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Pixarian technical wizardry and Disney schmaltz
By CHRIS WANGLER  |  November 24, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars

BOLT Look for fanboy hamster Rhino to fog up his ball when he gets excited.

The first Disney animated film under the leadership of Pixar guru John Lasseter, Bolt is a frisky cross-country adventure that mixes smart Pixarian technical wizardry with a welcome dollop of Disney schmaltz.

Bolt (John Travolta) thinks he and his "person," Penny (Miley Cyrus), are caught in an endless high-tech battle with the feline Dr. Calico (Malcolm McDowell). But it's only a TV show, and the pooch has no real superpowers. So why does the heartless studio — the real bad guys here — maintain this Truman Show illusion for the sake of a dog? You won't care once the action shifts to NYC, where Bolt has been mistakenly shipped. With two new pals, he travels back to Penny in LA, and learns en route what being a real dog is all about.

The celebs are okay under the direction of Chris Williams and Byron Howard, but the best lines belong to animator Mark Walton as Rhino, a fanboy hamster who fogs up his plastic ball when excited. You just might too.

95 minutes | Boston Common + Fenway + Fresh Pond + Chestnut Hill + Suburbs

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