Bolt Parent Guide
This charming animation presents an insightful comparison between the fantasy realm of television and the truth of the real world.
Parent Movie Review
It seems all it takes is a little sprinkling pixie (make that Pixar-style) dust to recreate the kind of movie magic that once oozed from the Disney animation department. This film’s executive producer, John Lasseter, is one of the geniuses behind the Pixar hits Cars, Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. Now he’s channeled his creative talents into the story of a dog named Bolt who has a difficult time distinguishing between reality and fiction.
Bolt (voice by John Travolta) lives inside a trailer plastered with pictures of him and his “person” Penny (voice by Miley Cyrus). Unbeknownst to him, the mobile home is parked on the set of a TV show. His daily attempts to keep Penny safe from the clutches of Dr. Calico (voice by Malcolm McDowell) are only staged so they can be secretly filmed for a television action series. His superpowers, including the ability to jump long distances, stop speeding cars with his head and avoid a barrage of bullets, are really the result of some technical maneuvering on behalf of the unseen production crew. But for all Bolt knows, he is a superhero. (For all young audience members may know, Bolt is also in real mortal danger during the action-packed, explosive opening scenes of this story.)
However, when Bolt escapes his artificial surroundings and is mistakenly shipped across the country, he is forced to face the rude realization that life hurts. Determined to get back to his “person”, Bolt first has to come to the truth about his identity. That happens partly because of an alley cat named Mittens (voice by Susie Essman) he attempts to coerce into helping him find his way home. Somewhere during their continental voyage, he and Mittens also meet Rhino (voice by Mark Walton), a corpulent hamster who has spent way too much time caged up in front of the TV. Making his way around the world inside a plastic ball, the rotund rodent joins the expedition fully believing he is in the presence of a superhero.
Offering an engaging mix of adult and child-friendly humor, this cross-country road trip, though relatively predictable, introduces a whole new cast of enjoyably quirky characters. For parents (or teachers), Bolt also presents an insightful comparison between the fantasy realm of television and the truth of the real world that even grade school kids are likely to understand.
Moments of peril (including the depiction of a child and animal caught in a burning building), along with scenes of explosions, car chases, rocket-launching helicopters and other brief, violent interactions may give parents some reason to pause before taking their youngsters to see this film. Yet as Bolt sheds his television identity for that of a regular mutt, the transformation from superhero to real hero makes great family entertainment for almost all ages of dog lovers.Directed by Byron Howard, Chris Williams. Starring John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Susie Essman, Mark Walton.. Running time: 96 minutes. Theatrical release November 21, 2008. Updated July 17, 2017
Rating & Content Info
Why is Bolt rated PG? Bolt is rated PG by the MPAA for some mild action and peril.
The opening scenes of the film provide plenty of explosive action as Penny and the technologically-altered Bolt are chased by cars, motorcycles and helicopters that launch missiles at the pair. Bolt uses his superpowers to stop a car and flips it over on its roof. Criminals kidnap a man and threaten to blow up a gas truck driving beside a school bus full of children. An army of soldiers (with electrified gloves) and combat vehicles attempt to surround Penny and Bolt before the dog disables them. Several soldiers are crushed and others appear to be dead. Motorcycles and helicopters also explode while in action. One character is electrocuted. Bolt threatens to drop a man in a car from a bridge. Outside of the studio, Bolt is nearly hit by a truck, falls in a hole, runs into a fence and hits a window while trying to pull off his superhero stunts. He also threatens to throw a cat into oncoming traffic. He and Mittens jump from a moving vehicle and later fall off of a speeding train. A man is sprayed in the face with pepper spray and another is hit with a flying object that causes a sign to fall on a truck and explode. A child and animal are caught in a burning building. Animals face rejection from their owners. Brief name calling and taunting are included in the script. A couple of very mild sexual comments are made.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
Bolt Parents' Guide
What does Bolt learn about being a hero? Does he have to have superpowers to help others?
Differentiating between the fantasy of television and the reality of life outside of the studio is a challenge for Bolt. How does he react when he learns the truth about his abilities? What new qualities does he discover in himself? What does Rhino never come to understand about Bolt?
What examples of friendship are found in this story?
The most recent home video release of Bolt movie is November 8, 2011. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: Bolt- 3D
Release Date: November 8, 2011
Bolt releases on November 8, 2011 in a Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo Pack, Extras includes:
- Animated short film: Super Rhino
- Game: Bolt’s Be-Awesome Mission
- Behind the scenes feature: In Session With John Travolta and Miley Cyrus
- Music video: I Thought I Lost You (Performed by Miley Cyrus and John Travolta)
- Creating The World of Bolt
- A New Breed of Directors
- Deleted scenes with optional introductions by the directors
- Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt
- Bolt Art Gallery
Release Date: 24 March 2009
Bolt strikes the home video market in three editions. The single-disc DVD release offers the movie and the short film Super Rhino.
The two-disc DVD version provides the short film plus deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes (A New Breed Of Director: A Filmmaker’s Journey, Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt and Creating The World of Bolt). You can also watch Miley Cyrus And John Travolta in studio singing I Thought I Lost You. The package includes a DisneyFile Digital Copy.
Bolt on Blu-ray has all the extras found on the 2 disc DVD (along with the DisneyFile Digital Copy), as well as the interactive features Bolt’s Be-Awesome Mission Game and Disney BD-Live.
Related home video titles:
Like Bolt, Buzz Lightyear has to eventually acknowledge he is an action figure rather than a real space commander in Toy Story. For older audiences, The Truman Story is also about a man who unknowingly lives in a fabricated society where he is constantly under surveillance by cameras that broadcast his life to TV audiences. The canine and feline worlds are at war in the film Cats & Dogs.