I think I was put off trying BOLT when it was originally released due to the lead voice actors, John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, in whom I have zero interest. By the time I watched the movie on a recent plane trip I had completely forgotten who was in the voice cast! I didn't recognize their voices so I was able to enjoy the film without my unenthused impressions of the actors influencing my opinion.
Movies Anywhere app; my daughter is a BOLT fan, and I'd purchased the DVD for her as a gift a few years ago. Since I'd input the Disney Movie Rewards code at the time I bought it, the movie was automatically loaded into my Disney Movies Anywhere library when Disney launched the app earlier this year.
Bolt (Travolta) is a doggy TV star, but he doesn't know it. His handlers believe Bolt's "acting" will be more effective if he doesn't see the cameras or special effects, so when he regularly saves his young owner Penny (Cyrus) from the bad guys, he thinks it's real and that he has superpowers. When Penny locks Bolt in his trailer each night after filming, he has no idea where she goes.
Bolt sets out on a long cross-country road trip to find Penny, aided by Mittens the stray cat (Susie Essman) and Rhino (Mark Walton), a hamster in an exercise ball who's an enthusiastic fan of Bolt's TV series.
BIG HERO 6 (2014), the film is derivative; three animals, including a dog and cat, on a long journey has been done by Disney not once but twice! (That would be THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY, filmed in 1963 and 1993.) There's also a touch of LADY AND THE TRAMP (1955), as a sheltered dog learns about the tough world from a stray.
Despite the familiarity, I felt that overall this film worked better than BIG HERO 6, thanks to a solid screenplay, which at 96 minutes is better paced than BIG HERO 6's 102 minutes.
BOLT's script has a nice sense of humor mixed with touches of poignance; the scene where Mittens admits to having been abandoned by her previous owner packs a wallop, but the funny scenes keep the film from being too emotional. The pointed barbs about network executives are quite amusing, and there are some delightful bits with the animals, such as Bolt learning to beg. I liked this one a lot.
The supporting voice cast includes Malcolm McDowell as the TV show villain, James Lipton as the director, and Greg Germann as Penny's smarmy, work-obsessed agent. The additional voice actors include Anne Lockhart, granddaughter of Gene and Kathleen, and daughter of June.
BOLT was directed by Byron Howard and Chris Williams.
Parental Advisory: This film is rated PG for "mild action and peril." In my opinion it's a family-friendly Disney film.
BOLT is available on DVD or in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack.