It is no secret that I am a sucker for good animated films — especially those of the CG Animated variety. In fact, both Pixar’s WALL-E and Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda are still among my favorite films of 2008 — and that’s no easy task, as it has been a pretty good year in film thus far, and we’re only in September. But as I look out over the landscape of film that will bring 2008 to a close, there isn’t a whole lote for fans of good animation to get excited about. We recently saw the release of Igor from The Weinstein Company, which was a dud; we also have Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa from Dreamworks hitting on November 7th, and that promises to be mediocre at best; and then there is this film from Walt Disney Animation that has very recently caught my eye — a clever little tale about a Hollywood dog who believes that he is a superhero in real life. It is called Bolt, and it looks like it might be just the right movie to cure my end of the year animation blues.
First, it was the trailer that caught my eye:
Bolt comes to us from the team of first time directors Byron Howard and Chris Williams, who have been around Disney, working as animator and story board artist respectively. It will feature the voices of John Travolta in the title role, as well as Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus, Malcolm McDowell, Nick Swardson, Susie Essman, Greg Germann and James Lipton — yes, that James Lipton. Also, oddly enough, it will feature a character voiced by “Macho Man” Randy Savage — who will undoubtedly snap into some sort of beef stick.
As you can see, it doesn’t sport a big name voice cast. In fact, a movie headlined by John Travolta and Miley Cyrus isn’t really much to shake a stick at. Travolta’s better days are behind him and even though she has become a paparazzi darling thanks to some leaked underwear photos, I wouldn’t call Miley Cyrus a serious box office force just yet. Although, there was that Hannah Montana concert movie in 3D — that seemed to play well among the tween crowd. Her presence could help, but I wouldn’t expect Bolt to be selling out theaters all winter long on Miley’s account.
What could help push Bolt along though, is some slick animation from the Disney team, the same team that worked well on Meet the Robinsons. In fact, Bolt has a visual vibe to it that is reminiscent of both Meet the Robinsons and The Incredibles, the latter of which is considered to be one of the best animated films of all-time. But The Incredibles, of course, had that Pixar magic, something that Disney has been unable to harness since it bought Pixar in 2006.
Could Disney finally be getting closer to having a “Pixar-quality” animated feature? Its hard to say just yet, but based on the trailer seen above and the extended clip below, which was released today by Yahoo Movies, I’d say they’ve got one film that could be on its way.
Disney’s Bolt is in theaters on November 21st.
What do you think of the footage released so far from Disney’s Bolt?