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"BOLT"
(2008) (voices of John Travolta, Miley Cyrus) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None Minor Heavy *Moderate Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Heavy None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
None None Mild Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Animated Comedy/Action: The canine star of an action TV show doesn't realize he's really just an actor when he ends up separated from his human and sets off on a cross-country trek with a duo of unlikely helpers to rescue her.
PLOT:
Bolt (voice of JOHN TRAVOLTA) might not be a big dog, but he has super-canine powers that he puts to good use in battling the scheming villain, Dr. Calico (voice of MALCOLM McDOWELL), who repeatedly tries to kidnap Bolt's human, Penny (voice of MILEY CYRUS). Little does Bolt know, however, that his identity and entire experiences are just part of a TV show carefully constructed to prevent him from seeing any of the behind-the-scenes dealings.

Accordingly, when network executive Mindy (voice of KARI WAHLGREN) orders that the show's consistently happy endings - that don't sit well with adult viewers - be changed, the Director (voice of JAMES LIPTON) ends one episode with Calico successfully nabbing Penny. Thinking that's real, Bolt escapes but ends up knocked unconscious in a box that's shipped from Hollywood to New York City.

There, Bolt sets out to find Penny, but can't understand why his usual powers have disappeared. Even so, and thinking she works for Calico, Bolt kidnaps streetwise alley cat Mittens (voice of SUSIE ESSMAN) and the two set off on a cross-country trek back towards Los Angeles. Along the way, they pick up Rhino (voice of MARK WALTON), an overzealous hamster and huge fan of Bolt's who eagerly offers his assistance. From that point on, they race back to Hollywood, unaware that Penny's Agent (voice of GREG GERMANN) has replaced the missing star with a lookalike dog.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's a good bet many younger ones will, especially if they like computer-animated films featuring talking animals.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For some mild action and peril.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BOLT is the dog star of an action TV show, but doesn't realize that's the case (he thinks he has super powers and that Dr. Calico and everything that happens in the show is real). When he ends up separated from Penny, he must travel across the country to rescue her, all while dealing with a lack of his usual powers and then the realization that he isn't who and what he's always thought.
  • PENNY is his human costar and owner who's concerned when he ends up missing and is replaced with a look-alike dog.
  • MITTENS is a sardonic, streetwise alley cat whose life of being a mafioso of sorts to a bunch of pigeons is disrupted when Bolt kidnaps her in belief that she works for Calico and thus can help him find Penny. She initially fears him until she realizes who and what he is, and then tries to convince him of just that.
  • RHINO is an overzealous hamster and big fan of Bolt's who accompanies him and Mittens on their cross-country trek and shows a lot of courage and pluck despite his diminutive size and mostly having to travel around in his plastic exercise ball.
  • DR. CALICO is the Bond-esque villain in Bolt's TV show.
  • THE AGENT is Penny and Bolt's talent agent who doesn't want the dog to know he's just an actor and then callously replaces him with a look-alike when Bolt goes missing.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this computer-animated comedy that's been rated PG. While there's no profanity, various colorful phrases are present. Violence consists of footage from the faked TV show within the movie where villains try to kill a talking dog superhero character with machine guns, missiles and more, while slapstick style material (along with various hard falls, bounces, etc.) is also present.

    The aforementioned action sequence might be unsettling and/or intense for younger viewers who might not initially understand they're just seeing a faked TV action scene in production, and other moments of potential peril (including one featuring a girl and her dog trapped inside a burning building) might have similar results.

    Bad attitudes are present (mostly in the faked TV show within the movie), some behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate, and there's a tiny bit of crude humor as well as some brief, tense family material.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Another dog sniffs Bolt's butt, shocking the TV star who's never experienced that. The other dog apologizes, asking if Bolt wants to smell his first. Later, Bolt is disgusted when he's apparently been informed by Mittens that dogs drink out of toilets.
  • Bolt wonders what the red liquid is on his paw and Mittens informs him it's blood, but we never see it.
  • There's slobber all over Rhino's plastic exercise ball (with him inside it) as a dog has it in its mouth, playing with it.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The Agent won't allow Penny to take Bolt off the set (not wanting the dog to realize his world isn't real).
  • The villains in the faked TV action show within the main film have bad attitudes.
  • Two actor cats, knowing that Bolt doesn't realize he's just an actor and that his entire world is faked, taunt the dog by playing on his suspicions (doing so twice).
  • We learn that Mittens acts like a mafioso toward various pigeons, providing protection to them in exchange for food, but Mittens is upset when they don't bring enough and threatens to eat them if they fail again.
  • In a montage of Bolt begging for food in an RV park, Mittens tries the same but an unseen person throws a skillet at the cat (missing her, and played for laughs).
  • We hear that Mittens was left behind by her human owners.
  • Some young viewers might worry when Penny's agent replaces Bolt with a look-alike dog and tells Penny to let go of Bolt and move on.
  • Penny's mom kicks the Agent out of an ambulance to the street (for him trying to profit off Bolt earlier rescuing Penny from a burning set).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling, suspenseful or maybe even scary to younger viewers but probably few others.
  • In the opening sequence (that's really just part of the fake TV show, but initially is presented as reality to fool viewers), Penny's scared-looking dad calls Penny, thus worrying her. We then see that the father is restrained, while Bolt and Penny follow a character down a dead-end alley. When that person disappears, Bolt and Penny turn to see a car at the end of the alley. When it races toward them, Bolt runs into it head-first, sending it flipping through the air, over Penny, and it lands on its roof. We next see Bolt dangling that car (and the man in it) over the edge of a bridge (to get him to talk). Heavily armed helicopters then pursue Bolt and Penny (on a scooter) off the bridge and through a city. Men on motorcycles (with electrical charges emanating from their claw-like hands) then join the chase, trying to shock the two who swerve through traffic and then blast through a wall to elude the bikers who wipe out at that hole in the wall. However, the chase continues, with one biker accidentally shocking another who wipes out, while Bolt fires lasers from his eyes to hit a machine gun being set to shoot him, causing the chopper it's on to crash. Another chopper fires a missile at Bolt but misses, while various choppers explode and Bolt jumps over a chopper's spinning blades (seen in slow motion) and a biker accidentally shocks himself and wipes out. Many bikers, other vehicles and choppers then have Bolt and Penny surrounded, but the dog lets out a sonic wave bark that blasts all of that backwards, leaving much wreckage behind (but we then see that it's all just been faked on a soundstage).
  • Thinking he has super powers, Bolt prepares to head-butt an approaching truck, with its driver slamming on the brakes and barely missing the dog.
  • Needing further transportation, Bolt and his companions jump from a bridge down toward a passing train beneath them, first swinging on a banner to get there. They land hard on the train, with Rhino rolling along the top toward the edge, while Mittens dangles from a ladder (first upright, then extended out) on the end of the caboose. Bolt rescues Mittens but then is out on that ladder as the bolt holding down one side starts to come loose and then the ladder swings around to the side and appears will hit an approaching trestle. All three end up falling off the train and land hard as they bounce along to a stop.
  • An animal control officer captures Bolt and Mittens, with the latter dejectedly stating that cute dogs like Bolt get adopted from shelters, but cats that look like her don't ever come out (presumably a veiled reference to euthanasia).
  • Some young viewers might worry when Penny's agent replaces Bolt with a look-alike dog and tells Penny to let go of Bolt and move on.
  • Bolt is dejected -- after traveling across the country to save her -- when he sees Penny with his replacement, not realizing her happiness is just faked for a scene in the TV show.
  • As part of a scene from the TV show, Penny is strung up above the set that then catches on fire when Bolt's replacement accidentally causes the fire. Everyone gets out but Penny (who manages to get down off the hoist but is still trapped), with Bolt going in to rescue her. They avoid a burning chopper that falls toward them, but Penny, coughing and weak from all of the smoke, can't get out through an air vent to escape, meaning Bolt lies down beside her. During this, Mittens rescues Rhino just in time from being crushed in his plastic exercise ball from heavy debris that's fallen on it.
  • In a scene from the TV show, Bolt shoots lasers from his eyes to disarm Calico who's menacingly approaching Penny with a large syringe. He then knocks down Calico.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Machine guns/Missiles: Used to attempt to kill others and cause property damage in the faked TV show within the movie. See "Violence" for details.
  • In the TV show, fully costumed guard characters carry sci-fi type futuristic weapons.
  • We see a rifle held by a figure in a statue.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Let's put a pin in it," "Hello, hairballs," "She's a goner, dog," "I was like, what, then I was like, huh?" "He's gonna be freaking out all night," "Do you want to sniff mine first?" "He's got his melon stuck," "That's one stuck melon," "This is ridonkulous," "Absolutely ridonkulous," "Your deal just expired," "Listen, Cujo," "Don't make me bring out these bad boys," "Now move your butt," "That information is classified," "I suggest you pipe down," "Are you mad?" "I'm all discombobulated," "You're a degenerate creature of darkness," "This is stupid," "Sucker," "You're fully awesome," "You are vile vermin," "I eat danger for breakfast," "You moron," "That's preposterous," "Go nuts," "Yoink," "I swear it's like I work with toddlers," "What is twisting your giblets?" "I am b-awesome," "This is totally awesome," "Oh snap," "Hollerback," "Don't freak out," "It's a good day to die" and "Not on my watch, rodent."
  • Some of the action might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate.
  • A character in the TV show has what looks like a tattoo on the back of his head.
  • In a montage of Bolt begging for food in an RV park, Mittens tries the same but an unseen person throws a skillet at the cat (missing her, and played for laughs).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful, some ominous, action-oriented, and some heavily dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • None.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • In the opening sequence (that's really just part of the fake TV show, but initially is presented as reality to fool viewers), Penny's scared-looking dad calls Penny, thus worrying her.
  • Penny's mom worries about her when the girl can't be found during a fire on the set.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The director's comment that if Bolt believes in what's occurring around him in the show (that he thinks is real), the audience will also believe it.
  • An animal control officer captures Bolt and Mittens, with the latter dejectedly stating that cute dogs like Bolt get adopted from shelters, but cats that look like her don't ever come out (presumably a veiled reference to euthanasia).
  • We hear that Mittens was left behind by her human owners.
  • VIOLENCE
  • In the opening sequence (that's really just part of the fake TV show, but initially is presented as reality to fool viewers), Penny's scared-looking dad calls Penny, thus worrying her. We then see that the father is restrained, while Bolt and Penny follow a character down a dead-end alley. When that person disappears, Bolt and Penny turn to see a car at the end of the alley. When it races toward them, Bolt runs into it head-first, sending it flipping through the air, over Penny, and it lands on its roof. We next see Bolt dangling that car (and the man in it) over the edge of a bridge (to get him to talk). Heavily armed helicopters then pursue Bolt and Penny (on a scooter) off the bridge and through a city. Men on motorcycles (with electrical charges emanating from their claw-like hands) then join the chase, trying to shock the two who swerve through traffic and then blast through a wall to elude the bikers who wipe out at that hole in the wall. However, the chase continues, with one biker accidentally shocking another who wipes out, while Bolt fires lasers from his eyes to hit a machine gun being set to shoot him, causing the chopper it's on to crash. Another chopper fires a missile at Bolt but misses, while various choppers explode and Bolt jumps over a chopper's spinning blades (seen in slow motion) and a biker accidentally shocks himself and wipes out. Many bikers, other vehicles and choppers then have Bolt and Penny surrounded, but the dog lets out a sonic wave bark that blasts all of that backwards, leaving much wreckage behind (but we then see that it's all just been faked on a soundstage).
  • In the TV show (that Bolt thinks is real), Bolt knocks some guards backwards and delivers a karate chop to another.
  • Not realizing he really doesn't have super powers, Bolt goes to blast through a closed window headfirst, but bounces off that, knocking himself silly. Later, and once in NYC, the same happens when he rushes toward a chainlink fence. He also tries delivering a karate chop to a man he thinks is a villain, but the contact isn't more than a tap in reality. He then tries leaping over a construction zone, but ends up falling into the hole (we don't see the impact).
  • Falsely told that Mittens knows where Penny is, Bolt pins the pooch back against a trashcan, and then dangles her off the side of a bridge to make her talk. He then has a leash tied around Mittens and pulls her around the city, including into a mailbox by accident.
  • While traveling inside a truck, Mittens finds a baseball bat that she intends to use on Bolt in order to escape, but she falls backwards. Bolt then jumps from the truck, thus yanking Mittens along via the leash around her, and both land and roll hard.
  • Bolt pins Mittens to the ground.
  • In a montage of Bolt begging for food in an RV park, Mittens tries the same but an unseen person throws a skillet at the cat (missing her, and played for laughs).
  • Needing further transportation, Bolt and his companions jump from a bridge down toward a passing train beneath them. All three eventually end up falling off the train and land hard as they bounce along to a stop.
  • Bolt tries to get out of an animal control truck by banging head-first into the cage door, but only progressively knocks himself silly doing so. He tries one last time, with Rhino then opening the cage from the outside, inadvertently causing Bolt to fly out and land hard on the ground.
  • An animal control officer slips and falls on dog slobber, knocking himself out. A ball then flies out and hits a compressed air canister that shoots outside and hits a sign that falls on a truck that explodes from that contact. Surprised by all of that, one guard then sprays another guard in the face with pepper spray or something similar.
  • As part of a scene from the TV show, Penny is strung up above the set that then catches on fire when Bolt's replacement accidentally causes the fire.
  • Bolt accidentally knocks down his agent in passing while running by him.
  • Penny's mom kicks the Agent out of an ambulance to the street (for him trying to profit off Bolt earlier rescuing Penny from a burning set).
  • In a scene from the TV show, Bolt shoots lasers from his eyes to disarm Calico who's menacingly approaching Penny with a large syringe. He then knocks down Calico.



  • Reviewed November 12, 2008 / Posted November 21, 2008

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