I haven’t seen the Day the Earth Stood Still, but I loved this review. Highlight:
Discussing the acting in “Earth” is something of an exercise in pointlessness — Reeves does a lot of wooden staring while speaking in a monotone, so at least he’s working within his skill set. You’d think Jennifer Connelly would turn down all “weepy scientist” roles after “Hulk,” but she’s once again drying tears on her lab coat. Young Jaden Smith gives the ickiest kind of juvenile performance, radiating would-be cuteness and pathos as Helen’s stepson.
So now to a quick review of Bolt. I took the kids to see it last night since they had been cooped up all day with the no-snow day. (School was cancelled because the rain might have been turned to ice and later snow. It stayed in the high 30s and simply rained all day. This morning we had an inch of snow and no delays.) Bolt is a Disney picture, but has the hallmarks of some of the best of Pixar, like Toy Story and The Incredibles (the best movie made in the last 40 years). Not a surprise when you realize that John Lasseter was the Exec Prod (and I just noticed that there is a Toy Story 3 in the works! could be good, could be bad…). As a result it is also, and some I am sure will criticize it for this, derivative.
Bolt (John Travolta, no its OK, you barely notice that it is Travolta), in case you do not know, is a canine star of a superhero TV show. This dog, however, believes he really does have all these powers (Buzz Lightyear). He is separated from his person Penny (Miley Cyrus) and has to make his way back to her with the aid of friends he meets along the way (every buddy movie you can think of). Be that as it may, this movie was incredibly well executed with brilliant touches of humor all its own. For example, one of the buddies Bolt meets is Rino the hamster. A hamster, in a hamster ball, convinced that he can take out a human “guard.” Sound banal? Trust me, the image of the little ball taking off towards the feet of this hapless and unsuspecting person is hysterical. Good times.
Finally there is also enough drama to make Penny and Bolt’s ultimate reunion memorable. I won’t give the details away, but suffice to say that while it is a happy ending my 11 year old daughter cried all the way home (in a good way, trust me) while our nearly-5 year old boy who was tense during some scenes, once it was over said, “that was great!” In comparison to other recent efforst I would place this above Kung Fu Panda and Wall•E (which I felt was flat and too moralistic). So if you have young children or can borrow some this movie is well worth the theater price this holiday.