Saturday, November 22, 2008

'Bolt' Review

Bolt is the first movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios that has been under the "Lasseter/Catmull Regime" from beginning to end, and you can tell. Bolt has loads of laughs, tears, action, and, best of all, heart.

The movie starts out in the heat of the action, then you suddenly realize that all of this action is completely falsified for a TV program. After that, you are thrust into the story of a dog named Bolt. He is the star of a hit TV show, and believes all of his powers to be real. He escapes from his trailer one day after filming, and our adventure begins.

The whole adventure follows Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) as he finds his way back home to his human Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus). Along the way he meets some hilarious pigeons and he befriends a sarcastic cat named Mittens and a hyper hamster named Rhino.

During their adventure, Mittens convinces Bolt that he is not a superdog. This starts one of my favorite parts of the movie, a cat has to teach a dog how to be a dog. Mittens shows Bolt how to play fetch, stick his head out of the car window and do all kinds of other dog things. It is very ironic and entertaining.

One of my favorite characters is Rhino the Hamster. He is a big fan of Bolt, so he tries to help him take out the bad guys. It is really funny how the tiny rodent in a plastic ball acts so tough and confident for the entire movie. Rhino is my favorite character.

During the movie, I could really see that John Lasseter worked on it. For one, there was way more heart and story than Chicken Little or Meet the Robinsons. Also, there were two certain instances that were especially Toy Story-esque. When Mittens is convincing Bolt that he is not a superdog, it is almost identical to the scene in Toy Story where Woody tries to convince Buzz that he is a toy, not a space ranger. Also, when Mittens talks about how she was left behind and forgotten by her family, it is very similar to the part in Toy Story 2 when Jessie tells her sad story of being left behind to Woody. Here is Jessie's Story from Toy Story 2, and it is almost identical to Mittens' story in Bolt:

Bolt was a truly great movie. As Walt Disney put it, "for every laugh there should be a tear"--and there was. It was full of hilarious moments caused by coincidence, circumstance, and characters (mainly Rhino). A lot of the jokes were so funny because they were based on "pet things" that we encounter every day. It was much, much better than Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons, which were also Disney Animation Studio films. The only difference is that this was the first film under the new "regime", so hopefully this is a sign of things to come, and I know it will be, since Lasseter focuses mainly on the thing that matters: story. During Bolt you really cared and about each one of the characters, the movie had a lot of heart. I am also glad to see the classic Steamboat Willie Logo for Walt Disney Animation Studios before the movie (although the short before it was oddly missing). Anyways, I'd give Bolt a 9 out of 10.


Friday, November 21, 2008

A Video Tour of John Lasseter's Awesome Office

John Lasseter, as you know, is now the Chief Creative Officer for Walt Disney Animation Studios. has a really great tour of Lasseter's office led by John himself. He shows off the awesome art that covers his walls, talks about bringing the studio back to its roots, and speaks about Walt Disney Animation Studios' new movie, Bolt!.

Another awesome thing from the video is the stationary set that John Lasseter has. In addition to having a cool, vintage letterhead, each sheet of paper has an original sketch on the back of it. They are amazing!

Be sure to check out the really interesting video of John Lasseter's office. You can find the video here.

Also be sure to check out these interviews with Lasseter from /Film and

Source: Upcoming Pixar


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Doc Hudson and Slinky the Dog are Getting New Voices

Pixar is in some trouble. The actors who voiced Doc Hudson (Paul Newman) and Slinky the Dog (Jim Varney) are both deceased. Pixar is in the planning stages of Toy Story 3 and Cars 2, so the obvious question arises, "What to do about the lack of voice actors for your characters?"

MTV got the answers from John Lasseter.

He starts off by commenting that Paul Newman was unable to record any dialogue before his death. He has this to say about Mr. Newman:

It's been really sad because I had a great friendship with Paul, and he was so impressive to work with in 'Cars' — [he] really made that character. So I have fond, fond memories of him. Not only did he make a great character, but he became a great friend of mine too, so I'm gonna really miss him.
John Lasseter says that they still don't know what they will do about Doc Hudson's voice in their upcoming feature, Cars 2. He comments that they aren't even sure if the mentoring automobile will make an appearance in the 2011 release.

Toy Story 3 has a similar problem. Jim Varney, the voice of Slinky the Dog passed away in 2000. Pixar still doesn't know how they'll deal with this dilemma either, but Lasseter comments that "we found actually an old friend of [Varney's] who sounds an awful lot like him — another actor that's going to be doing that voice."

Jim Varney (left) voicing Slinky the Dog for 'Toy Story'

So, there ya have it, another possibility may be a replacement, or they could write him out too, which would be an awful shame; I like Slinky the Dog.

It is very sad that two talented actors passed away so suddenly, but I am curious to see how Pixar will deal with this predicament. But, whatever the case, I am sure that Pixar will continue to make quality movies for everybody's enjoyment; they always have and they always will.

Source: The Pixar Blog


Friday, November 7, 2008

New 'Up' trailer Released

Here's the trailer for Disney/Pixar's newest feature film, Up. This teaser is awesome and will appear before Bolt on November 21st. Enjoy!