Traditional Disney anthropomorphism gets a bracing infusion of Pixar power in a CG-animated, John Lasseter-produced canine caper that plays like The Incredibles meets The Incredible Journey.
John Travolta voices the eponymous Bolt, a genetically engineered super-dog who fights crime by the side of owner Penny (the ubiquitous Miley Cyrus).
Or at least that’s what he thinks, in fact being the unknowing star of a hit TV show whose creators have been deluding him since birth into thinking his “super bark” really is worse than his bite.
Yes, it’s The Chew-Man Show, Bolt only realising that his powers are phoney when he is unwittingly shipped from Hollywood to New York and forced to fend for himself.
This he does with the help of a mangy moggy, some startlingly well-realised pigeons and a rotund hamster in a plastic ball who just happens to be his biggest fan.
OK, so it’s a little gabby, with satirical jabs at ratings-obsessed networks that will leave younger audiences nonplussed. It’s fair to say, as well, that Travolta’s isn’t the most animated vocal turn we’ve heard - surely he could have got some tips from Bruce Willis after the Look Who’s Talking films.
Luckily the compu-visuals (3-D in selected cinemas) are impressive enough to compensate for the occasionally slack storytelling, while an end credits duet between Smiley and the Trav (‘I Thought I Lost You’) offers an effective summation of the flick’s winning combo of old and new.
If a little twee for grown-ups, this is riotous fun for kids. Even if it’s not Pixar-perfect, it’ll definitely do until Up touches down.