Bolt Blu-ray Review
'Bolt' is presented in widescreen 1.78:1 with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p coding.
As is to be expected from this digital to digital transfer the print is absolutely pristine and is the best that I have witnessed to date on a Blu-ray release. It is absolutely immaculate throughout with an impressive level of definition to highlight the CGI animation skills of the Disney team. Individual hairs on Bolt's coat and scratches on Rhino's plastic ball are clearly visible. Colouring is incredibly strong throughout (check out the U-Haul removal men's uniforms), as is the contrast ratio, with some impressive shadow detail on show during some of the darker sequences (such as in the recording room of the studio). Bolt's striking white colour, in conjunction with these solid blacks, bolster primary colouring throughout.
At times this transfer can demonstrate some impressive depth, such as the majority of the city-scape scenes and the train sequences. In fact the depth is impressive throughout with plenty of instances of that sought after 3D pop factor (such as the pink packing material that “weaken” Bolt's powers). Prime examples are some of the close ups, which also serve to highlight the superior animation that is on display here. For example, the pigeons move with the jerky, head cocking manner of the real life vermin with beautiful translucent colouring on their highly defined feathers. The desert Las Vegas wasteland where Mittens tries to set up home looks stunning (such as the decrepit detail on the billboard) and really serves to highlight the level of detail that the animators have included. Also check out the level the detail on the close-ups of Bolt's scaly nose. The lush forest sequences are also a joy to behold with very detailed and accurate representation of grass and trees. Detail is precise with even the individual windows of the city skyscrapers clearly visible. The marriage of animation techniques form the two studio's has resulted in a very pleasing hybrid which contains super sharp animated with more traditional, almost painted backgrounds, that when combined produce a sublime end product.
Overall this is a highly polished, flawless transfer that looks very, very impressive indeed.
'Bolt' comes packed with a powerful dts-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack.
'Bolt' features a typical Disney score that is soaked in mandolins and sparkling effects which twinkle around the soundstage. The score is very well represented in this mix with some great instances of bass tonality and some very nice surround bleed. The LFE channel gets a nice workout with some of the impact sequences, such as where Bolt collides head on with a car, producing a tremendous LFE thump. The Bolt “speak” sequence is also sonically enormous with debris falling all around the listening position. There are plenty of 'Matrix' style effects that fill the soundstage during these opening scenes. Although the on screen activity doesn't maintain this high level of action content there are plenty of surround effects throughout. The score comes to the forefront and fills the soundstage nicely in more subdued moments. The fire sequence during the closing scenes of the movie is a highlight with flames licking from every speaker, really filling the soundstage, as the LFE channel comes into effect as the entire sound stage collapses on the viewer.
This track is very detailed, accurate and also demonstrates impressive directionality (such as when Rhino is watching television). There was one sequence where a mobile phone rings and it sounded as though it was coming from the corner of my living room! The inclusion of Sirus' hammy country and western rendition was the only segment of the audio presentation that did not seem to sit well with the rest of the score's content. I suppose that this is Hollywood politics at work.
The extras package on 'Bolt' does have a lot of features listed but when you delve a little deeper the actual content is a little thin on the ground. In saying that, all features are in 1080p, which is a refreshing change in comparison to the poor quality video in the extras portion of other BD releases. Bolt also features an included DVD copy of the movie (complete with extras) and a third disc featuring a digital copy of the movie. This is a smart move by Disney as I would definitely get this release so that I could also look forward to the delights of watching this presentation on Blu-ray when the time came to upgrade from a DVD based set-up. The D-Box motion code is also included.
'Super Rhino' (HD 4mins) - A short feature starring everyone's favourite hamster as he lives out his own fantasy and becomes the star of the show with super powers.
Deleted Scenes - Two deleted scenes with optional commentary by the directors (Chris Williams and Bryon Howard). The dog fight scene is only storyboarded and features Bolt as he recovers from a dog fight and catches a glimpse of himself on TV. The second deleted scene, which is also storyboarded, features Bolt as he saves Rhino who has fallen into a river. Both are interesting but are no great loss.
'In Session with John Travolta and Miley Sirus' (HD 1min) - Super short feature on Travolta and Sirus as they record the song 'I Thought I Lost You' for the closing credits of the movie. Too short to really get any insight into what was going on.
'I Thought I Lost You' Music Video (HD 2mins) - The music video for the aforementioned song featuring Travolta and Sirus. Footage from the recording studio features sickly sweet Hannah Montanna at her best with Travolta slobbering along beside her on what must be the shortest Disney song yet!
'Bolt's Be-awesome Super Mission' (HD) - An interactive platform based mini-game featuring Bolt and all his super-powers complete with voice-over from Rhino. A pretty nice feature although I couldn't get past the first level!
'A New Breed of Directors: A Filmmakers' Journey' (HD 4mins) - A short feature on the directors from 'Bolt' and how they fared on directing their first animated movie. The crew didn't shave until the shoot was complete and they brought in a giant inflatable Hamster ball to keep spirits high!
'Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt' (HD 9mins) - An interesting behind the scenes look at all the voice actors from the movie and how they fared with providing the voices for their characters. There's also regular input from the two directors and the producers as they praise the voice acting in this movie. In my opinion, the only two who deserve any praise are Sussie Essman and James Lipton.
'Creating the World of Bolt' (HD 6mins) - Another short feature on the animation process on 'Bolt' and how they developed his animated world. There are comments from the animators and art director on how they merged traditional Disney painted backgrounds with CG three dimensional models.
Bolt Art Galleries (HD) - An enormous collection of concept artwork and finished pieces from the movie. This segment is packed to the gills and contains hundreds of images.
Sneak Peaks - A collection of HD trailers. Includes - 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs', 'The Princess and the Frog', 'Bedtime Stories', 'Monsters Inc.' And 'Tinkerbelle and the Lost Treasure'. There's also some information trailers for Disney rewards points, Disney XD (which is to do with their new TV service) and information on Disney Blu-ray.
'Bolt' is an enjoyable movie but ultimately is not in the same league as the superior 'Wall-E' and 'Kung-Fu Panda'. At least it'll keep the kids enraptured for a couple of hours and there's enough action and humour to keep the adults happy as well.
The audio and video presentations on this Blu-ray release are very impressive indeed. Both contain various moments that may make it into my demo material collection! While the inclusion of both a bonus DVD and a Digital copy of the movie is a nice touch, the extras package is a little mediocre. Most of the features don't make it to the five minute mark.
A very strong audio/video transfer and the inclusion of multiple copies of the movie increase the rating for this release.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
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