Swanner: Last night Brian and I both saw movies about dogs. I saw Bolt, the new Disney animated film and he saw Danny Boyle’s new movie called Slumdog Millionaire. Bolt is a TV show about a dog who’s a super hero and in the tradition of The Truman Show…the dog in the TV show has no idea he’s not really a super hero, he just plays one on TV. When Bolt thinks his master has been kidnapped he escapes from the studio in Hollywood and ends up in New York only to travel back across the country to save his young owner from the evil man with one green eye. Brian, how was your dog movie?
Judd: Slumdog Millionaire was brilliant. Directed by Danny Boyle (already a bonus) takes place in India and it’s about a young man who is accused of cheating on their version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. During his police interrogation, he explains how he knows the answers by telling the story of his horrible, poor childhood—which are flashbacks. The movie is a taught story of a kid who keeps getting kicked in the face even when he succeeds.
Swanner: Bolt has a wonderful cast of voices including John Travolta and Miley Cyrus but it’s the unknown voices that really steal the show. Susie Essman and Mark Walton play the cat and the hamster that tag along on Bolt’s journey home. Essman plays mittens, a sarcastic grumpy character (think Brian) who serves as part of Bolt’s conscious. Walton plays Rhino the hamster, and he had me rolling in the aisles in every scene he was in…he’s kind of like me, fun and ready to have a good time. Scary to think that Bolt was traveling with the equivalent of Brian and I…and he doesn’t end up killing himself. Both these actors make the movie funnier and enjoyable with their contributions. Maybe the studio’s are learning you can still have great vocal performances without paying some actor 10 million dollars for standing in front of a microphone for a couple hours.
Judd: I’m glad to hear they hired voice actors. Good voice actors can add so much to a character that a studio actor cannot. The actors in Slumdog have done some British television and other than that are unknown. The flashbacks follow two orphaned brothers as they grow up and try to survive on the streets of India. There isn’t a whole lot more to the story. One brother’s good, one brother’s bad. The reason the movie is as good as it is, is its simplicity. The simple story allows Danny Boyle to go wild with it’s telling, and anyone who is a fan of Boyle knows that he is a master at his craft.
Swanner: So what kind of dog is a slumdog? Bolt was like an all white terrier but he has a black bolt in his side fur. I like Danny Boyle’s movies, Millions was in my top 5 the year it came out. He does tell simply stories that are so much bigger than they look. I looked up the cast of your movie on IMDB.com and there weren’t very many pictures so yes, it a very unknown cast to Americans. Bolt does have a good message and no, I didn’t cry at the end. So either Disney failed to make me cry with a dog movie or I’m over my crying phase. It was odd that I didn’t even shed a tear last night when they announced who won America’s Next Top Model last night.
Judd: There were no dogs in Slumdog Millionaire. A slumdog is Indian slang for hood rat. I think you would have cried during Slumdog. I almost cried. Like I said earlier, the movie is so tense and the conditions that the main character has to deal with—at the end of the movie you’re absolutely emotionally exhausted. The end comes like a rubber band that finally snaps. This is definitely one of the best movies of the year. And it helps that the main character, actor Dev Patel, is cute.
Swanner: So I take it that the “hood rat” isn’t a real rat. Now I look way stupid. One big problem with animated movies is that if you think someone is cute than people look at you strange. Although Bolt was a cute dog…I think I might need to get a hamster. I really enjoyed Bolt and it’s a big enough movie that it works on the big screen and I’m sure it will work equally as well on the big screen at home. It’s the perfect holiday movie for the family.
Judd: No a hood rat isn’t a real rat. I agree with you, there can be hot cartoon characters. Hell, the Japanese have cartoon porn, so the next time someone gives you a dirty look, you let them know you’ve got a whole country that agrees with you. Slumdog Millionaire is not a family film, but it is an absolute must see.
Bolt: 3 Stars
Slumdog: 5 Stars