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Bolt
Bolt ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
  • Chris Williams
  • Byron Howard
Produced by Clark Spencer
Screenplay by
  • Dan Fogelman
  • Chris Williams
Starring
Music by John Powell
Editing by Tim Mertens
Studio
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date(s) November 21, 2008 (2008-11-21)
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $150 million
Money made $310 million

Bolt is a 2008 American computer animated comedy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 48th Disney animated feature film. Directed by Chris Williams and Byron Howard, the film stars the voices of John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Malcolm McDowell, Diedrich Bader, Nick Swardson, Greg Germann, Susie Essman and Mark Walton. The film's plot centers on a white dog named Bolt who, having spent his entire life on the set of a television series, thinks that he has super powers. When he believes that his human owner, Penny, has been kidnapped, he sets out on a cross-country journey to "rescue" her.

Bolt was released in the United States on November 21, 2008. Despite a relatively marginal box-office performance, the film received a strong positive critical reception and is renowned for playing an important role in instigating what is widely referred to as the Disney Revival, as well as setting the studio in a new creative direction that would lead to other critically acclaimed features such as Tangled (2010) and Frozen (2013).

This was one of the final film roles for James Lipton before his death on March 2, 2020, the other being Igor, which was released the same year.

The film was nominated for a series of awards, such as the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film and Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.

Plot

A White Shepherd puppy named Bolt is adopted by a eight-year-old girl named Penny. Five years later, Bolt and Penny star in a hit television series called Bolt, in which Bolt uses various superpowers to protect Penny from the villain, Dr Calico. To gain a more realistic performance, the show's producers have deceived Bolt his entire life, arranging the filming in such a way that Bolt believes everything in the show is real and that he really has superpowers, including a devastatingly powerful sonic scream-like "superbark". After a cliffhanger episode causes Bolt to believe Penny has been kidnapped, he escapes from his on-set trailer in Hollywood but knocks himself unconscious in the process and is trapped inside a box of foam peanuts which is shipped to New York City.

In New York, Bolt resumes his search for Penny and, much to his dismay and confusion, finds out the hard way that his "superpowers" are useless. He encounters Mittens, a cynical feral cat who bullies pigeons out of their food. Believing Mittens to be an “agent” of Calico, Bolt ties her to him with a leash and forces her to guide him back to Penny — Mittens being convinced her captor is a lunatic — and the two start their journey westward by truck. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, a less experienced Bolt lookalike is brought in so filming can resume. Penny is genuinely distraught over Bolt’s disappearance but reluctantly agrees to halt the search so production can continue.

Surprised at his first feelings of hunger, Bolt is shown by Mittens how to act like a cute but needy dog, obtaining food for them both at an RV park. They are joined by Rhino, a fearless hamster and fanatical Bolt fan. Rhino's unwavering faith in Bolt substantiates the dog's illusions about himself, but allows Mittens to figure out Bolt is from a television show. She tries to tell Bolt this, but Bolt simply becomes frustrated as everything he believed to be real starts to crumble around him. Attempting to "superbark" her repeatedly, the noise draws the attention of an Animal Control patrol and Bolt and Mittens are both captured and taken to an animal shelter.

Bolt, freed from the patrol van by Rhino, finally realizes and accepts that he is just a normal dog, but regains his confidence after Rhino (oblivious to this revelation) exhorts him to heroism. They rescue Mittens from the shelter, and as they continue west, Bolt and Mittens form a close friendship in which she teaches Bolt how to be an ordinary dog and enjoy typical dog activities. Mittens makes plans for the three of them to stay in Las Vegas, but hearing Bolt is still drawn to find Penny, she tells him Penny is only an actor, and humans never truly love their pets, and eventually betray and abandon them, as happened to her. Bolt refuses to believe her and continues on alone to Hollywood; but Rhino encourages Mittens to stand by him as friends and they follow shortly after.

Bolt reaches the studio and finds Penny embracing his lookalike, unaware that Penny still misses him and her affection for the lookalike is only a part of a rehearsal. A broken-hearted Bolt leaves, but Mittens, on a gantry in the studio, sees Penny telling her mother how much she misses Bolt. Mittens follows Bolt and explains. At the same time, the Bolt lookalike panics during the show's filming and accidentally knocks over some flaming torches, setting the sound stage on fire with Penny trapped inside. Bolt arrives and the two reunite inside the burning studio, but are unable to escape before Penny begins to suffocate from the smoke. Penny begs Bolt to go but Bolt refuses to leave her. Bolt uses his "superbark" through the building's air vent, alerting the firefighters to their location and allowing both of them to be rescued in time.

Penny and her mother quit when their overeager agent proposes they exploit the incident for publicity purposes. The show continues with a replacement "Bolt" and "Penny" and a bizarre new storyline involving alien abduction. Penny adopts Mittens and Rhino, and she and her family move to a rural home to enjoy a simpler, happy lifestyle with Bolt and her new pets.

Cast

  • John Travolta as Bolt, a White Shepherd who lives his whole life believing he is a superhero until he finds himself in the “real world” for the first time.
  • Susie Essman as Mittens, a sarcastic and feisty alley cat who reluctantly joins Bolt and Rhino on their journey.
  • Mark Walton as Rhino, an adorable but ferocious hamster who is also a Bolt super-fan.
  • Miley Cyrus as Penny, Bolt's beloved owner and his co-star on the hit TV show, Bolt.
  • Malcolm McDowell as Dr. Calico, the evil mastermind on Bolt and Penny's TV show.
  • Nick Swardson as Blake
  • Diedrich Bader as Veteran Cat
  • Greg Germann as The Agent, Penny's agent who never listens to anyone else's opinion but his.
  • James Lipton as The Director
  • Randy Savage as Thug
  • Kari Wahlgren as Mindy
  • Grey DeLisle as Penny's Mother
  • J. P. Manoux as Tom
  • Brian Stepanek as Martin
  • Jeff Bennett as Lloyd
  • John DiMaggio as Saul
  • Jenny Lewis as Assistant Director

Music

Bolt
Soundtrack album by
John Powell
Released November 18, 2008 (2008-11-18)
Genre Score
Length 36:59
Label Walt Disney
Walt Disney Animation Studios chronology
Meet the Robinsons
(2007)
Bolt
(2008)
The Princess and the Frog: Original Songs and Score
(2009)

The score to Bolt was composed by John Powell. The soundtrack featured the film's score and two original songs – "I Thought I Lost You" by Bolt's stars Miley Cyrus and John Travolta (nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song on 2009) as well as "Barking at the Moon" by Rilo Kiley singer Jenny Lewis. The soundtrack was released on November 18, 2008.

Although Motörhead has a song in the film, they do not seem to appear in either the soundtrack or the score. Motörhead's song "Dog-Face Boy" (from their Sacrifice album) is in a mailroom scene where a young worker is listening to it on his headphones and inadvertently wraps Bolt up in a box that gets shipped off to New York City.

Track listing:

All music composed by John Powell, except as noted.

No. Title Artist Length
1. "I Thought I Lost You" (written by Miley Cyrus and Jeffrey Steele) Miley Cyrus and John Travolta 3:36
2. "Barking at the Moon" (written by Jenny Lewis) Jenny Lewis 3:17
3. "Meet Bolt"     1:49
4. "Bolt Transforms"     1:00
5. "Scooter Chase"     2:29
6. "New York"     1:44
7. "Meet Mittens"     1:25
8. "The RV Park"     2:14
9. "A Fast Train"     2:38
10. "Where Were You on St. Rhino's Day?"     1:58
11. "Sing-Along Rhino"     0:42
12. "Saving Mittens"     1:02
13. "House on Wheels"     3:07
14. "Las Vegas"     2:01
15. "A Friend in Need"     1:13
16. "Rescuing Penny"     3:09
17. "A Real Life Superbark"     0:46
18. "Unbelievable TV"     1:20
19. "Home at Last/Barking at the Moon (Reprise)"   Jenny Lewis 1:29
Total length:
36:59

Video games

Disney Interactive Studios produced a video game based on the film, released in November 2008 for Nintendo DS, Wii, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. The game focuses on Bolt's fake TV life, not the actual storyline. A separate game was released for mobile phones, and a third game, RhinoBall, was released as an application on Apple's App Store.

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