I’m not sure that Bolt qualifies as a “classic” but it may well prove to be the best family film of this holiday season.
Bolt (John Travolta) is a dog who stars in a TV show about a dog with super powers. Being ignorant about how special effects work, he thinks that he actually does have super powers. Due to a series of unfortunate events he gets loose and ends up being shipped in a box across the country to New York City. If he is to be reunited with his beloved Penny (Miley Cyrus) he must make his way back across the continent, aided by a street-wise alley cat (Susie Essman) and a deluded hamster (Mark Walton).
This is lightweight material with a predictable ending, but it’s funny and charming. The animation is also pretty good–and I say that as one who is not a great fan of 3-D computer-generated animation.
This is by Disney, not Pixar (the two studios share a corporate parent, but are separate.) I think that Disney has actually pulled ahead of Pixar in animation quality, particularly in the animation of human characters. The human characters in Bolt look much better than the human characters in Pixar’s WALL-E, and are quite good enough for this sort of action-comedy. (They aren’t good enough for something like Beauty and the Beast, but as far as I know nobody in this country is interested in doing anything like that, so it probably doesn’t matter.)
I do have one problem with the animation: they seem to have some problems maintaining a consistent scale for the characters. I’m thinking in particular of one shot where Bolt looks almost as big as Penny. Usually he’s not much bigger than the cat. I would think that would be the one thing that’s easiest to get right with CGI animation.
However that’s a minor technical quibble and it does not really detract from the movie, which is a lot of fun.