Welcome to the Disney Revival Rundown! This week, we at Rotoscopers are analyzing some of the most recent Disney animated films and looking at what makes each one so great. At the end of the series we will have a fan vote to determine which film is the best of them all!
was a step in the right direction for Disney Animation, then 2008’s
is that one movie that helped Disney Animation to refine itself. It is the movie which reminded the studio (and us) that as long as you have a touching, heartfelt story, strong characters, and a spark of creativity, magic can happen.
At the center of the story is one of Disney’s most adorable canines. The titular character (voiced by John Travolta) is the star of a top-rated TV show, where he shares adventures with his on-screen owner Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus). The thing is, Bolt thinks the TV show is all real. When he gets lost one day and ends up at the other side of the country, he teams up with a sarcastic cat and a fanboy hamster and together they make their way back to Hollywood,
is its story. Part buddy comedy and part road trip, the story is always engaging and never lags. There is no real villain, and the main character’s journey to self discovery feels like classic Disney. Although it’s mostly a familiar, breezy, and lightweight film, there are some intense moments (notably the climax) which definitely leave you at the edge of your seat and tug at your heartstrings
You’d think that a movie without any real villain would be quite a bore to sit through, but
is so enjoyable that we hardly feel the need for an antagonist. The action scenes are slick and fast-paced (although most occur within a TV studio). These action scenes are hilariously contrasted with Bolt’s feeble attempts to use his superpowers in real life. What’s more, we also get a behind the scenes look at a popular TV show, and at producers who will do anything to keep the show running. As a lifelong animal lover, I also love the theme of having a pet as part of your family, and the selfless loyalty that dogs show to their owners.
are what make the movie so fantastic and enjoyable. Bolt spends half the movie confused as to who he really is, to much comedic effect and resulting in a satisfying character arc. Mittens the cat is delightfully sarcastic and is the only ‘grounded’ character among the main animal cast. And then there is the breakout character, a hamster hilariously named Rhino, who spends his days watching TV in his plastic hamster ball. Needless to say, he can’t contain himself in the presence of his hero, Bolt. None of the characters are too complex, yet we still feel for each one of them and root for them on their individual journeys to happiness.
is more than worthy of carrying the Disney brand. It’s clear that Disney Animation put a lot of effort into making sure that the film looked top-notch for its time. And, for a movie released in 2008, it’s great. Animal fur looks particularly realistic, while textures and environments look pleasing. It’s evident that a lot of this film’s technology was ported over and polished in 2010’s
In fact, these two movies do share a lot of visual similarity, notably the soft lighting effects and backgrounds that have a hand-painted feel.
was the first time in a while that we saw that creative spark back in an in-house Disney animated movie. Clearly responsible for this boost in quality is John Lasseter, who was named Disney Animation boss back in 2006. Under him and his insistence on substance over style, Disney Animation slowly began to rise back to the top (where it rests today). In fact, for its animation quality and top-notch writing,
could easily pass for a Pixar movie. Not to mention that some of the pigeons in the movie actually reference
If its warm critical response and commercial performance (worldwide $310 million) are any indication,
was a success. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Picture, losing, of course, to a certain Pixar robot movie.
still remains one of those animated movies I could watch several times without getting bored or sick of it. It never fails to make me laugh out loud, and still makes my heart melt whether it’s my 5th or 50th time watching it.
is a testament to the new Disney animation philosophy: great stories, endearing characters, and appealing animation. It may not be the ‘best’ modern Disney animated movie (in fact, it’s totally underrated), but it’s definitely up there with some of the all-time greats
and, without a doubt, its success helped propel Disney Animation back to the top.
@IAmGaryWright It was probably the first animated film in the Canon that was praised for its story in a long time.
@IAmGaryWright For some reason, it just feels like a Pixar movie – it probably helped with John Lasseter being involved, I guess ^^’
your favorite movie from Disney’s Revival Era?
i dont get how it has the same critical success as Frog and better box office success than Frog, and yet Disney fans refuse to count it as part of the Revival.
That, and I think Bolt was the first Disney film to get an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature in some time. Bolt’s only problem is that it is kind of forgettable, but it’s not a bad film.
I liked Bolt a lot, and think it’s a little underrated. I see what people are saying about it being forgettable, but I don’t think it should be on the level it is on today.
I actually would have liked to see the movie that Chris Sanders had in mind before he left Disney.
I love this movie! I agree with you totally, this did feel like a Pixar movie. I think it was because, at the time, Pixar was the one putting out the high quality animation while Disney was sadly lagging behind. To see a film that was this good, with the “Disney Animation” label on it, well, it sort of made you do a double take. All I can say is thank God for John Lasseter. He just might’ve saved Disney’s butt.
Not might have. He did help save Disney. But the real person to thank is Bob Iger. He is the reason why Disney is Disney today and I appauled him for that
I just saw bolt a month ago and its tight dudes. Pretty righteous stuff in it man.
My biggest problem with Bolt (though it isn’t a huge problem) was that Penny was voiced by Miley Cyrus. Her voice really didn’t seem to fit Penny at all and her acting was not very good. Otherwise, I really like the movie when I watch it, but I don’t watch it very often
Originally the person who played her as a young girl also recorded her older self. But they rerecorded it with Miley for name value.
Couldn’t agree more. Plus, looking at the type of person she is now sort of ruins the sweet innocent Penny for me. I do adore Travolta as Bolt though. I’m surprise he hasn’t done more voice work. There was a strength and sensitivity in his voice.
I would have rather seen Chris Sander’s American Dog than this movie. It sounded more interesting than what we got.
I like Bolt, but it’s probably my least favorite movie of the revival era. But then again I’ve only seen it once.
Having seen this again, it isn’t really that funny, but it has its quirks and charms. American Dog could have been a more attention-grabbing film, but Bolt’s fine as it is. Just get Miley’s cash grab performance out of here.
I saw this movie last year for the first time. I was pleasantly suprised. It’s a fun and light hearted movie.
I love this movie and it was all because of Mittens. That cat was so deep and interesting of a character, she’s kinda similar to Vanellope, Calhoun, and Elsa, in terms of having a heart-tugging back story, that I wished that they explore her more and how she became who she was by the time Bolt and her met. Also, that’s what I noticed about Disney’s Revival movies, most of them had interesting and relatable deuteragonist, that honestly I like them more than their movies’ main characters like Charlotte, Tadashi, and the rest I mentioned above.
Argh, this was on Disney XD yesterday. Kicking myself for not checking it out!
Never seen this, but one of my friends says it’s pretty good and I trust her taste in movies.
I liked Bolt! It was a good Disney film, very cute and it had a lot of heart. You can definitely tell here that Disney was getting back on track after the nice but forgettable Meet the Robinsons and GOD AWFUL Chicken Little. My only problem with the film is Miley Cyrus as Penny, obviously shoved in at the last minute just because of Hannah Montana. That…really bothered me, but luckily she hardly appears in the film so it’s okay!
I don’t really like Bolt, only because of Miley Cyrus and thats it, I mean I enjoyed the animals but I hated that a Disney Channel star is in this and I might never really enjoy it cuz of that
Sorry but Disney Channel is the killer of what could have been a genuine Disney flick
I always forget this movie was even made… It was a very forgettable movie in my opinion… But that’s just my opinion. It had it’s moments, but it was one of those “meh” Disney movies to me. :/
I like this movie, but I personally consider it a very forgettable film.
God dammit!!!!!!!!!! I need to rewrite this two times all ready but my opinion on the movie is it is number two on my favorite movies of all time it is a bow wow time when you watch this now I cannot think of any dog puns
Bolt is fantastic. I held it in high, high regard when it first released simply because it was the best product from Disney Animation in a long while. Today I don’t think it’s *as* good as I thought it was at first, but I still adore it. Great characters (both main characters and the ones we see briefly), and the opening sequence is a visual treat that I could watch all day. It’s a special film, for sure.
I like this film, but my admiration is tainted by what it could have been. Chris Sanders’ American Dog looked and sounded so much better than what Bolt was. I struggle with the same this with The Emperor’s New Groove; Kingdom of the Sun would have been a much better film. But Bolt is enjoyable.
No mention of John Powell’s fantastic score? IMO, it’s one of the best ever for a Disney film.
Don Hall & Chris Williams: ‘Big Hero 6′ Sequel a Possibility, But Not Yet in Development
Use the hashtag #RotoShirt on Instagram to have your photo featured here!