screenplay by Dan Fogelman, Chris Williams
directed by Byron Howard, Chris Williams
by Walter Chaw What counts as a revolution for Disney animation nowadays is tellingly only a shadow of Pixar's gracefully loaded pictures. It demonstrates that any film completed under the supervision of John Lasseter can't be that bad, but also that all the things wrong with The Mouse over the last couple of decades won't clear up with just one picture. Bolt isn't a bad start, though, handling in its light, rote way a couple of nice moments with orphaned cat Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman) that remind of Jessie's heartache from Toy Story 2 and a few well-paced action sequences that recall a superhero highlight reel from The Incredibles (speaking of films that need a sequel). The point of greatest interest is that Bolt represents the second major movie this year after Tropic Thunder that has as its protagonist an actor who doesn't realize he's no longer on a soundstage. (Collective commentary on the end of our time in Oz or Kansas?) Even without a deeper interest in answering the questions that it asks (in sharp contrast to the introspective, almost silent WALL·E), it's still light years ahead of Disney's spate of racist, misanthropic entertainments and/or direct-to-video sequels that cynically transform their Vault™ into a McDonald's franchise.