Bolt is a 2008 computer-animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and stars John Travolta as the main protagonist. It is the 48th film in the Disney Animated Canon and the first film under the creative guidance of John Lasseter.
In the prologue, a puppy named Bolt is adopted by a seven-year-old girl named Penny (Chloë Grace Moretz).
Five years later, Bolt (John Travolta) and Penny (Miley Cyrus) star on a hit adventure television series called "Bolt" in which the titular character has various superpowers and must constantly thwart the evil plans of the nefarious Doctor Calico (Malcolm McDowell). To gain a more realistic performance, the TV show's producers have deceived Bolt his entire life, arranging the filming in such a way that Bolt believes the television show is real and that he really has superpowers, including a powerful sonic scream-like "superbark". After a cliffhanger episode causes Bolt to believe Penny has been kidnapped by the villain, he escapes from his on-set trailer in Hollywood but knocks himself unconscious trying to break through a window and falls into a box of foam peanuts and unknown to the film company is accidentally shipped to New York City. In New York, Bolt eventually comes round and starts to notice that his "superpowers" aren't working, and rationalizes this is the effect that styrofoam has on his body. He then meets Mittens (Susie Essman), a female alley cat who bullies pigeons out of their food. Bolt (believing she's one of Calico's minions) forces Mittens to help him get back to Penny, and after Bolt ends up knocking Mittens unconscious into a letterbox, the two start their epic journey westward on a truck. In Hollywood, Penny is deeply saddened by Bolt's disappearance but is convinced by the studio to continue filming with a Bolt lookalike.
Surprised at his first feelings of hunger, Bolt is shown by Mittens how to act like a cute, but needy dog, and is rewarded by food for the both of them at a nearby RV park in Elmwood Place, Ohio. Here, they meet Rhino (Mark Walton), a fearless, TV-obsessed hamster and "Bolt" fan who joins their team. Rhino’s unwavering faith in Bolt substantiates the dog’s illusions about his superpowers, but Mittens, who learned from Rhino that Bolt is from a television show, tries to convince Bolt that his superpowers aren't real. Bolt refuses to listen to Mittens, and instead becomes frustrated and attempts to "superbark" her repeatedly. The noise attracts Animal Control, who captures them both and transports them to an animal shelter. After being freed "en route" by Rhino, Bolt finally realizes that he is just a normal dog, but regains his confidence after Rhino (oblivious to this revelation) gives him a pep talk. They rescue Mittens from the shelter and escape, allowing them to continue their journey. Along the way, Mittens helps Bolt through his identity crisis by teaching him typical dog activities (such as hanging his head out car windows and chasing sticks), but Mittens refuses to go farther than Las Vegas. She tells Bolt that his Hollywood life is fake and there is no real love for him there. Her emotional rant reveals that she was once a house cat, but was abandoned by her previous owner and left to brave the harsh streets alone and declawed]. Bolt refuses to believe that Penny doesn't love him, and continues on alone, wishing Mittens the best. Rhino, learning of Bolt's departure, convinces Mittens that they must help him, and the two set off to find Bolt once again.
Bolt reaches the studio and finds Penny embracing his lookalike. Unaware that Penny still misses him and that her affection for the lookalike is only a part of a rehearsal for the show, he leaves, brokenhearted. Mittens, on a gantry in the studio, see what Bolt does not: Penny telling her mother how much she misses Bolt. Realizing that Penny truly does love 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 soundstage on fire with Penny trapped inside. Bolt arrives and reunites with Penny inside the burning studio, but are unable to escape before Penny begins to suffocate from the smoke. Bolt refuses to leave Penny, and with the strength he has left, Bolt uses his "superbark" through the building's air vent. Hearing the noise, the firefighters rescue them before they both succumb to smoke inhalation
Penny and her mother subsequently quit when their overeager agent attempts to exploit the incident for publicity purposes. The show continues with a replacement "Bolt" and "Penny" – "Penny's" new appearance is explained in the show as being serious injuries necessitating her undergoing facial reconstruction surgery, and adopting a new storyline that involves alien abduction. Penny herself 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.
The epilogue scenes during the credits show Bolt, Penny, her mother, Mittens, and Rhino enjoying their new life together.
Why It Rocks
- Great animation (Even the texture on the animals' fur looks realistic).
- Good voice-acting from John Travolta and Susie Essman.
- Pretty likable characters such as Bolt, Penny, Mittens, and Rhino.
- "I Thought I Lost You" is a really heart-warming song.
- This film managed to bring the Walt Disney Animation studio back to its glory days.
- It's also the first computer-animated film to utilized non-photorealistic rendering.