Monday, 26 October 2015

Bolt (2008)

I'd like to think that I am pretty good about meeting a movie halfway on its premise.  You want to tell me a story about how toys come to life when no people are around?  Okay.  Aliens with acid for blood, you say?  Fair enough.  A dog who thinks it's a superhero?  I'm down with that.

A dog who thinks it's a superhero because the people running the TV show it is on have meticulously concealed that it's all fiction in order to ensure the purity of the dog's performance?

That ping you just heard is my suspension of disbelief snapping.

Quite why this ridonculous - to use a word the film is fond of - bit of over-writing was left in the script, I'm not sure.  "Bolt thinks it's all real" is not a plot point that needs all this embellishment.  He's a dog: they're not exactly known for their critical thinking, except as it relates to (a) getting more noms or (b) getting more scratches.  Perhaps they were worried that if they didn't explain it, people would call Bolt "Buzz Dogyear".

Whatever the reason, Bolt thinks the TV show he is on is real, so when the script has his human co-star get kidnapped, he sets out to rescue her.  And to be fair to the film, once his quest brings him into contact with Mittens the alley cat, we get an often funny tale with some good odd couple comedy.  In fact, it's good enough that I was willing to let the bad first impression slide.

But then it cops out on the ending, and leaps straight to the aftermath, and I was left to facepalm on my couch.  Here's a hint to the film-makers: when the static images over your end credits have more emotional depth than the last two minutes of your film, something has gone wrong.  Also, good job on destroying the obvious TV spin-off opportunity in the process, guys.

Much of Bolt is good, but the whole package doesn't quite gel in the way that a Frozen or Wreck-It Ralph does.  Still to be honest if you have kids they'll probably love it anyway, so ignore the 'not recommended' if you have little ones.

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