger, Bolt is shown by Mittens how to act like a cute but needy dog, obtaining food for them both at an RV park. They are joined by Rhino, a fearless hamster and fanatical Bolt fan. Rhino's unwavering faith in Bolt substantiates the dog's illusions about his superpowers, but causes Mittens to realize that Bolt is from a television show. She tries to tell Bolt that his superpowers are not real, but Bolt simply becomes frustrated and attempts to "superbark" her repeatedly. The noise draws the attention of an Animal Control patrol and Bolt and Mittens are captured and taken to an animal shelter.

Bolt, freed from the patrol van by Rhino, finally realizes and accepts that he is just a normal dog, but regains his confidence after Rhino (oblivious to this revelation) exhorts him to heroism. They rescue Mittens from the shelter, and as they continue west, Bolt and Mittens form a close friendship in which she teaches Bolt how to be an ordinary dog and enjoy typical dog activities. Mittens makes plans for them to stay in Las Vegas, but hearing Bolt is still drawn to find Penny, she tells him that Penny is only an actor, and that humans never truly love their pets but betray and abandon them, as happened to her. Bolt refuses to believe her and continues on alone to Hollywood; with Rhino's encouragement his two friends follow shortly after.

Bolt reaches the studio and finds Penny embracing his lookalike, unaware that Penny still misses him and her affection for the lookalike is only a part of a rehearsal. A broken-hearted Bolt leaves, but Mittens, on a gantry in the studio, sees Penny telling her mother how much she misses Bolt. Mittens follows Bolt and explains. At the same time, the Bolt-lookalike panics during the show's filming and accidentally knocks over some flaming torches, setting the sound stage on fire with Penny trapped inside. Bolt arrives and the two reunite inside the burning studio, but are unable to escape before Penny begins to suffocate from the smoke. Penny begs Bolt to go but Bolt refuses to leave her. Bolt uses his "superbark" through the building's air vent, alerting the firefighters to their location and allowing both of them to be rescued in time.

Penny and her mother quit when their overeager agent proposes they exploit the incident for publicity purposes. The show continues with a replacement "Bolt" and "Penny" and a new storyline involving alien abduction. Penny adopts Mittens and Rhino, and she and her family move to a rural home to enjoy a simpler, happy lifestyle with Bolt and her new pets.

Cast

Production

Development

At first, the film was going to be titled American Dog, and was written and directed by Chris Sanders. Eventually, Sanders was removed from the project and replaced by Chris Williams and Byron Howard.[2] The film's previous plot told the story of a dog named Henry, a famous TV star, who one day finds himself stranded in the Nevada desert with a testy, one-eyed cat and an oversized, radioactive rabbit who are themselves searching for new homes, all the while believing he is still on television. In 2006, after becoming Chief Creative Officer at Disney Animation, John Lasseter along with other directors from Pixar and Disney attended two screenings of the film and gave Sanders notes on how to improve the story. According to Lasseter, Sanders was replaced because he resisted the changes that Lasseter and the other directors had suggested. Lasseter was quoted as saying "Chris Sanders is extremely talented, but he couldn't take it to the place it had to be."[3] After Sanders left and the original title was removed, the animation team was told to complete the filming in 18 months instead of the usual four years that is normally required to produce a computer-animated feature.[4] On June 8, 2007, Disney announced that the film, now under its current name, would be released on November 21, 2008 in Disney Digital 3-D.[5][6]

Animation

The look of the film was inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper and the cinematography of Vilmos Zsigmond.[7] New technology in non-photorealistic rendering (NPR) was used to give it a special visual appearance, a technique also used in Tangled (2010). To give the film's 3D backgrounds a hand-painted look, the company artists used new patented technology designed specifically for the film.[8]

Bolt's characteristics are based on an amalgam of breeds, although the designers started with the American White Shepherd.[9] Joe Moshier, lead character designer, said, "they American White Shepherds have really long ears, a trait that I tried to caricature in order to allow the animators to emphasize Bolt's expressiveness."[9]

The design of Rhino in his plastic ball was based on executive producer John Lasseter's pet chinchilla, which was brought to an animators' retreat during the film's production.[10]

Music

Bolt
Soundtrack album by John Powell
Released November 25, 2008 (2008-11-25)
Genre Score
Length 36:59
Label Walt Disney
Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology
Meet the Robinsons
(2007)
Bolt
(2008)
The Princess and the Frog: Original Songs and Score
(2009)

The score to Bolt was composed by John Powell.[11] The soundtrack featured the film's score and two original songs – I Thought I Lost You by Bolt's stars Miley Cyrus and John Travolta (nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song on 2009) as well as "Barking at the Moon" by Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis.[11] The soundtrack was released on November 18, 2008.[12]

Although Motörhead has a song in the film, they do not seem to appear in either the soundtrack or the score. Motörhead's song "Dog-Face Boy" (from their Sacrifice album) is in a mailroom scene where a young worker is listening to it on his headphones and inadvertently wraps Bolt up in a box that gets shipped off to New York City.[13]

Track listing:

All music composed by John Powell, except as noted.

No.TitleArtistLength
1."I Thought I Lost You"Miley Cyrus & John Travolta3:36
2."Barking at the Moon"Jenny Lewis3:17
3."Meet Bolt" 1:49
4."Bolt Transforms" 1:00
5."Scooter Chase" 2:29
6."New York" 1:44
7."Meet Mittens" 1:25
8."The RV Park" 2:14
9."A Fast Train" 2:38
10."Where Were You on St. Rhino's Day?" 1:58
11."Sing-Along Rhino" 0:42
12."Saving Mittens" 1:02
13."House on Wheels" 3:07
14."Las Vegas" 2:01
15."A Friend in Need" 1:13
16."Rescuing Penny" 3:09
17."A Real Life Superbark" 0:46
18."Unbelievable TV" 1:20
19."Home at Last/Barking at the Moon (Reprise)"Jenny Lewis1:29
Total length:36:59

Release

Bolt was theatrically released in the United States on November 21, 2008. Beginning in its fourth week in theaters, the film was accompanied by Pixar's Cars Toons short Tokyo Mater.[14]

Home media

Bolt was released on Region A Blu-ray Disc in the United States on March 22, 2009. The BD set included standard DVD and digital copy versions of the film. Single-disc DVD and Special Edition DVD with Digital Copy versions followed in Region 1 on March 24.[15] This marked the first time a major home-video release debuted on Blu-ray Disc before DVD.[16] Bolt was released on both Blu-ray and DVD in the United Kingdom on June 15, 2009.[17]

A short film called Super Rhino is included in the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film.[18] The DVD has sold 4,581,755 copies, generating $81.01 million in sales as of December 31, 2009.[19] The 3D Blu-ray version of the film was released in November 2010, in France[20] and UK.[21] A month later it was released worldwide, exclusively to select Sony TVs.[22][23] In US, it was released on November 8, 2011.[24]

Reception

Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a rating of 89% based on 180 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads: "Bolt is a pleasant animated comedy that overcomes the story's familiarity with strong visuals and likable characters."[25] Another review aggregator, Metacritic, gave the film a 67/100 approval rating based on 29 reviews following under the category "generally favorable reviews".[26]

Perry Seibert of TV Guide gave the film 3 stars out of 4 and wrote the film "amuses both those who make up the film's target audience and the parents along for the ride. This winning mix of exciting action, heart-tugging sentiment, and gentle character comedy makes Bolt yet another solid addition to Disney's history of family-friendly fare."[27] Tasha Robinson of The A.V. Club gave the film a B+ stating that "Bolt is the studio's first film since Lilo & Stitch that feels like it's trying to recapture the old Disney instead of aggressively shedding it in favor of something slick and new. And yet it comes with a healthy cutting-edge Pixar flavor as well."[28] Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times wrote that "[Bolt] also has an intriguing plot that is kind of the family animation version of the Jim Carrey-starring The Truman Show."[29]

Box office

On its opening weekend, the film opened number 3 with $26,223,128 behind Twilight and Quantum of Solace.[30] On its second weekend, it rose to No. 2 behind Four Christmases with a 1.4% increase.[31] In the United States and Canada, the film grossed $114,053,579 by its closing date on February 22, 2009.[32] An additional $195,926,415 was made internationally as of January 2, 2011, for a worldwide total of $309,979,994.[1][33]

Award nominations

Bolt was nominated for the following awards:

Video games

Disney Interactive Studios produced a video game based on the film, released in November 2008 for Nintendo DS, Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.[45] The game focuses on Bolt's fake TV life, not the actual storyline.[46] A separate game was released for mobile phones,[47] and a third game, RhinoBall, was released as an application on Apple's App Store.[48]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Bolt". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  2. ^ Amidi, Amid (February 7, 2007). "Toy Story 3 and American Dog News". Cartoon Brew. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved March 5, 2007.
  3. ^ Holson, Laura M. (March 4, 2007). "He Runs That Mickey Mouse Outfit". New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2007.
  4. ^ Sanders, Peter (October 27, 2008). "Disney Learns Lessons From Pixar". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 21, 2009.
  5. ^ "Coming to Theaters – Bolt". UltimateDisney.com. June 8, 2007. Retrieved June 10, 2007.
  6. ^ Garth Franklin (June 8, 2007). "Disney Announces Summer 2009 Lineup". Dark Horizons. Retrieved June 10, 2007.
  7. ^ Lesnick, Silas (September 15, 2008). "Behind the Scenes of Disney's Bolt". Coming Soon. Retrieved May 21, 2009.
  8. ^ Strike, Joe (April 9, 2008). "Disney Taps Deep Into DNA In Unveiling Animation Slate". Animation World Network. Archived from the original on February 10, 2009. Retrieved May 21, 2009.
  9. ^ a b Smith, Dave. "Ask Dave: The Ultimate Disney History Expert". D23. Archived from the original on June 17, 2009. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
  10. ^ Barnes, Brooks (November 14, 2008). "Mark Walton, The Voice Behind the Drawing Board". New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2008.
  11. ^ a b Walt Disney Records (November 14, 2008). "Walt Disney Records Presents the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, BOLT". Reuters. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  12. ^ "Bolt". Amazon.com. Retrieved November 15, 2008.
  13. ^ "Bolt". EddieTrunk.com. November 18, 2008. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
  14. ^ "Exclusive: First Look at Pixar's Tokyo Mater!". ComingSoon.net. December 9, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  15. ^ "Bolt Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Coming March 22". ComingSoon.net. January 21, 2009. Retrieved February 16, 2009.
  16. ^ "Bolt Blu-ray bows two days before DVD". Video Business. January 22, 2009. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
  17. ^ McIver, Brian (June 15, 2009). "80 years of doggy animation helped make new canine hero Bolt, creators reveal". Daily Record. Archived from the original on March 5, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2015. Bolt is out on Disney DVD and Blu-ray today.
  18. ^ "An Afternoon at the House of Mouse". TAG Blog. October 27, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
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  20. ^ "Bolt 3D Blu-ray (France)". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
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  23. ^ "Bolt 3D Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
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  25. ^ "Bolt (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  26. ^ "Bolt Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 15, 2010.
  27. ^ "Bolt Review". TV Guide. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
  28. ^ "Bolt". The A.V. Club. November 20, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2008.
  29. ^ Turan, Kenneth (November 21, 2008). "Review: "Bolt"". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 22, 2008.
  30. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for November 21–23, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 23, 2008.
  31. ^ "Bolt (2008) – Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2008.
  32. ^ "Bolt – Weekend". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  33. ^ "Bolt – Foreign". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  34. ^ "2008 Academy Awards by Category". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  35. ^ Sciretta, Peter (January 31, 2009). "WTF: WALL-E Completely Snubbed at Annie Awards?". Slash Film. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  36. ^ "Richard Gere to Receive Joel Siegel Award Presented by Diane Lane at VH1's 14th Annual Critics' Choice Awards Ceremony". PR Newswire. January 7, 2009. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
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  38. ^ Grossberg, Josh (December 19, 2009). "Windy City Critics Vote WALL-E; Vegas Goes Nixon". E! Online. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  39. ^ a b Brevet, Brad (January 11, 2009). "Complete List of 2009 Golden Globe Winners". Coming Soon. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
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  42. ^ "Satellite Awards Winners 2008". Press Academy. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  43. ^ Elaine (March 28, 2009). "Kids Choice Awards 2009 Winners". Right Celebrity. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  44. ^ a b c "7th Annual VES Awards". visual effects society. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
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  46. ^ Geddes, Ryan (June 19, 2010). "Bolt Movie to Fetch Videogame Versions". IGN. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  47. ^ "Bolt promotion page". Jamster. Retrieved October 18, 2010.[dead link]
  48. ^ "iPhone App Review: RhinoBall". AppVee. Archived from the original on August 8, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2010.

External links