Okay, two warnings here: 1) Major spoilers and 2) I’m a cynic.  That being said, “Let it begin!”

Bolt is a dog, adopted by Penny that ends up the star of a TV show where he has superpowers, but in order so that the director can get a realistic performance from the dog, he goes to amazing lengths to make sure Bolt thinks it’s all real.  Things get complicated when, during an intense new cliffhanger episode, Bolt escapes his handlers and tries to find Penny, thinking she’s in danger.  He accidentally gets mailed to New York and has to travel back across country to find Penny.   Along the way, he kidnaps Mittens, an alley cat who he thinks is evil and teams up with Rhino, a hamster with a taste for action.  It’s a fun a movie with solid performances and mind-blowingly good animation.  Your kids will probably like it and you’ll find it pretty watchable.

The down side is, the story does have some holes.  Beyond the suspension of disbelief that animals talk to one another and become friends, a few odd things happen.  For instance, the director goes through all this trouble to get a real performance from Bolt, but when Bolt goes missing, he replaces him with another dog.  Seemed out of character for all the trouble the director was going through.  And can you really tell me that the director has to go through such an elaborate ruse to convince a DOG that Penny’s in trouble?  I’ve known dogs that growl at people just for standing next to their owners.

Rhino is the best character in the movie, mainly because he never stops believing that Bolt has superpowers except maybe at the very end.  When Bolt realizes he’s on a TV show, it’s kind of a let down.  I think it would’ve been a better movie if Bolt somehow kept his “world” in tact without the awkward realization scenes of Mittens explaining reality.

Some of the best scenes are from the fake TV show, but I guess if the plot revolved around a “real” super dog it would’ve been more formula.  Also, there’s this bit at the end where a group of pigeons pitch Bolt some show ideas and it somehow actually get used.  Didn’t really get how that could happen.  Seems to break the rules of their own universe.

Also, they skip over things like why Mittens and Rhino end up in Penny’s house at the end.  Why Rhino isn’t disappointed that Bolt doesn’t have superpowers.   Also, when Penny’s mom quits the show for Penny, it seems that the blame should really fall on the agent, not the show.  Why not just fire him?

Seems like every writer in Hollywood is all about the journey and the change in the character.  But why does the change always have to be let’s live happily-ever after on a farm because being friends is so great?  Why can’t you be friends AND still be rich on a TV show?

Another thing that bugs me (I know, I’m really picking this apart, but…) why is it that when movies get produced for kids, they center around situations that only an adult would envision?  Case in point, Bolt is part of a TV show that centers around a dog.  When’s the last time you saw that?  The 50’s?  Then Penny’s looking for Bolt, she’s the star of a big TV show, so naturally she goes to the copy place to photocopy fliers to hang around the studio?  The network is missing the star of their show and they do almost nothing to find the dog.  Seems to me, a kid that starred in a major TV show would be more savvy and have more resources at her disposal.

Still, I’m nitpicking.  Bolt is an okay Pixar entry, not the best, but decent.   This wiki entry about the movie may explain why it didn’t speak to me as well as some of my other fellow movie goers.  I give Bolt 4 kegs out of 10.