The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/3D Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 96 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Voices of: John Travolta, Miley Cyrus, Greg Germann, Susie Essman, Mark Walton, Malcom McDowell
Directed by: Byron Howard & Chris Williams
Music by: John Powell
Written by: Dan Fogelman & Chris Williams
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 8, 2011
"Real life is a total adventure"
Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) is the star of the biggest show in Hollywood. The only problem is, he thinks the whole thing is real. When the super dog is accidentally shipped to New York City and separated from Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus), his beloved co-star and owner, Bolt springs into action to
find his way home. Together with his hilarious new sidekicks Rhino (voiced by Mark Walton) – Bolt’s #1 Fan – and a street-smart cat named Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman)Bolt sets off on an amazing journey where he discovers he doesn’t need super powers to be a hero.
I reviewed Bolt when it was released on Blu-ray in March 0f 2009. Other than the addition of the 3D Blu-ray version this combo pack is the same. Many of my comments from that review are contained here.
I have been a fan of Disney’s animated feature films for some 40 years now. Not only do they consistently look great but they tend to be family oriented and offer positive messages targeted toward young impressionable minds. Bolt is a live action TV star who has been enhanced with super strength, speed, laser beam emitting eyes, and a devastating “super” bark capable of leveling buildings. He and his assigned “person” Penny regularly save the world from dire peril as he protects her from harm. The only problem is that Bolt has no idea that all of this is fiction and special effects as part of a TV show that he is the star of. No one, not even Penny, is allowed to divulge this to him. He lives in a mobile home/trailer that is kept on the show’s set. The show is written so that at the end of each episode Bolt saves both Penny and the day from the evil “Green eyed man” Dr. Calico and his minions. The network decides that in order to boost ratings and make the show more attractive to a broader audience it should end with a cliff hanger that leaves Penny’s fate uncertain after she is captured by the Dr. Calico. They do this at the conclusion of the next show without prior notice to Penny.
When Bolt see’s this he launches into a quest to find her and accidentally gets trapped in a box that is being shipped to New York City. Once there he finds himself in unfamiliar territory but has complete faith that with his super powers he will recover Penny. He ends up meeting up with an alley cat named “Mittens” (Essman) and initially forces her to help him get back to Penny while under the belief that she is one of Dr. Calico’s lackeys. Reminiscent of Buzz Lightyear and Woody in Toy Story, Mittens tries to get Bolt to realize that he doesn’t have powers and that he is part of a TV show. Early on, sheer coincidence and fortunate happenstance reinforce Bolt’s beliefs however things slowly begin to erode them. Just when things look especially grim they meet up with Rhino in an RV park. Rhino is a hamster and avid TV watcher that is a huge Bolt fan who totally believes in him. When he sees Bolt he excitedly convinces him (sort of) that anything is possible for the wonder dog and that they must recover Penny right away (with his help of course). The story continues as the three of them trek across the country while dealing with dog catchers, hunger, and finding shelter.
There is more to the story but I don’t want to completely give away the store. The film runs the gamut from adventure, to drama, to comicalness. The premise is certainly nothing new but the character development is good and dialogue is cleverly written. The blend of action/drama/comedy is right on target which helps to keep interest high for kids and adults alike. Of course the characters are adorned with Disney’s requisite visual style that just seems to perfectly suit them and the actors supplying their voices. The scene where Mittens shows Bolt how to beg for food is just priceless. Rhino is a complete scene stealer and the pigeons (on both coasts) are a hoot. I appreciated the careful establishment of the relationship between Mittens and Bolt as their friendship is integral to the story. I admit that the plot is formulaic but it is conceptually strong and the good far outweighs the familiarity. I think Bolt is a warm, charming and fun film that the whole family can enjoy. This four disc set from Disney includes the 3D Blu-ray, previously released standard Blu-ray (with bonus content), DVD and Digital Copy.< /p>
The rating is for mild action and peril.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
3D Presentation: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Depth (Onscreen):
- Dimension (Beyond the screen):
- Color reproduction:
Bolt 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.1 Mbps.
I watched Bolt in 3D directly after watching Meet the Robinsons and found that both presentations shared many of the same attributes. In comparing my notes I saw that many of my comments were the same. I tip my hat to Disney on the quality of these to 2D to 3D conversions. They add an enriching element that positively enhances the enjoyment of these animated films. Here are my thoughts from that review:
So far the majority of 3D converted films that have come to Blu-ray haven’t blown me away however the last few from Disney have proven surprisingly good and Bolt keeps the streak alive with this rewarding 3D presentation. The animated elements retain much of their 2D splendor and look terrific especially in terms of delineation and contrast. Detail is well preserved as the image retains its high level of clarity as objects within the frame are refined and sharp. Depth is appreciable as evidenced by the notable separation of objects/characters layered in the foreground/background. There isn’t a consistent array of pop out of the screen effects but there are instances where objects extended beyond the screen to create a virtual sense of dimensionality. This revolves primarily around the more active scenes however it isn’t limited them. Comparing color reproduction to the 2D presentation I saw no discernible difference. I didn’t notice any overtly distracting signs of ghosting/crosstalk and found this to be a fun and involving 3D adventure.
Disney has been consistently offering lossless audio on their Blu-ray discs since the early days of the format. Lately they have begun to include DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks and I have to say that I am liking it. The movie opens in a rather quaint scene that takes place in a pet store. It closes and slowly fades into chapter two. Chapter two quickly throws you into a dynamically charged sequence that is enhanced by bass response that energizes and actively engages the room on a subterranean level. The music score is blended with the sound effects to create an active, totally immersive and enriching surround sound experience that is truly rewarding. John Powell’s rousing music is an essential component to this soundtrack as it helps to intensify the action with its energetic instrumentation, thunderous bass drum, and modern, synthesized rhythms. The surround mix makes regular use of the entire system platform to bring the elements in this film into the room with sublime articulation and discretely placed sounds that seamlessly mate with the onscreen events. Low frequency effects accentuate the music, sound effects and dynamic presence of the audio with aplomb. The effects produce bass response that is demonstrative as it occasionally reaches transient levels that dip into the low 30HZ and upper 20HZ sub bass regions. The front and rear sound fields are cohesively integrated so that panning sequences achieve a seamless blend regardless of direction. Dialogue, music, and the plethora of sounds within the recording are cleanly reproduced with discernible distinction and directional spacing that enhances perception. The great example of this occurs in the finale during the fire at the studio. This segment sounded incredibly nuanced, with impeccable near filed correlation and an almost infinite feeling of dimension. The quiet moments sound just as detailed as the active ones in this intelligent and impressive sound design that offers high resolution sound quality and extended dynamic range that simply rocks.
2D Video Quality:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Bolt comes to Blu-ray from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps
This is the second animated feature that has garnered a perfect technical rating from me and the first from Disney. This is a beautifully crafted digital film that looks amazing in high definition. The attention to detail in the design of the animated characters physical features as well as objects within each frame was impressive. There is a scene later in the movie where Bolt, Mittens and Rhino are in the back of a truck during an evening rain storm. I could see lots of fine detail in the droplets of rain bouncing off of the hard surface of the truck’s body and in Bolt’s fur as it blew in the wind and began to become saturated by the rain. Colors are rich, vibrant, well balanced and visually stimulating. Blacks are stable, with ink like depth, and visible gradational stages. During chapter 12 the trio passes through Las Vegas at night. The scene culminates with a fireworks sequence against the nighttime sky above one of the hotels. This segment looked stunning as the wide variety of colors popped against the bright, crisp contrast of the hotel lighting and deep dynamic black of the sky background. Images had incredible dimensional perspective thanks in part to the use painted rather than simulated backgrounds. There is a scene in chapter 11 when Bolt and Rhino stand on a ridge in the moonlight looking down on an animal shelter. This quick shot has discernibly deep image penetration as the two characters are set in the foreground with the moon, cloudy sky and scenery serving as a perceivably multi-layered backdrop. Crisp definition and razor sharp focus allow all of the texture, subtle delineation and high resolution inherent in this digitally created film to be fully appreciated. This is a blemish free, resplendent, high gloss video presentation that won’t disappoint.
- (HD) Bonus short: Super Rhino – 4 minutes offered in 5.1 surround
- (HD) 2 Deleted scenes with optional Directors Introduction – Storyboard drawings
- (HD) In session with John Travolta & Miley Cyrus – 1 minute
- (HD) “I thought I lost you” music video
- Bolt’s Be Awesome Mission – Interactive game
- (HD) A new breed of Directors: A filmmaker’s journey – 4 minute documentary on 1st time directors Byron Howard & Chris Williams
- (HD) Act, speak!: The voices of Bolt – 9 minute featurette
- (HD) Creating the world of Bolt – 6 minute featurette
- Bolt art galleries
- Character design
- Color script
- Storyboard art
- Visual development
- DisneyFile Digital Copy Bonus Disc
- BD-Live enabled
- Bonus DVD of Bolt
Disney has another winner in Bolt. Its blend of action, warmth, and well timed humor makes it a perfect family film that can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of age. Disney has once again proven that they are capable of delivering Blu-ray Disc presentations of the highest order. Bolt is a reference quality audio/video presentation that is sure to engage even the most discerning enthusiast. This four disc offering includes the original standard Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy release along with a new 3D converted high definition video transfer that enhances the viewing experience of this entertaining animated adventure. If you have a 3D capable setup this Blu-ray release from Disney merits consideration for inclusion in your collection.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
Hey Ralph, I was wondering why you were calling this and Meet the Robinsons "conversions" when I thought they were released in the movie theatre in 3D when they first debuted...
Feel free to correct me if I'm asking a dumb question or if I have the wrong impression of what a "conversion" is
I appreciate the review as always
What is the meaning of life?
Agreed - the first 10 minutes or so are perfect demo material. My 2 year old daughter loves that whole chase sequence.
"To give the film's 3D backgrounds a hand-painted look, the company artists used new patented technology designed specifically for the film"
Will you be reviewing Chicken Little on your JVC? I have read reports about BAD ghosting.
Tom, I am not planning to review Chicken Little 3D. If I get the time I will take a look at it and let you know.
I picked up the 4-disc Bolt set from Amazon and was relieved to see that the 3D disc has boosted brightness and color levels compared to the 2D disc. The earlier bundled 3D exclusive had no such boosting and looked dim. Another example of why it's important to have separate 3D and 2D discs.
Thanks for that info. I'm tempted to buy it again if that's the case. Sucks cuz I have the exclusive disc already. Was that the only difference you noticed? Is the audio the same?
Far as I can tell everything else is the same. I no longer have the original 3D release though, so I'm going by memory.
.... Just saw the 2D Bolt and I totally get the score of 100. Luscious visuals and sound.
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