Bolt - Good Dog, Good Movie

Filed under: Movies

When we went to see Bolt on Friday night, we took friends who just found a little lost kitty in a tree in their backyard. My friend was firm in her commitment not to become its new owner, should it's original family not be found. But after meeting Mittens, Bolt's partner in heroism, even I -- a dog lover with two cats -- momentarily thought about taking in a stray.

Bolt is the star of his own action series. He uses his superpowers -- heat vision and a "superbark" to protect his beloved person, Penny from the Green-Eyed Man. But Bolt has never been off the set, and he believes his powers -- and Penny's danger -- are real. When Penny is "kidnapped" by her nemesis, Bolt freaks out and escapes his trailer to find her.


Our hero captures Mittens the cat (believing she's involved), a stray who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. She promises to bring him to Penny just to save her own skin. They also befriend a chubby hamster named Rhino, a fanboy who is possibly even more deluded about Bolt's superhero status than the dog himself. Together, they cross the country to reunite Bolt with Penny.

The movie starts out in high gear, with a pretty powerful action sequence. It's probably a bit much for the younger crowd -- explosions, helicopters falling out of the sky, danger, and so on. What I loved about this part of the movie, though, was seeing a girl in the lead role. My five-year-old daughter was happily on the edge of her seat.

The action slows down once Bolt escapes, and so does the movie. It took far too long, I think, for Bolt to realize he was a simple canine, and those scenes got a little redundant. Watch for the pigeons, though, who steal scene after scene, and for Rhino, who deserves his own spin-off. ("I eat danger for breakfast," my daughter told me, as I poured her Rice Krispies this morning.) The scenes where Mittens teaches Bolt how to be a regular dog are especially heartwarming.

(Warning: If kids movies have spoilers, then the following may be one.) The action scenes return at the end, including a dramatic fire and last minute rescue, but be assured there's a happy ending for all. So happy, in fact, that this animal lover may have had a tear or two in her eye when the credits finally rolled.

Things to consider: Parents will like that there's no swearing or masked sexual innuendo, like in so many children's films. The adult humor is funny enough to keep parents chuckling, but not inappropriate. Parents who want to avoid violence or high drama may not like the opening and ending action sequences, though besides these two scenes, there is little danger or violence.

Finally verdict? I loved it. My kids loved it. And I'm sure we'll be watching it again (and again and again) when it comes out on DVD.


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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.