Just had a chance to audition Disney's new Blu-ray/DVD package of Bolt, the mostly amusing Six Million Dollar Dog cartoon starring the voices of former Sweathog John Travolta and (I can't prove this, but I'm convinced) Spawn of Satan Miley Cyrus. And speaking as somebody formerly agnostic about the superiority of the Blu-ray medium, I have to admit -- I'm impressed.
But first -- Steve's Movie Reviews!!!©
Knowing -- Loud, incoherent and unpleasantly creepy. And that's just the lead performance by Nicolas Cage!
Monsters vs. Aliens -- Thank goodness as much imagination went into the screenplay as went in to the title.
But I digress.
Oh yes, Bolt. First things first: No, it's not a classic on the order of Ratatouille or Wall-E. The premise is amusing -- adorable but clueless dog thinks he's actually the super-canine he plays on a hit TV show -- and it's worked out fairly cleverly, but in the end the script devolves to the usual Disney kiddie uplift platitudes about unlocking your potential and following your dreams (what Mel Brooks, as The 2000 Year Old Man, nailed as "You are who you are -- if you think you are.") That said, the animation is often breathtaking, and the opening action sequence -- a ten or fifteen minute chase across New York and San Francisco cityscapes, with the titular dog pursued by black-helmeted motorcycle villains -- is actually better than any comparable live-action stuff in a real James Bond flick to date.
Here's a clip to give you an idea what I'm talking about.
In any case, the Blu-ray version is stunning, and I say that (as mentioned above) as a former Blu-ray agnostic. Yes, I thought, it's an elegant format, and all the interactive stuff is cool, but none of the discs I've seen up till now looked more than incrementally better than their DVD counterparts (full disclosure: I felt the same way about high end laserdics versus DVD's when they were introduced). This one, however, is inarguable -- the images are sharper, the colors more vivid, the background more detailed; watching the DVD, good as it is, after the Blu-ray, is like watching the film with vaseline smeared across your glasses (okay, an exagerration, but you get the idea).
The Disney 3-pack comes with a downloadable digital disc, in case you want to watch the thing on your iPod (and if you do -- mazel tov!), and there are the usual bonus making-of documentaries, deleted scenes and a Travolta/Cyrus music video (the latter supporting my theory about the hellish origins of the Hannah Montana star). None of them are essential viewing, but you'll probably find them interesting at least once.
In any case, you can -- and perhaps should -- order the package here. And prepare to have your proverbial socks forcibly removed.