Bolt at El Capitan

BOLT is coming to the end of its run at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood - it's final day is Sunday, January 4.  Overshadowed by the awesome WALL-E, BOLT is an overlooked and under-rated film that is quite a worthy animated effort in its own right - an exciting and action-packed film filled with drama, pathos, and laughs that will satisfy the whole family.  Things get off to a great start with an extended opening sequence that features enough weaponry to power the next ten DIE HARDs, Bond films, and any other action opus you can think of; in fact, this is probably the best staged action extravaganza of the year - wildly over the top and yet never confusing or jumbled (the way too many live-action films are these days). The whole thing turns out to be just an episode of the Bolt TV show; the rest of the film is about how the deluded dog gets lots, realizes he is not really a superhero, and finds his way back to his owner. Though something of a let-down from the exciting opening, this plot line serves up some solid characterization and humor.

As if that were not enough, El Capitan Theatre provides a live musical stage show before the film, including some of your favorite Disney characters singing and dancing to tunes for the holiday season. Filled with costume changes and lively performances, this is almost worth the price of admission on its own. With the performers singing to pre-taped music, and the choreography somewhat hampered by the unwieldy Disney costumes (don't expect any pirouettes from Goofy), the show is not likely to leave anyone on Broadway feeling threatened by the competition, but it is charming nonetheless. Christmas is over and the New Year is on the way; here is one last chance to enjoy some uplifting holiday cheer that will help you start 2009 with a smile on your face.

UPDATE: Now preceding screenings of BOLT is the Pixar short subject "Tokyo Mater," a spin off of CARS.

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