Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 5+
Super-dog adventure is fun, age-appropriate for kids.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that kids are definitely going to want to see this animated adventure starring Miley Cyrus (well, her voice, anyway), even though it has nothing to do with Hannah Montana. There are some scenes of peril (explosions, hostage situations, evil cats) in the TV-show-within-a-movie, but after the first few action-packed minutes of the movie, it's made clear to the audience that it's all manufactured. There's also a tense, potentially scary fire during the movie's climax. But most of the movie's content is age-appropriate for its intended audience.
- Families can talk about what made kids want to see this movie -- was it the story or all of the advertising/marketing?
- Do you prefer animated movies where the voices are done by celebrities? Why or why not? How is Miley Cyrus uniquely qualified to star in a movie about a celebrity who should be allowed to act normal?
- What's the difference between reality and fiction? How was Bolt stuck in a fictional life? What does Penny think Bolt is missing by thinking he's actually a super dog? Why is Mittens skeptical about humans?
The good stuff
Educational value: The movie is intended to entertain, not educate. But kids may learn a bit about how Hollywood works.
Positive messages: The movie has a sweetly positive messages about loyalty, determination, and teamwork. Characters who resist others' affection eventually learn to embrace it, and Bolt discovers that being loved is much more important than having super powers.
Positive role models: Penny and Mittens are strong female characters, and Rhino is a courageous sidekick. Bolt is at first melancholy about not being a real super dog, but he overcomes his initial blues to find his true courage.
What to watch for
Violence and scariness: The peril is mostly in the TV show within the movie. After an early sequence (which could be intense for younger or more sensitive kids) it's made clear that the violence is manufactured, since the audience (unlike Bolt) sees the crew setting off explosions, catching stuntmen, etc. In the "real" world, there are cartoonish pratfalls and slapsticky violence, but nothing too disturbing -- until a tense, scary fire during the movie's climax that puts a central character in danger.
Sex: Not an issue
Language: A couple of mild insults (like "stupid") among the animals.
Consumerism: Featured brands include The New Yorker, Tiger Beat, U-Haul, The Tonight Show (but not with a recognizable host), and several Las Vegas hotels, like the Bellagio; New York, New York; Bally's; and Caesar's Palace.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue