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Bolt (3D in some cinemas) (DQ)


Stars: Voice stars: John Travolta, Susie Essman, Miley Cyrus, Mark Walton, Malcolm McDowell, Greg Germann, Diedrich Bader, Kari Wahlgren

Director: Byron Howard, Chris Williams

I have to admit that computer-generated cartoons have never completely won me over. For all their 3D images, there's something strangely inanimate about their look and movement, something that makes you long for another glimpse at the classic 2D work of yesteryear.

The feeling is accentuated in Bolt, in which the canine hero (voiced by Travolta) resembles not to so much a dog as a series of related shapes. That grumble apart, the film has 2D wit and warmth at its heart, and there's a lot to entertain us in its largely fast-paced story of a small-screen doggy star who comes to believe that the super-powers he demonstrates in his TV series are real, especially his ability to outrun cars and the super-bark which confounds his enemies.

Alas, once on an adventure in the real world, Bolt soon comes to realise he has paws of clay, and must reply heavily on a dreaded cat, the sardonic Mittens, voiced by Essman who steals the show. They're joined by a demented hamster in a plastic bubble and combine in an effort to find and defeat the evil Dr Calico (McDowell) from Bolt's TV show, whom the deluded dog imagines has captured his beloved mistress Penny (Cyrus).

Good supporting characters - especially the pigeons - and superior 3D effects (see it in this medium if you can) ensure Bolt's 103 minutes speed by in no time.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Technicolor.
103 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 12 Feb 2009