In a year with "Wall-E" and "Kung-Fu Panda," it's easy to overlook a movie like "Bolt." Disney's most recent venture sans Pixar finds a dog who has been led to believe he is actually the superhero he portrays on television. When he accidentally finds his way from Hollywood to New York, he must return home to rescue his person.
This is standard Disney fare. Blah blah blah friendship blah blah blah love blah blah blah be yourself. It's all pretty standard, but its wrapped in a shell that is just fun enough to be entertaining. The colors are bright and crisp, which seems to be a theme in the new non-Pixar Disney movies, if "Meet the Robinsons" is any indication. The voice acting was excellent, as well. Within a few minutes, I had forgotten that I was listening to John Travolta and was instead listening to Bolt. With a distinctive voice like his, that's a pretty big feat, one helped a lot by the pacing of the story and the visual effects.
I don't think "Bolt" would rank any higher on my list that any Pixar movie, even a weaker showing like "Cars," but it is an enjoyable film that kids will love and an adult will enjoy while its on.
"Inkeart" takes us to a world where Brendan Frasier's character has the power of the "silvertongue," which causes the things he reads aloud from a book to be transferred from the book into the real world. When one of the villains he accidentally read out wants him to do some more reading, Frasier and his daughter have to save the day.
You may notice that I didn't put the name of any of the characters above. That's because I forgot them, which is really representative of the entire movie. It is mostly forgettable. With that said, there are some cool aspects. The visuals were pretty spectacular, with the exception of the minotaur. All the animals in the menagerie of half-read animals were realistic looking, but the minotaur looked like an oversized muppet. The CGI was impressively decent, given the quality of the rest of the film.
On the other hand, it felt like the movie could never decide what tone it wanted. There were little comedic bursts awkwardly placed throughout what was mostly a dramatic second and third acts, and the prostestations of the great-aunt were over the top most of the time. Of course, some of this can be forgiven since this film seems largely made for children, but the issues are there all the same.
This is a movie that I should have loved. I love books, I love reading, and I love all things "Wizard of Oz" (which in this movie includes flying monkeys and the twister). Unfortunately, it could never find its legs and present anything memorable. I don't think it was a particular waste of time, but it sure wasn't a good use of 90+ minutes.