My kid’s crazy about dogs, so the last three movies we went to see in the theater all centered on canines. While Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Hotel for Dogs were live-action films, they were not nearly as lively (or recommended) as the animated Bolt, a film kids and adults should all enjoy.
Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) plays a dog with superpowers on a popular TV show, which also features his young owner as his co-star. From the time he was a pup, he’s been led to believe he really is a superhero, a ruse his owner and handlers pull off by keeping him in the tightly controlled environs of the studio set, all for the sake of keeping his on-screen performance as believable as possible – he never knows his on-screen adventures are pure fiction. (If this plot sounds familiar, perhaps you’ve seen The Truman Show, which is much more existential and angsty than Bolt.)
Through a series of mishaps, our hero ends up on his own thousands of miles from his owner and known life, and must find his way back, with the help of a streetwise cat (with abandonment issues akin to Jessie’s in Toy Story 2) and superfan hamster (who also stars in the cartoon short exclusive to the Bolt DVD, which includes a hilarious send-up of Hannah Montana, Bolt voice actress Miley Cyrus’s alter-ego). He also has to come to terms with the truth about his superhero abilities, sometimes discovering the truth midway through some harrowing situations on his cross-country journey.
Bolt’s a lot of fun, and possesses more charm and depth than most films aimed at the family audience. If you’re a dog lover, you may want to see all those films I'd mentioned having seen on the big screen – but Bolt’s the only one that’s not a real dog.