Movie Review: Bolt

I once had a conversation with my college film professor about the movie Monsters, Inc. Like all Pixar films, Monsters was designed to be viewed by kids, yet was also a rewarding tale for adults. But one part of the film always stuck out in my mind: The moment when, in the middle of a wintry wasteland, the monster Sully turns his back on fellow monster Mike to pursue Boo, the human toddler that has become Sully’s ward. Upon my first viewing of the film, this moment was disquieting because, throughout the movie, we had seen the outrageous extent to which Mike was willing to extend his goodwill for the sake of his relationship with Sully. The two had presumably known each other for years, and for Sully to press on without Mike, to give up their friendship to in the pursuit of this girl with whom he’d just recently become acquainted always irked me. What type of message was this film trying to send? Of course, I was young and foolish back then, and my professor swiftly explained to me the error of my ways: Monsters Inc. was not, primarily, a movie about friendship; it was an adoption film. Sully had decided that Boo would be his daughter, and there was something transcendent in that decision, a parental bond that could not be denied even in the light of a friendship forged over years of familiarity and co-existence. Coming from a professor who had adopted a child of his own, this idea struck a particularly meaningful chord in me.

At its core, Disney’s new animated film Bolt is a movie about adoption. Through a clever premise and some great voicework from the leads, it attempts to say something profound about loyalty and devotion, and it mostly succeeds. Read More »

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Watch 4 Minutes of the Opening of Bolt

Disney has released a new clip from the new computer animated movie Bolt. The almost 4 minute clip is from the film’s opening sequence.

In the movie, Bolt is a dog who is the star of an action television series which is part Lassie, part Mission: Impossible, but with the high octane direction of someone like Michael Bay. But Bolt doesn’t know he’s a television star, and instead thinks he is a dog infused with super abilities (the plot of the tv show). To get a real performance out of the dog, they stage the stunts and sequences with hidden cameras so that Bolt believes they’re real. This chase sequence shows you what Bolt’s television show is like. I’ve seen this clip four times at various different press events (this sometimes happens), but I can assure you that it’s 100 times cooler when experienced in Disney Digital 3D.

[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/boltchase.flv 470 250]

Watch the clip in High Definition on Apple.com. Bolt hits theaters on November 21st 2008.

Extended Clip: Disney’s Bolt

Bolt

Disney has released a three and a half minute extended scene from Bolt. This same clip was one of the scenes shown at Comic Con. Disney storyboard artist Mark Walton voices Rhino the hamster, which many are already predicting to be the surprise star of the film.

Summit Entertainment has announced that the anticipated big screen adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s teen vamp novel Twilight will be coming out a month earlier. The film has been moved from December 12th to November 21st, the now vacant release date for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This is a huge score for Twilight, as the two films shared a similar demographic. In the media, Twilight has even been compared to the Potter series, ever since “Eclipse” knocked “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” off the best-seller list last year.

The Catherine Hardwicke film was originally scheduled to go head to head with The Day The Earth Stood Still, facing stronger competition in the weeks ahead from the Jim Carrey comedy Yes Man, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Tale of Despereaux, and Bedtime Stories. The new November 21st date leaves the film with weeks of breathing room. The only real competition to be had is from Disney’s computer animated film Bolt, which will open the same day.

IMAX has still not announced a replacement tol fill the spot that was originally occupied by the Half-Blood Prince. IMAX reps has said that they have already “initiated some conversations about a replacement film” and that they are “confident” they will will find a “good project.” Could Twilight be coming to IMAX? Probably not. I’m guessing that IMAX will either go with Disney’s Bolt or extend the two-week release of Madagascar 2 and instead find another film later in the holiday season. Possibly 20th Century Fox’s The Day The Earth Stood Still?

Disney Bolts to Harry Potter’s Date

Disney has decided to move Bolt up a week into the November 21st date that was left empty by Warner Bros’ move of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to Summer 2009.

The /Filmcast: After Dark – Episode 6

/FilmCast

The /Filmcast: After Dark is a recording of what happens right after The /Filmcast is over, when the kids have gone to bed and the guys feel free to speak whatever is on their minds. In other words, it’s the leftover and disorganized ramblings, mindfarts, and brain diarrhea from The /Filmcast, all in one convenient audio file. In this episode, David, Peter, Devindra, Adam and Eric Vespe (AKA “Quint“) continue their discussion of Wall-E and its social implications, intended or not. Also a poll question from David sends the uStream chat room spiraling wildly out of control.

Have any questions/comments/suggestions? Want to advertise your movie/product/service with the /Filmcast? E-mail us at slashfilmcast@gmail.com. Join us for our next broadcast, live on Monday night at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST as we review Hancock with Adam Kempenaar from Filmspotting.

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Bolt Movie Trailer

Disney has released the trailer for Bolt. Does anyone else find it ironic that an Elvis Presley song is used in the trailer for a movie in which Lilo & Stitch director Chris Sanders was removed as director? I talked about the controversy behind this project last week, if you haven’t had a chance, check it out here.

I’ll admit that because of the backstory, it’s hard for me to be accept Disney’s reworking of Sander’s original designs. But aside from the groan inducing trick opening, the movie doest look all that bad. Sure, the characters and situations don’t look nearly as interesting or as original as Sander’s designs, but it also doesn’t look as generic as past Disney efforts. Plus releasing the film in 3D at least guarantees a fun theatrical experience. Could it be the John Lasseter effect? I’d be interested to hear the opinions of readers who didn’t feel an attachment to Sander’s American Dog concept art. What do you think?

[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/bolttrailer.flv 470 252]

For super-dog Bolt (voiced by John Travolta), every day is filled with adventure, danger and intrigue – at least until the cameras stop rolling. When the canine star of a hit TV show is accidentally shipped from his Hollywood soundstage to New York City, he begins his biggest adventure yet – a cross-country journey through the real world. Armed only with the delusions that all his amazing feats and powers are real, and with the help of two unlikely traveling companions – a jaded, abandoned housecat named Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman), and TV-obsessed hamster in a plastic ball named Rhino – Bolt discovers he doesn’t need superpowers to be a hero. Miley Cyrus (“Hannah Montana”) brings her vocal talents to the role of Penny, Bolt’s human co-star on the television series.

Watch the trailer in High Definition on Yahoo. Bolt will hit theaters on November 26th, 2008 in Disney Digital 3-D™

Bolt Teaser Poster

I hear that the teaser trailer for Bolt will probably be attached to Pixar’s WALL-E, which hits theaters next week. Disney has just released the first theatrical teaser poster (as opposed to the teaser poster which has been on display at Disneyland) for the movie, which makes this that much more likely. But before you see the teaser trailer, lets take a look back at the project’s troubled history.

Originally titled American Dog, Chris Sanders was attached to write and direct. But Sander’s vison of the animated movie was a little “too bold”. His early concepts featured a one-eyed cat and an oversized radioactive rabbit (see the publicly released concept art below). Disney was supposedly looking for something a bit more “mainstream”. Funny, considering that Sanders is responsible for Disney’s last popular non-Pixar character/movie, Lilo & Stitch. Sanders was replaced by Chris Williams and Byron Howard, and the film was rewritten and retitled Bolt.

american dog

American Dog

And this is what Bolt looks like…

Bolt

Bolt

One must remember that Brad Bird replaced Jan Pinkava on Ratatouille, which was went through rewrites, and look how that turned out. But on the other hand, Ratatouille had Brad Bird, Bolt has Chris Williams, who was a writer on Mulan and The Emperor’s New Groove, and Byron Howard, who was a Supervising Animator on Chicken Little and Brother Bear. The characters look very generic, at least at first glance. Also, the casting of Miley Cyrus doesn’t instill confidence (click here to watch Miley explain her character and see a bit of unfinished footage from the film). I’m very interested to see the teaser trailer. With John Lasseter in charge as Chief Creative Officer of Disney Animation, you have to put a little faith in the decision to take the project in a totally different direction.

Bolt Logo

The official plot synopsis follows: For super-dog Bolt (voiced by John Travolta), every day is filled with adventure, danger and intrigue – at least until the cameras stop rolling. When the canine star of a hit TV show is accidentally shipped from his Hollywood soundstage to New York City, he begins his biggest adventure yet – a cross-country journey through the real world. Armed only with the delusions that all his amazing feats and powers are real, and with the help of two unlikely traveling companions – a jaded, abandoned housecat named Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman), and TV-obsessed hamster in a plastic ball named Rhino – Bolt discovers he doesn’t need superpowers to be a hero. Miley Cyrus (“Hannah Montana”) brings her vocal talents to the role of Penny, Bolt’s human co-star on the television series.

Bolt will hit theaters on November 26th, 2008 in Disney Digital 3-D™.

contributing sources: IMPAwards, blogspot, AICN, Animation Nation

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