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Bolt in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Bolt

THE STARS:
(voices) John Travolta • Miley Cyrus • Susie Essman • Mark Walton
DIRECTOR: Chris Williams, Byron Howard

Bolt, Mittens and Rhino THE CONCEPT:
For super dog Bolt (Travolta) every day is filled with adventure – at least until the cameras stop rolling. Unaware that he’s the star of a TV show and really doesn’t have super powers, when Bolt is mistakenly shipped from his Hollywood soundstage to New York City, he begins his biggest adventure – a cross-country journey through the real world, to be reunited with his owner and co-star Penny (Cyrus).

With two unlikely companions, an abandoned housecat named Mittens (Essman) and a TV-obsessed hamster named Rhino (Walton) Bolt discovers he doesn’t need superpowers to be a hero.

U.S. RELEASE: November 21 2008, Nationwide
• Rated: PG

THE COMMENTS:

Bernie Mac, Isaac Hayes and Samuel L Jackson
JOHN TRAVOLTA:

“My good friends have done great animated features, Tom Hanks did Toy Story, Robin Williams did Aladdin, and I was competitive in a certain way, if I was going to do an animated feature, I was going to do a great one. John Lasseter was involved in this, Miley was involved, and I thought, ‘Geez, this is starting to look really like a high end animated feature, and maybe this is the one to say yes to.’ When I read the script I couldn’t really imagine what it would end up like, because it’s only in the animator’s imagination. This was a new process for me, and although I had done radio and television voiceovers as a kid, I had not yet gone on the journey of discovering how animated features are put together.”

JOHN LASSETER (Executive Producer):
Tough guy Bolt“We were able to tap into a lot of the great roles that John has played for Bolt. He’s played real heavies, real tough guys, but there’s an innately likeable, genuine, sweet side to John that always is there, and so I think we knew that he was going to be the right guy to play Bolt.”

MARK WALTON:
Rhino and Bolt“As some people have said, playing Rhino might have been a little bit of type casting. There wasn’t a whole lot of reaching or effort for me to get into the excitable, nerd, fan boy geek, because that’s pretty much me if you know me very well.”

CHRIS WILLIAMS on how Mark got the role:
“The way we work is we’ll do scratch dialogue with the intention of somebody replacing it with the real actor that comes from outside. Mark [who is a visual development artist at Disney] had been doing the scratch, and obviously the search was over, he was fantastic. We wanted to find a way to tell him and we wanted it on camera, so we set up a mock recording session, we told him we were going to re-record a line, and we changed the end of the line to say, ‘And I’m the voice of Rhino.’ So Mark goes through the line and he’s all hyped up and suddenly he stops when he gets to that part of it, and he looks at me and I said, ‘You’ve got the part,’ and he went bananas, we have it all on tape.”

WALTON:
“I love animation, I’ve always loved Disney and having the chance to work at Disney in the first place is pretty much an incredible dream I didn’t ever imagine would come true. Then getting to be a character voice in a Disney film, and as a funny, well written, well animated character, it’s not hard for me to generate a lot of enthusiasm.”

SUSIE ESSMAN:
“What attracted me to Mittens in the first place was her story arc and how much she changes, and I feel like she almost has the moral authority of the film, she’s the voice of reality of the film, because Bolt is delusional because he’s been misinformed. Once I find out he’s not crazy, then I develop this incredible compassion for him and the friendship starts to evolve. I think the emotional arc of the film is the friendship between Bolt and Mittens. And I think what Mittens learns from Bolt is all about friendship, trust and loyalty. In spite of everything, he wants to get back to Penny, even when he knows he’s not a super dog and he knows she’s lied to him, he is loyal to his person. And the cynic that I am, I learn from him to trust and become a loving, trusting kitten again, which I think is so important.”

LASSETER:
“The central argument of the movie is the idea of making connections and the risks and the rewards that come with making those connections, really played out between Bolt and Mittens. They had to play well together, and we really needed chemistry between all three of those animals on their journey, so we were thrilled to get our first pick with every [actor].”

WILLIAMS:
“As the animation was done on Susie’s character of Mittens we were shocked at how emotional you got as you watched her story play out, and that revelation that she makes late in the second act about her back story was so touching - it was very well performed.”

TRAVOLTA:
“When you’re doing it you really don’t get a sense of the impact you’re creating, you’re just hoping that the animators like your choices and they find the one out of a hundred takes that is going to be the one for the movie. When I saw the movie I cried five times and I laughed probably a ton more than that. I just didn’t know how clever this movie was in the doing of it. It left me as an audience touched and wanting to go home and hug everybody I loved, including my pets.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Bolt site
Images above © Walt Disney Pictures
Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #701, November 2008 cover

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