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November 21, 2008
PG for some mild action and peril.
Starring: Voices of Miley Cyrus, John Travolta, Susie Essman and Mark
Recommended age: 5+
Overall PTC Traffic Light Rating: green
Fire, explosions, crashes, fantasy violence, mild threatening
atmosphere, slapstick violence
your butt,” “twisting your giblets”
Mild bullying, very mild scatological and animal humor
is a dog who believes he is endowed with incredible superpowers – lightning
speed, heat-ray vision and a mighty “superbark” – who defends his owner Penny
against the evil genius Dr. Calico, who wants to rule the world. There’s just
one problem: none of it is true. In fact, Bolt is an ordinary dog starring on a
TV show, and doesn’t realize his mighty feats are all done with special effects.
When Bolt is accidentally shipped to New York, he believes Penny is in danger
and sets off across the country to save her. Along the way he is befriended by
street-smart alley cat Mittens and wacky hamster Rhino, who idolizes Bolt for
his TV heroics. Though he learns that his TV “powers” are not real, Bolt
discovers that with true friends, anything is possible!
opens with an incredible action sequence from Bolt’s TV program, showing the
“super-powered” dog and Penny evading and destroying armies of the evil Dr.
Calico’s henchmen. Soldiers, cars, trains and helicopters are all destroyed in
explosions and crashes in a sequence of super-powered action which is easily the
equal of similar scenes from movies like The Incredibles. This scene
contains some menacing overtones which might be mildly frightening to very young
children. However, this “violence” is fantasy-based, and furthermore is revealed
to be mere movie-making. Once Bolt goes on the road, he and his friends confront
mild perils like being locked up in an animal shelter and hitching rides on (and
falling off of) moving vehicles. One sequence involves several human animal
pound officers attacking one another with pepper spray and culminates with an
explosion, though that scene and most others are slapstick and played for
laughs. Toward the end of the movie, Penny and Bolt are trapped in a
realistically-rendered building fire, though they are rescued and emerge
There is no sex or
foul language in the movie, though at one point a character tells another to
“move your butt,” and the animal shelter guard asks barking dogs, “What is
twisting your giblets?” When first seen, Mittens exhibits mildly bullying
behavior, threatening pigeons and ordering them to bring her food; but she gets
her comeuppance when Bolt drags her off on his adventures. The movie also
derives humor from typical “animal” behavior: in New York, a dog introduces
himself to Bolt by sniffing his rear, then saying, “Do you want to smell mine?”;
dogs drool on a ball, which then hits a man in the face; and when Mittens takes
Bolt inside a house and explains how “normal” pets behave, they are shown
standing in front of a toilet. “Out of that?” Bolt exclaims
premise does require an understanding of the difference between movies
(involving acting and special effects) and real life. Very young children who
are not familiar with such distinctions may find it difficult to understand some
of the plot – but this is not a matter of offensive content, and children will
still enjoy the action, humor and camaraderie between Bolt and his friends. The
film also contains some wickedly sharp (though family-friendly) satire intended
for adults in the audience, much of it aimed at entertainment industry
stereotypes and their obsession with the “18-35 demographic.”
is a delightful movie experience, combining thrilling, action-packed 3-D
adventure with both heartwarming sentiment and laughter. The Parents Television
Council is proud to award Bolt the PTC Seal of ApprovalTM.
The PTC recommends this movie for viewers over age five.
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