Disney has always tried to push the boundaries of what is possible in film and their latest release is no different. The Oscar-nominated animation 'Bolt' is available in selected cinemas in the new Disney Digital 3D. Thankfully, this latest form of 3D cinema is much improved on its over-hyped predecessors.

German shepherd Bolt (Travolta) is the eponymous star of a television show about a super dog that, with the help of his sidekick Penny (Cyrus), must thwart the evil feline-loving Dr Calico (McDowell).

Alas, Bolt is unaware he is in a TV show and believes that his world and superpowers are genuine. Just as in 'The Truman Show', the show's director (Lipton) has decided that Bolt must never discover the outside world.

Bolt's life changes significantly when he is accidentally couriered across America to New York. He quickly finds out the harsh reality of life off screen. His super bark, laser vision and shoulder chop no longer work and even his bolt-shaped birthmark begins to wash off. Bolt feels pain, hunger and loneliness for the first time.

As he embarks on his return journey across America, Bolt meets Mittens (Essman), a discarded former housecat. Along the way they are joined by Rhino the Hamster (Walton), who just happens to be Bolt's biggest fan and is thrilled that he is accompanying his hero from the "magic box" on another thrilling escapade.

As the road movie unfolds, Bolt learns through Mittens that his limitations are not due to Kryptonite-like Styrofoam he was couriered with and that he is just a regular dog. The loss of his superpowers is tempered by discovering the joys of a dog's life.

While Bolt is making his adventurous journey back to Hollywood, Penny is pining for her lost companion and unwillingly accepts a replacement. The show must go on.

John Lasseter, formerly of Pixar and now chief creative officer of Disney Animation Studios, wanted to restore Disney's reputation in animation. 'Bolt' is unlikely to accomplish that feat. However, in defence of the directors Chris Williams and Byron Howard, the film was completed in just 18 months, rather than the usual four years.

'Bolt' may have been nominated for an Oscar alongside 'WALL-E' and 'Kung Fu Panda', but it is not in the same class as those movies.

However, its mixture of action, comedy and sentiment should make it a popular family movie and ensure it performs well at the box office. The number of children pestering their parents for a dog will certainly increase.

Glenn Mason

A 2D version opens nationwide on 13 February.