So far after watching 26 Disney movies, I have awarded 11 B’s or higher. These are all familiar titles, including Lady and the Tramp. And honestly, this movie is on par with those sorts of films. I’m not saying it has Walt Disney magic; I’m just saying it’s a relatively unknown title that deserves a little more recognition.
Although it doesn’t have an ounce of Walt Disney magic, in my opinion, it has a little Pixar in it. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning: what a unique way to open the film. No, I’m not talking about the little girl adopting the cute little dog—no, that’s generic. I’m talking about starting a Disney movie with, quite frankly, an impressively animated spy-themed action sequence. This was the first time I was impressed by a technical aspect in Disney’s computer animated films, and there are a few other backgrounds that impressed me too.
And I like how this action sequence is not only uncharacteristic of Disney, it’s actually a Hollywood studio production in the movie. Kind of cool that a real movie studio is animating another (fictional) movie studio producing a (fictional) TV show… but anyhow, the TV show features a dog named Bolt, and he is led to believe he actually has superpowers for the sake of his acting career. Things go badly when he accidentally gets packaged to New York and must travel across the country to reunite with his owner, Penny. What ensues is a pretty funny journey, a plain bad country song, and a thrilling action sequence involving a train.
The reason why the journey works is because he slowly has to accept that he has no superpowers. And now that I think about it, this could have been a really good movie had they focused more on Bolt rather than the cat. I honestly thought the cat was there to make it a romance, and there is one pretty misleading scene that must’ve confused children.
Really, the cat was just there to make this a soppier movie, and she really dragged the journey down for me. She’s just so pessimistic. And even when she’s not putting Bolt down, she’s just plain bossy. Not a pleasant character, really. However, she is redeemed by one of Disney’s best comic relief character: the hamster. Now that is a character to balance out the cat. He’s always optimistic, energized, and ready for adventure. I guess the trio of them didn’t do so badly as a group, even as the journey felt a tad too long.
I say this movie has some Pixar in it because Pixar always has that moment when it makes you realize you care about its characters. This happens in Bolt when he actually has to save Penny—without his superpowers. As one may not expect, he is unable to, and when given the choice to save himself or potentially die with Penny, he chooses the latter. This concludes the super adventure of Bolt not because he has superpowers, but because he is a super dog. Definitely on my list of underrated Disney movies.