So Bolt is a cute animal (Finding Nemo) with realistic fur (Monsters Inc) who is the star of a TV and believes the TV show is real (er – The Truman Show). His cute girl owner Penny (Inspector Gadget?) is also in the show, in which Bolt (Bolt) plays a superheroic dog (The Incredibles) who believes he really has super powers (Buzz Lightyear/Toy Story). However due to a mishap Bolt accidentally gets lost (Finding Nemo), needing to find his owner. Lost In New York (Home Alone 2: Lost In New York) he gets chatty with some pigeons (Valiant) who find him a cat (Aristocats) who is street smart to help him. Bolt still believes Penny has been kidnapped by the villain of the show and needs to escape from New York (Escape From New York), to get back to LA (Midnight Run), his home (The Incredible Journey). A picaresque adventure ensues (ALL LITERATURE EVER), interrupted by need for food (Ratatouille), the realities of how animals should behave (A Bugs Life) and how it is sad to be dumped by your owner (Toy Story 2 JESSIES SONG!!!). Somewhere along the line the travel by car (CARS). They pick up a hamster along the way (Hamstertouille). The dog ditches his new friends in Las Vegas after a montage sequence ending at the Belagio (Oceans 11, 13), and returns to LA. At which point he sees he has been replaced by another dog for the TV series (Invasion of The Body Snatchers). However the new dog is rubbish and Bolt saves Penny from a fire (BACKDRAFT). Penny and her Mum retire in a huff, and take dog, cat and penguin (Happy Feet) hamster to live in the countryside. Horrific Jessie’s Song analog reprise.

OK, perhaps its a bit cruel to suggest that Disney’s first 3D computer animated film under the management of John Pixar Lasseter is a calculated smoothie of every Pixar film* squeezed through a Disney anodyne making machine. And yet all the great stuff such as the perfectly animated pigeons are often sidetracked by the doltishly bland lead in Bolt himself. John Travolta seems an odd voice pick for him (and one Pixar would not have made), though this pales next to the casting of Miley Cyrus as a teen TV star – a real stretch. This Frankenstein monster of a movie is entertaining, if overly convoluted and, like Slumdog Millionaire, relies wholly on a misunderstanding of how television is really made. But it feels a bit too calculated, a bit too pleased with its own cuteness.

Oh and I wonder if its sabotaging of The Incredible Journey with a dog who thinks he has superpowers will scupper the Incredible Journey with animals with actual superpowers film in the works of Grant Morrison’s We3?

*OK, Wall-E gets away scot free.