Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 47
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
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For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

HANG ON TIGHT SO WE CAN CATCH THIS TRAIN: Bolt (center,John Travolta), together with an alley cat (left, Susie Essman) and a hamster (Mark Walton) make a daring leap onto the oncoming train as part of their hazardous journey back to Bolt’s home in Hollywood.

Bolt: Movie Magic Aplenty in Animated Adventure Available in 3-D

Kam Williams

Bolt (John Travolta) is a normal dog who thinks that he actually possesses the superpowers he displays as the hero of a TV action series. The white German shepherd doesn’t know the truth because, since he was a puppy, he’s been raised on a set that is specially rigged to make him believe that he really has the ability to perform such amazing feats as subduing bad guys with his devastating bark, or melting steel with his penetrating heat vision.

These illusions have never been a problem for Bolt because he’s never had contact with the outside world. The only world he’s ever known is the insulated studio environment in which he’s the pet of Penny (Miley Cyrus), the actress who plays his crime-fighting partner. She resents the show’s director (James Lipton) who goes to great lengths to keep up the charade. So much so, that he even denies her requests to take Bolt home with her over the weekends.

Everything changes when Bolt slips out of his cage one day and, after a comedy of errors, accidentally ends up in a box that is being shipped to New York City. A rude awakening lays in wait for Bolt because not only are the streets of Manhattan mean, they prove to be even tougher for a dog who thinks he has an arsenal of extraordinary powers at his paw tips.

Thus unfolds Bolt, an enchanting animated adventure that’s fun for the whole family. Available for screening in either a flat or 3-D format, it is this critic’s suggestion that you opt for the latter. Otherwise, you will miss an opportunity to appreciate the state-of-the-art techniques that provide a visual experience that is worth the price of the 3-D glasses. You will find yourself ducking to avoid vehicles hurtling in your direction or reaching up to grab dangling objects that appear close enough to touch.

Special effects wizardry aside, this uplifting tale provides many heartwarming messages about honesty, loyalty, humility, faith, and other virtues. The children will learn about what matters most in life as they watch Bolt adjust to the fact that he really doesn’t have any superpowers.

Bolt reluctantly befriends an alley cat (Susie Essman) and a hamster (Mark Walton), who agree to help Bolt find his way back to Hollywood. En route, the unlikely trio bond together as they encounter and overcome the many obstacles placed in their path on their way to a joyous reunion with Bolt’s mistress Penny.

Another instant children’s classic from Disney!

Excellent (4 stars). Rated PG for mild action and scenes of peril. Running time: 96 minutes. Studio: Walt Disney Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

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