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Bolt Talkback

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Bolt opens today. The film may need the Dalmatians “Twilight Bark” to fight off the blood-sucking box office competition this weekend.

What did you think of the film? This post is open to our readers who have actually seen the picture. Please submit your comments below.

  • Siamang

    I loved it. But then I worked on it.

    So I’m totally biased, but I’d put it up there with Kung Fu Panda and all but my most favorite two or three Pixar films. Not quite Incredibles, but trying to get there, for sure.

  • At this point all I can say is that my wife enjoyed it and appreciated Paul Felix’s art direction and nuanced details-like rain drops falling on Bolt? Well, that’s the kind of think she would notice being a background painter…As for me? We shall find out.

  • Hulk

    I liked it. It wasn’t spectacular or ground-breaking but it was good. The story was a combination of Toy-Story, the Truman Show and the long Journey Home. Mark Walton’s voice performance as Rhino stole the show. That character was well animated too. The character designs were good, generic Disney looking except for the pigeons who also stood out in show stealing way. The Human characters could’ve used a little more variety in their design. They all looked “Irish” to me with pale skin, high cheek bones and little turned up noses but that’s being nitpicky. All in all it was worth seeing.

  • Joe

    I went in wanting to completely dislike this film due to all the history and changes that went into it. I loved the original Sanders concept drawings of American Dog and even the new concept art from Jerry’s post of the Bolt Playing cards.

    I was pleasantly surprised. Rhino the Hamster stole the movie for me, and the animation on the pidgeons were real funny. My only criticisms of the movie were: Miley Cyrus’s voice acting was horrible, the New York pidgeons were too close of a rip off of the ‘Good Feathers” sketch in animaniacs, and the repetition of the ambient people walking around (it was too noticable that there were duplicate human models in the Hollywood and New York scenes.

    Other then that, Disney finally did a good 3-D movie. I wish there more of the animation that was done in the end credits.

  • Iain

    To me, it dosen’t mesure up with “WALL-E”, “Kung Fu Panda”, and even “Horton” and “Madagascar 2”, but it does bring some chuckles, which include Rhino the show-stealing hamster and short scenes which involve the “dangers” of styrofoam peanuts.

  • J.Hand

    I saw Bolt last weekend. For full disclosure I work at Disney but did not work on Bolt. I think it is a great film, really funny and charming. In a review on AICN the reviewer said “What struck me most about seeing the final film is that each and every scene I had seen already was actually BETTER in context.” I couldn’t have said it better than that. I had seen portions of the film and liked it, but when viewed as a whole it really works. Rhino (the hamster in a ball) and the Pigeons are great memorable characters, but don’t completely steal the show. The biggest surprise for me was Bolt himself, he is a great main character and has a lot of great moments (styrofoam, you have to see it to know what I mean). There has been talk of the Pixar influence on this film and I saw it in two ways: The film plays to both kids and adults equally, and the tight storytelling with memorable characters. I know that Bolt has been beaten around on Cartoon Brew, but I think if your a fan of animated films its well worth your time and money.

  • Rio

    Disney made you feel for the characters as Disney is expected to do. I laughed throughout, mostly at Rhino and the pigeons. I wish Disney would push humor much further than they took it. Bolt had a cute story, but I guess I’m a sucker for Dreamsworks comedy. I don’t want to chuckle; I want to laugh out loud. But, I’m being really picky, though. It was a very solid feature and should be a big win for Disney.

    As a side review, I watched it in Disney 3D and came away with mixed results. The tinted glasses seemed to darken the colors and I found myself peaking around them during the darker lit scenes cause it was too dark with the glasses. During fast action, the animation seemed to flicker or strobe to me. The novelty of stereo 3D really didn’t overcome these distractions for me. But hey, I’m not their demographic anyway. I now would like to see it in a regular theater to see if I experience it differently.

  • tom

    An infield home run, I’d say. Some good laughs and some real excitement.

    I’m sure that Disney doesn’t want to hear it, but Miley Cyrus is not a competent actress. She’ll open this movie well, and then it will be up to the actual film, which was head and shoulders above “Meet the Robinsons”.

    I would rather have heard anyone but Travolta as the lead, too. Not a good voice actor. Even with the two stars stacked against it, this was a good family film. Hopefully it’s vampire-proof.

  • HAHA “Twilight Bark”… I just got that…

  • nottheman

    I had to say I enjoyed it pretty thoroughly. It hits all the familiar notes that Pixar (and now Disney) seem to like to hit, but it executes them well. I do have to say though that even nice moments like the traveling montage are a little too similar to other animated films to be entirely comfortable. The action sequence at the end if also a bit contrived, but in terms of something that seems to have started as a salvage job it performs quite admirably.

    I saw this on a screen with 3D and while its nice enough, like the other 3D releases like Meet the Robinsons the effect fades into the background after the first few minutes and by the end the effect seems negligible. With next year marking the turning point where ever major animated release seems to have a simultaneous 3D release (before Bolt we saw 3D trailers for Coraline, Ice Age, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Up) I do wonder how long 3D will last as a drawing gimmick before studios either do something genuinely interesting with it or audiences get bored.

  • The opening part with the super-dog stuff was good. When that was over, the film broke down and got boring real fast.

  • I wrote a review of it on my blog.

    In summary, Bolt turned out to be an exciting, entertaining film, regardless of its predictable components and its shaky history. Both the art and characters were a step up from Meet the Robinsons.

    Pixar’s influence is shaping up to be a real asset for Disney’s own animated films.

  • ST

    I saw a screening at the studios months back while it was still in production. Mostly storyboards with some finished parts.

    I thought it was a decent movie. Better attempt than Chicken Little or MTR. Although I wished some of the character designs were pushed a little more. I definately wouldn’t put it in the same category as WallE or Panda.

  • MattSullivan

    I thought it was really good, if predictable. VERY cute…with appealing character designs.

    Really upset that Chris Sanders didn’t get to put his vision onscreen, but that’s irrelevant at this point. THIS is the movie they made…and all things considered…is very good. I especially like the painterly look of the backgrounds.

    This one may be immune to criticism. I think TWILIGHT will be first place, but BOLT will give it a run for its money.

  • Victor

    The movie was good. How could Disney not credit Chris Sanders for his work on the film? Can we please not have any more musical montages in animated films, they take me out of the movie going experience. The backgrounds for the trip montages were very painterly and integrated nicely into the movie. There is never any sense of real danger through out the movie and in big studio produced animated films in general, for once i would like to feel a characters life really threatened and in peligro. The American feature animated movie is formulaic, in the end we are all happy, everybody is happy…Yay! Happy Happy Joy Joy!

  • I had no expectations, good or bad, and I thought it was a great Disney film. I went back and read your review after I wrote mine, and I think we are on pretty much the same wavelength concerning this film.

  • I also was nervous about the film after Sanders was removed from the project. I was grumpy for awhile but became a bit more interested to see what would come of it since Lasseter is involved in Disney. I know his attention to story is ruthless.

    I went in with the attitude of, “Lets see what they can do.”

    I came out happy and satisfied.

    The art direction although not Sanders was not my favorite, although it wasn’t terrible. Many seem to be hung up on the idea of the characters appearing “generic”, however I found most of them to be fairly unique. The only two characters I found a bit boring in their design were Penny and her mother. The design for the villain was fantastic, they really focused on his hard angled features which worked great for him. Even the agent was a great design. It brought across a man obsessed with image and his clients image; his hair all gelled up trying to be on top of his game. I also enjoyed the side characters designs, ex: the two guys moving in the uhaul, Rhino’s original owner. So I don’t drag on you get the idea, I liked the designs overall.

    The story also gave me what I wanted. I am known to be fairly emotional, but I don’t get choked up over nothing. At one point when I was wondering is this working? I found myself getting a bit choked up, especially when Bolt prepares for his true super bark when saving Penny. I could feel his sadness when he saw his replacement run into Penny’s arms, it was done very well. Rhino was superb, a great comic relief, and Mittens tied them both together perfectly.

    Was the story a bit predictable? Yes…but when you ask the average movie attendee what they want, even if they describe something new its seems to be a different take on an already established archetype. Deep down we enjoy predictable and get fooled that its new when its delivered differently.

    To finish this up, I really enjoyed it, and am excited to see how everyone else receives it.

  • PJ

    I was very happy with the movie. I went in with somewhat hopeful expectations, and wasn’t let down. The story was by no means remarkably original, and it didn’t pack the emotion or depth of WALL-E, but the three main characters were absolutely fantastic and the entire movie was charming and fun. The opening tongue-in-cheek action sequence kind of sets the mood for the entire film–its didn’t change your perspective on the world, or even the animation world, but it sure was entertaining.

    IMO, the highlight of the film was the three main characters, who in my opinion were very well written and very well animated. I feel like I could have watch Bolt, Mittens and Rhino’s journeys for twice as long and still have enjoyed it–the three characters had great chemistry together and I felt like there was a lot of fantastic character animation between the trio.

    I was also impressed with how nimbly the movie managed to jump tracks from fun/action/lighthearted to dangerous to emotional and heartfelt. Yes, the plot was very lightweight and very predictable, so there was nothing in it that would actually break your heart, but there were times in the film when the art direction, the superb character animation, and the music all came together masterfully to tug at your heart strings. Sure I felt stupid for feeling sad when I knew the movie couldn’t turn out any other way than happy, but I still felt it nonetheless, and that’s a victory for the BOLT team in my book.

    Another thing that was telling about the film was that, in spite of Twilight, the theater I saw Bolt in–at 9:30 in the evening–was mostly full. And, while almost every joke and gag got laughs out of the audience, there were PLENTY of moments (most of them involving Rhino, of course) that just had the whole audience in HYSTERICS. So it seems like the movie doesn’t have a hard time holding an audience’s attention. I know it certainly didn’t have a hard time holding mine.

    Bottom-line: Lightweight, charming, genuinely fun entertainment that, in my opinion, really bodes well for the future of WDAS.

  • I was very pleasantly surprised because I went in expecting to dislike the film, mostly because of the preposterosity of the premise. (Really now, how did ‘they’ stage that opening action sequence across an entire city?) Then again this is an animated cartoon we’re taking about here, and the peeks at how Bolt’s powers were faked in the next ‘show’ went a long way towards getting me over that hump.

    I wasn’t impressed by either Cyrus or Travolta’s voice work – stunt casting. But Susie Essman as Mittens actually connected with some actual emotion. The scene where she’s trying to explain to Bolt how the real world works and inadvertently reveals the source of her own cynicism is one of those moments that an entire film pivots around, and the filmmakers delivered here.

    Kind of a predictible wrap-up, with Bolt’s powers turning out to be ‘real’ in their own way, especially his ‘super bark.’ And yes, Rhino is the best thing in the movie – John, you’ve got another franchise on your hands…

  • Angry Anim

    I really enjoyed it! Neither Cyrus or Travolta bothered me in the least… their voices felt totally appropriate for their characters.

    And the traditional (or whatever) end titles were really charming and well done…!

  • MattSullivan

    Yes, I thought John Travolta actually put in his BEST performance. no, really. And I’m NOT a fan of celebrity voice casting. His line about blood…

    “Do I need it?”

    A perfect read! I’m stunned.

  • MattSullivan

    Oh, and about the end credits…I hope that not what 2D animation becomes relegated to…measly end credits ( although yes, they were AWESOME end credits.

  • Kyle Maloney

    I thought it was pretty good. it was about the quality I was expecting. not a classic I’ll want to watch over and over, but worth seeing at least once. I liked it more than Meet the Robinsons, which is the only recent Disney movie I can compare it to.

    Its not better than Wall e, or any Pixar movie by any stretch. though it does have the best 3d animation Ive seen from Disney thus far. I kept getting reminded of things from their 2d classics. I recognized certain poses and gestures that looked to have come right out of the Lion king.

    One thing that bothered me was there seemed to be a lot of pixar rehashing. I wasn’t bothered by the buzz lightyear dynamic as much as the smaller moments. the scene where Bolt realised he’s not a real hero mirrored the one from toy story almost shot by shot. (hamster/woody on the left, building up the confidence of Bolt/Buzz on the right).

    the cat at one point was going for a Jessie type thing trying to convince Bolt not to leave. I don’t know of I was just distracted by the similarities or what, but I just didn’t buy these moments. A lot of character stuff in this movie felt forced.

    There were only a few moments I felt were sincere. the main one being when bolt sees penny has moved on.

    Basically the movie is really good when its being funny, but the moments that are supposed to pull at your heart strings fall flat imo.

    Miley Cyrus…I wish they would have casted someone else. most of the time she was okay, didn’t even sound like her when her pitch was high. but there were moments where her voice gets low and its obvious that it was miley.

    Travolta was great as Bolt.

    And now a rant about my theater: I usually love my theater, but this time I got stuck with one of the smaller ones, which aren’t ideal for 3d projection. and it was awfully dim tonight. it was digital projection, but it sure didn’t look like it. and the glasses of course make it even worse. Normally I wouldn’t mind it, but you need to have the projector the brightest it can be for these glasses.

  • Andrew

    For those of you who were bothered with Miley’s performance, there IS sort of an excuse- they basically redubbed her lines over the previous actress’s lines. They wanted a celebrity to attract a bigger audience.

    In one of the most populated cities in the United States, out of two multiplexes… on opening weekend… Bolt was only put in 2 auditoriums. Both were 3D.

    Yeah. :(

  • Jeez, Amid – you had me prepared to hate this thing. But it was Great! Loved it. More laughs-out-loud than any other movie I can remember. And yeah, the character designs are different than those original ones – but they needed to be changed with the direction the film took. Bolt needed to look more like a real-world dog instead of a walking-on-his-hind-legs anthropomorphized critter. And that change was a great call. The only thing that bothered me was Travolta’s voice – not because it was bad, but rather because, boy, does he sound like a young Mickey Rooney! And I never cared much for Rooney so the association was distracting. Any one else notice that?
    I’d say, best Disney film since Tarzan.

  • My only problem with the film is that they did not show Glago’s Guest in front of it…as was planned for months.

    Disney should let live with their animated shorts program. Depending on how far it goes, animators today are getting the opportunity to sharpen their skills, before going into full-length features that they haven’t had for at least a decade.

  • I went it thinking the basic story line was short but solid. I enjoyed it and laughed out load much more than I thought I would. The dialogue was more comical and smart than I thought it was going to be.

  • dwestburg

    I agree with most of the comments here. Liked the movie, not earth shaking, fairly predictable story but still some twists, the sidekicks steal the show, Travolta and Cyrus can’t voice act.

    My hope is that the hamster, voiced by a Disney animator, becomes such a huge hits that the executives finally realize it’s good voice actors that make the characters and not just big name actors.

  • Steve Gattuso

    A good, solid, animated movie. I was struck by the art direction of the film, where the backgrounds adopted a “painted” effect to keep them from taking away from the central characters.

    Storywise, I was happy with what ended up on the screen. I understand that Saunders’ take would have been closer to “Sullivan’s Travels” than “Homeward Bound,” but that would have required Bolt to have come off as a pompous jerk offstage. I think said approach would have been difficult to reconcile with the eventual end of the film. I think Lassiter spotted that early on, because “Sullivan’s Travels” is one of his top five films ever and he’s more than familiar enough with the material.

    I thought the voice acting carried the film well. Perhaps it’s a benefit of not paying any attention to most popular media, but I know little of the past work of Miley Cyrus or Susie Essman. As a result, I could judge them as performers rather than “OMG, IT’S WHAT’S-HER-FACE!” As for John Travolta, so long as he didn’t start spouting about “LEVERAGE!”, I was happy.

  • PJ

    I may be completely off base here, but did anyone else think that shot of Bolt, Rhino and Mittens sitting in the train car and looking out the open door at the passing scenery during the montage “traveling/Bolt-becoming-a-real-dog scene” was a reference to that minute of American Dog animation that was posted on the internet a while back?

    The animation I’m talking about:

    I’m not trying to imply that it makes amends for the way they’ve completely removed all mention of Sanders’ version (although after having seen Bolt, I’ve gotta say I feel like there’s very little of American Dog that actually made it into Bolt), but I did think the shot from Bolt was WAAAY too similar to the shot of Henry sitting in front of the open train door to be a coincidence.

    Its interesting, anyway.

  • MattSullivan

    I DID think that ( about the train shot ) but it was a NICE shot :}

    BOLT has earned my respect. It feels like a good old fshioned Disney movie. Fun to watch, pretty to look at, and completely family friendly.

    I hope it makes at least 50 million this weekend. It feels like the kind of film that will gain more momentum as the weeks go by.

    I popped into a showing of Twilight while I was waiting to see BOLT to see what all the hysteria was about. And it’s a shame BOLT will come in second to a lousy vampire film that feels like a rental, and a bad one at that.

  • Clutch

    27 mil estimate……….Not entirely Disney’s fault though, I heard Twilight switched it’s release date to this weekend because Potter was moved to next year. Nobody foresaw the monster of teen vampire romance movies.
    I just hope Bolt didn’t have a ridiculous budget due to the restructuring/restart of the film etc and Thanksgiving weekend is kind to the film like the independence day weekend was to Ratatouille when it was in it’s second week of release.
    I just don’t wanna hear the animators getting blamed for Bolt not knocking it out of the park.

  • MattSullivan

    It’s amazing the power a female audience has. It’s the same kind of audience that made Titanic the all time leader.

  • Bolt is definately the best of Disney’s CG films, so far. It had some genuinely funny moments (Rhino the Hamster and the supporting Pigeons among them). But, it’s hard for me not to see the Cars storyline similarity (#1 star learns to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and become a normal “car/dog”) which is even more of a tired premise the second time around. The story, musical montage and heart-tugging moments felt old and formulaic to me. Overall, I didn’t care for the film, but I do recognize the great talent and hard work behind it. The production quality was very high and the designs of the three heroes (Bolt / Mittens / Rhino) were solid, especially Mittens. I thought that she was the best designed character in the film, and her animation was very appealing as well. For all of the talk of a painterly/impressionistic approach to environments, I was surprised by how realistic they appeared. Some were so photo-realistic they looked like live-action plates. I don’t think they married well with the cartoon characters. But, perhaps that design concept was a hold-over from American Dog, that just didn’t stick or was intentionally abandoned. Most of the human characters were very mediocre and some were pure ugly, which was dissapointing considering the sharp talent of the art crew.

    As for the Bolt 3D experience, I thought there were some impressive moments (particularly the opening) but ultimately my eyes were really taxed. 3D in general pulls me out of a film, and I’d rather see it projected in 2D. The 3D glasses always feel like a barrier to me, rather than an enhancement.

    Disney just needs some strong film makers with great taste and a singular vision to lift itself out of the doldrums. I hope that day will come. Good luck to the studio on their future projects. I’d like to see them really push the CG addition to bringing 2D features back to life in the U.S.!

  • Jason

    Bolt surpassed my expectations. WAY surpassed them. It is just so damn GOOD. I’m kind of floored. I hoped it would at least be as good as Horton, but man…Bolt blows Horton, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar 2 out of the water. Hell, it blows Wall-E out of the water IMO, when it comes to just a fun satisfying heartfelt movie experience.

    I feel really bad for Disney right now. I sure hope Bolt cleans up at the box office next weekend…or else it might just wind up being the Iron Giant of our time…sigh…

  • Dan

    Well now that BOLT is a confirmed box-office disappointment (we’ll see in the long run but I’m sure 27 million isn’t the open they were looking for). I would like to say that the “Lasseter touch” didn’t save this movie, removing Chris Sanders didn’t make it gang busters at the box-office, neither did adding Miley Cyrus. If this movie was always going to be a failure, what would be a better insult: that Chris Sanders made an overly personal movie that didn’t connect (or least that was the reason I’ve read for his removal from American Dog). Or that Disney made this the safest, focus grouped, sure-fire hit they could, and it still didn’t open.

    I’d prefer being guilty of the former.

    Not to knock BOLT, there’s a lot in the movie to be proud of for the people who worked on it. These are just the thoughts I had after I left the theater.

  • axolotl

    Why the hell would pigeons take orders from a cat? They can fly and she can’t…

  • EHH

    I liked it. It has been quite a while since a film made me feel good inside. It may have been a bit formulaic, but when it comes to making good stories, it is sometimes not what you use but how you use it.

  • uncle wayne

    I found the film super super….from the A to the very Z!! I laffed throughout….and, yes, teared up at the end!! Lotttts of great characters, and lottsa laffs!

    I would assume that no one at Disney had EVER seen the tv show, “Animaniacs,” however!

  • Eric Graf

    I thought it was good. Bland and formulaic, but very well done. A welcome improvement over those last three Disney theatrical features.

    I had the same reaction to the voice acting as Steve Gattuso did. For instance, I’m so removed from anything connected to Miley Cyrus that I literally don’t know her when I hear her … and I thought she was great in this movie. Go figure.

    My complaint about Bolt is more a theoretical one than a dig on the movie itself: This isn’t what I want to see Disney doing. This film played it SO safe and by the numbers that I felt cheated by it – like it was Disney product, not art. Disney has always been known as an innovator. There was nothing innovative about Bolt. It was just … there. It entertained the kiddies and it made the parents laugh occasionally. That’s great, but I want more than that, dang it.

    Here’s hoping this is the start of Disney’s new journey, and not the final destination.

  • I enjoyed the movie for the most part. I think all of the artists did an excellent job and it looked beautiful. That said, I started to wish for a traditional animated movie about half way through the picture. Not that I think this movie should have been created that way. I just started to feel warn from the 3D and am longing for some relief with a good, solid traditional animated piece that retains the spirit of all things animation. Can anyone tell me the last time that has happened?

  • Paul N

    Pleasant movie – a bit predictable (who didn’t see the claw thing coming with Mittens), and I was a bit surprised with how non-exhilirating the escape at the end turned out to be. It was a good looking, well-animated film with a good story. Not a blockbuster, to be sure, but a step in the right direction. And who says they all have to be blockbusters anyway?

  • I went into this film with no expectations and no background info (other than a few promotional adverts). I didn’t even know who the voice actors were.

    I enjoyed it a lot. Laughed, cried, and went ‘awww!’ and ‘wow!’ at all the parts they probably hoped we would. It’s a story that any one of us could have written, I’m sure, but that didn’t detract from it in any way, in my opinion. Sometimes, you just want an hour and a half of feel-good entertainment, and this movie fits the bill.

    Some things that struck me:

    The movement and iridescence of the pigeons: Yes, I kept expecting to hear “Ahr you cooin’ my bird?” but they sure didn’t move like the Good Feathers. This is another good example of Disney animators taking the time to study their subjects and translate it to the screen with care and finesse. Well done, gang!

    Little nuances that added up: As the movie progresses, Rhino’s ball gets more and more scratched up. Niiice! Also, the rain fall on Bolt and the halos around the lights on the Animal Control Truck, well done.

    Coincidence? Irony? Remember a movie waaaaay back in the late 70’s, early 80’s, called “Animalympics”? There was a character, an alligator from the sewers of New York by the name of Bolt Jenkins, who was voiced to sound like John Travolta playing a young, punk kid, such as Danny Zuko or Vinnie Barbarino. And here we have a dog, by the name of Bolt, being voiced by John Travolta. The connection made me chuckle and received a lot of “oh, hey!”s when I mentioned it to those with whom I’d seen the movie.

    And finally, Like Ratatouille, it’s fun to see the animators playing with the credits. I spotted a very 60’s looking Bambi in there!

  • Axolotl asks “Why the hell would pigeons take orders from a cat? They can fly and she can’t…”

    Well, she can pounce on them when they come down to feed and they don’t see her coming. (And I personally didn’t expect the — SPOILER!!!! – missing claws payoff.)

  • Chuck R.

    It’s interesting that Lou Romano was reminded of Cars. Lou, have you ever seen Surf’s Up? I won’t disagree, but I kept thinking of Buzz Lightyear’s delusions of grandeur until the story shifted to the forlorn cat, which reminded me of the heartbroken cowgirl Jessy in Toy Story 2. Bolt borrows a lot from the Pixar playbook, but it’s still a fun and lively way to spend an afternoon with the kids. My wife and I enjoyed it, esp. Rhino, the pigeons and (yes, Susan) their wonderfully iridescent necks!

    I agree with Jerry, it’s not really competing with Bond or Twilight, and I’m guessing it will pick up speed starting….now.

  • OtherDan

    I can’t imagine Lou Romano of Pixar fame would be so bold in his commentary. I don’t think it was the same person. I have to add, I think Brother Bear was the most derivative of the Disney films.

  • Mike

    A bit late here but I’m going to chime in…

    I didn’t have high expectations but the movie redeemed itself for me… just barely. Maybe that’s just because I’m a dog person and stories of a girl/boy and their loyal dog will always give me a warm fuzzy feeling… :)

    Some thoughts-
    -anyone notice the parallels to Inspector Gadget in the “Bolt” TV show? (Girl named Penny in danger, trying to help her father, protected by a dog with special abilities, villain associated with cats…) Was this intentional???

    -unlike most of you, I found the hamster and various pigeons incredibly annoying…. almost ruined the movie for me. The hamster was well designed and animated, but the fanboy thing got old really quick, it’s been done better before (Incredibles), etc. The pigeons I have nothing good to say about (even the supposed “realism” of the way they were animated was just distracting to me).

    -Mittens on the other hand, I liked. I was worried at first that she’d just be a generic “sassy New Yorker” character, but there was some nice character development there.

    -Eyes in CG animation still creep me out… they look like very shiny glass orbs implanted in the characters’ skulls, and the animators feel the need to make them constantly twitch around, I guess to make them look “alive.” What’s even worse is that the characters in Bolt had enormous eyes, even the adult humans… they all looked like those old velvet paintings of the orphan girl with the huge tear-filled eyes… way over the top.

    -Overall, I thought the design of the human characters was pretty horrible. They looked like plastic dolls. The mom was the same generic “mom” that’s been showing up in cartoons for … at least 15 years (not to mention she was a complete blank as a character… even the people in the animal shelter had more personality than her).

    -I gotta agree with the person who pointed out the inconsistency of the backgrounds… I noticed that too. Sometimes they seemed photorealistic, then they looked like a watercolor… which looked weird with hyperrealistically textured characters in front of them…

    -The opening action sequence was well done. Very exciting!

    -I think the moment the movie came alive for me was when Mittens was showing Bolt how to beg… nice character animations and I think it brought the characters down to earth in a nice way.

    -Loved the end credits! Wish the whole movie looked that charming and well-designed. :-)

    -Again, despite my complaints, I did think the ending brought the film to an appropriate, genuinely heartwarming conclusion.

    I think many of the things that didn’t work in this movie, for me, point to what I see as the central paradox of CG animation (at least as it’s done in big-studio movies currently)– the medium encourages a progression towards more and more realism, the end product of which would be …. a film indistinguishable from live action. So what’s the point? And the striving towards realism creates characters that often feel TOO detailed… to me animation is about the power of simplifying the world down to the essentials for whatever you’re trying to communicate, exaggerating certain things for effect, and putting your own touch as an artist into it. (The book “Understanding Comics” shaped some of my views on this.) It feels like so much of this has been lost in CG. Too many characters look the same, move the same, and too much time/effort is spent on shiny fur/feathers/skin instead of strong design and creativity. Well, all this has been said before….