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Headscratchers / Bolt

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  • The Show Within a Show's director freaks out when he sees a boom mic in one shot, because Bolt would have seen it as well. Considering that Bolt is actually on the set of the show, one wonders how he's been in the dark for so long.
    • And couldn't the whole thing have been prevented if they'd shot the cliffhanger episode in one go and just aired it in two parts?
      • I'm assuming child labour laws would have prevented them from working Penny that long in one go.
      • Penny was, for the moment, out of the picture. She could have left, rested, and so on... and been fine. Besides, they could have just done Dawson Casting.
    • You assume he is a perfectly reasonable and logical person; he seems like a guy who freaks over everything. In reality Bolt has probably seen the boom mic and more, just assumed it was part of Dr. Calico's evil plots. What always bothers me about the shooting method is that Bolt could, if freaked enough, actually hurt or kill the extras to protect Penny from the danger he does not know is not real.
      • You assume Bolt isn't trained like any other show dog (or any highly trained dog), just under different pretenses. Barring abused dogs or dogs that have been trained to fight, highly trained 'attack' dogs are actually trained to not harm but just bring down and prevent someone from escaping. They generally won't even attack unless directly ordered.
      • Also, he's a super-hero, Thou Shall Not Kill is likely a part of his "heroic upbringing".
      • Actually, Bolt probably doesn't even know what a boom mic is.
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    • He wasn't freaking about because Bolt might have seen it, but because the audience would see it, and they can't re-shoot the scene or Bolt will get suspicious.
      • That’s not what he said. Also, you can easily edit out a boom mic.
      • What he said is that they have to do the show in one take. If there's an obvious boom mic, that means they need a second take. It's not about Bolt seeing the boom mic and being confused, it's about Bolt having to perform the same 'mission' the same way that they think will confuse him and break the masquerade.
      • I could be mistaken, since it's been a long time since I've watched the film, but I remember him saying, "The dog could have seen it!" or a similar line. That implies that he's afraid of Bolt putting two and two together. As mentioned above, Bolt probably wouldn't have paid any real heed to the boom mic.
      • No, you're correct, he does lament that the dog could've seen it. In fact, Mindy Parker from the network's first line is her responding, "Uhh, who cares, if the dog sees it?"
  • How could they have filmed every single episode in one shot nearly flawlessly?
    • Did you see the part before they 'kidnap' Penny? It took a hell of a lot of cameras, all hidden, and planning. They plan the scripts out and most probably have someone else and a trained dog go trough to see if the camera's in the right place, then let Penny and Bolt go through with little left to go wrong.
  • How can a dog survive in a package without food or water as he was shipped across the contury?
    • Duh! Next Day Air. :)
  • How exactly does Bolt know to look for a man with a green eye, when dogs are color-blind?
  • So, a dog that's the star of what has to be a multi-million dollar an episode show goes missing, and the network doesn't broadcast some sort of reward, or publicize that he's missing, or anything?
    • Get the impression the network isn't very nice? And/or that they consider animals easily replaced?
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    • Or maybe they were afraid of the negative hype the show would pick up if word got out they lost one of their lead stars.
    • Or the fact that it could still take weeks to find him and they had to start producing the next episode now?
  • When Rhino is first introduced, he's shown to be among hamsters that look an awful lot like his family. In addition, he also lives with an old lady, which one would think would be said family's owner. During the entire time Rhino is gone, no one in Rhino's family nor his owner tries to find him in any way, shape, or form. Worse yet, does this mean that Penny's mom unknowingly stole Rhino from his rightful owner?
    • This bugged me too. One gets the impression that Rhino and his owner were never that close, and that his longing for adventure and heroism like he saw on the Magic Box greatly outweighed any kind of comfort he got from spinning around a wheel in a trailer park all day. In fact, it is this aspect of his character that makes him such an excellent Foil to both Bolt and Mittens, and I wish it were explored on a little more than just his monolgue where he convinces him to rescue Mittens from the pound because of all the animals like Rhino that looked up to Bolt's heroism and independence.
    • Hamsters are notorious for going missing. As are most small rodent pets. The owner probably figured he got out while the door was open or something.
    • How do you know they never looked for him? His owner can hardly have expected him to jump in a vehicle and leave the state! She probably conducted a small local search the way most owners would before giving up. It isn't practical to conduct a nation-wide search for a hamster.
      • Especially since the odds are good that a hamster which gets loose outdoors will get eaten by something — cat, dog, hawk, snake, whatever — within a matter of hours.
    • Keeping multiple golden hamsters in the same cage isn't recommended in any case, as they reproduce non-stop and/or kill each other over living space. If Rhino's owner wasn't keeping them separated, it's possible her pets were breeding out of control and she didn't know how many hamsters she actually had.
  • The use of Executive Meddling to instigate the plot bugged me. It made sense in theory, but after a trip to the fridge I started wondering why the executives of a kid's show would be so interested in the 18-35 year old demographic. I mean, they're not the Target Demographic, so why pander to them if the show is popular with kids? There have been many cartoon over the years with formulaic plots and predictable endings like what the executive complains about, and they have been successful without any need for Retools; while on the other side, shows like Animaniacs and Freakazoid were Cut Short because they attracted too much of the older demographics while not enough actual children were watching them. So what gives? I understand that the Retool is what starts the plot of the movie by causing Bolt to run away, but I wish they had a more believable reason to Retool to the show than "this kids' show isn't getting enough teenagers, so we should threaten to cancel it until it makes teenagers want to watch it."
    • It's amazing what executives will have fits over. Maybe it airs during a time when a lot of that demographic are watching TV, or maybe it airs right before or right after a show that is aimed at that demographic.
    • Who said the show within a show is a kids show? Sure, it stars a girl and her dog, but it features action, explosions, espionage and many staples of the superhero genre. Also, it's live action, not a cartoon.
    • You can actually see that the Show is aired Thursdays at 8pm in one scene, it's shown on a bus when Bolt is in New York. So 18 to 35 Year olds probably ARE the shows main target, and the executives were afraid to lose their audience and thus in consequence the jobs of their employees. What Mindi said there was realistic if you view it from that standpoint.
    • This is true - the target demographic is 18-35, at a premium time for their viewing, and it's become a show that while cute, appeals more to ten year olds, so it's losing viewers. They can't just go up to the network and ask to be viewed at 4:30 instead.
  • A bunch of plot holes bother me about Bolt. Let's tick them off.
    • Why is Penny forced to choose between using another actor to play the Bolt character and searching for her dog? These are not mutually exclusive decisions.
      • They don't want her focusing on it because they feel it will hurt her acting ability. Also: the main exec's crazy.
      • And they had to get the next episode filmed.
      • Also, the studio execs are jerks who clearly have little care for Penny and Bolt's well being. They locked Bolt alone in a camper and stopped him from seeing Penny to keep Bolt from realizing things. There were dozens of ways that could've been handled otherwise and be much less stressful on them both, but they didn't care. They had a replacement Bolt, they didn't have a replacement Penny, so as far as they were concerned, Bolt was expendable and they probably had Penny on contract of some sort.
    • Bolt has a collar with his address on it. Even Mittens notices, but not a single human that meets him, including the animal shelter workers, ever check it for ID or try to contact the studio.
      • Only the dog catcher saw him, but he broke out before he could be taken the actual shelter. It's possible that they would've called had he arrived there. None of the other humans got a close enough look at him to notice what his tag said.
      • What about Mittens, though? She wanted to get rid of Bolt in the beginning - why not just tell him what the tag around his neck was and that he could get home if he showed it to some human?
    • As mentioned earlier, the studio loses the star of its television show and doesn't even try to retrieve him? Why is Penny printing out "Lost Dog" posters instead of the executives putting out an urgent press release?
      • They're on a tight schedule, and it's implied they had that replacement Bolt in reserve; it's more efficient to just start using him right away than wait for Bolt to be found and probably have to cough up a reward.
      • That and they treated Bolt rather poorly, they locked him in a trailer alone for probably the first time in years without Penny and didn't care. We see in the ending just how much Bolt cares about Penny, they probably know it too as that's the main way they get Bolt to do anything, by making him think Penny is in harms way. Thus they really don't care at all about Bolt.
    • No fire prevention system on the set? Seriously? I'm pretty sure they're required by law to have sprinklers ready in case of an actual fire.
      • It might have malfunctioned...
      • Or you know, as is sadly the case in real life, they either had it shut off or it was never installed just to cut costs.
    • Okay, it's bad and evil to go to Hollywood and not live a normal life like a "real" person in which you strip yourself of anything special or unique. Anybody else catching how terribly ironic it is to have a character voiced by Miley Cyrus giving us the "Child acting is BAD!" spiel? And isn't therefore horrible and bad that the replacement Penny and Bolt actors are going through the same thing?
      • Penny's life was with her family and Bolt. When Bolt was taken, the execs didn't care. That was the bad. One could reasonably assume that A)Penny got a more well-rounded life and B)the new child actor and Bolt-replacement have lives outside the set. The new Bolt is going to know the story isn't real, so the charade doesn't have to be kept up 24/7 anymore—and that was all that was wrong with was Penny and Bolt were going through.
      • Also, the Hollywood executives are clearly the villains, so it's not 'child acting is bad', it's more the executives are treating them badly. Penny might have gone on to get other jobs as an actress, but she quit really not because she had to act but because they were being treated poorly. So the real point is they were leaving an abusive situation to live life on their own.
    • Yes, I know it's a cartoon, but that still doesn't explain how Bolt suddenly can climb a chair and karate chop someone. You cannot train a dog to do that, period.
  • Do they really transport entire houses on the backs of trucks (like the one Bolt and Mittens traveled in, where Mittens shows Bolt what life's like in a normal house)? I've never seen or heard of that before in my life (though I've never been to America) - I can't think how it could possibly work.
    • Yes. Prefabricated houses.
    • And it's not the entire house. It's half the house. The other half is on another truck, probably close behind the first. They're pretty common in the Mid-West, at least.
    • It's fairly common here, although they have to do it after 7pm and the trucks can't go more than about 7 kilometres an hour, and they clear the roads specially for it. I don't know about America, but in New Zealand it would have certainly been faster for Bolt and Mittens to walk than hitch a ride on the truck.
      • Here in America, those trucks drive about as fast as any other 18 wheeler.
      • It depends on if the house in question is specifically designed for it. Moving an ordinary building (house or not) is a time consuming, slow, and complicated process that requires the roads to be cleared, can't move more than a few mph/kph, etc. However, there are "mobile homes" that are specifically designed to be moved, and have a built-in trailer hitch, suspension, and axles. These are about as complicated to move as your standard 18-wheeler. (Well, it might be a little more complicated, since they're classified as "Oversize Loads," with all the extra red tape that implies.) The Other Wiki has more info.
      • The one in the movie isn't a mobile home. A mobile home is something that's designed to be lived in on the road—there would be a family in it, traveling, and stopping nightly. In the film, it's clearly just being transported by an 18-wheeler, and therefore is a prefab house.
      • Must be a dialect thing, because I (and everyone I know) have always called them "mobile homes," whether they're meant to be lived in while traveling or not. To-may-to, to-mah-to, point is, yes, in the US, we do routinely "transport entire houses on the backs of trucks" — and it's not as complicated as in New Zealand.
    • This Troper was once stuck on the insterstate behind a identical truck, sadly there was no actor dog inside, but yes, they exist and drive along the interstate like any normal truck
  • Now how can Bolt go so long in his life without knowing what "hunger" was? When he first experiences it, he believes he's been poisoned, and Mittens exploits it to get free food. Um...?
    • His handlers on the show were probably very careful to keep him properly energized for shooting, which, for TV shows, is usually done on a pretty tight schedule; they probably had to keep him consistently well-fed.
  • It's a small thing, but when kicking your agent out of a vehicle, the appropriate thing to yell is not "we quit!" but "you're fired!" You'd think that one of the veteran Hollywood actors they had on the set would have remembered who works for who.
    • She was saying they were quitting the show, not quitting the agent.
      • Although, they were probably doing that, too.
  • Just something I'm curious about: Penny has a very similar appearance to another Penny from the Disney Animated Canon. (Not to mention Jenny, who was based the aforementioned Penny.) Was this an intentional Continuity Nod, or did they just forget to do their research?
  • So did the producers of the show brainwash Bolt from his puppy years to make him think he was a superdog? Because the scene at the very beginning seems to indicate that Bolt was either always Penny's dog outside the show or that scene is the first episode of a very long-running series. Very confusing.
    • If you assume the first scene of Penny and Bolt as a teenager and adult dog, respectively, is the show's standard opening, Bolt became a superdog in the show when he was full grown, not when he was a puppy. The scene with Bolt as a puppy could be part of the show, a "real-life" scene, or both. If it is both, the show we see in the film may be a spinoff of a show focusing on Penny's in-show father, which would result in a genre shift between show and spinoff.
    • Or they, y'know, used an actual puppy to film the backstory for the superdog-character. Bolt's fur is all white, so any white American shepherd pup would be an acceptable stand-in.
      • That works, too.
  • Just how DID the agent ride a baseball glove to school anyway?
    • He just pretended to ride it to school every day because he desperately wanted a bicycle. Or, he was just making something random up for that scene.
    • Or he was doing that stereotypical older-generation thing about kids these days having it so easy, only to foul it up with an unbelievable part. When he was Penny's age, he had to walk ten miles in the snow to get to school. Uphill. Both ways. That sort of thing?
    • Because the agent is a troll who likes to talk rubbish.
    • Yes he was a troll. This troper has to comment anyway that her father actually did walk to school up hill both ways. School was on another hill than his house.
  • If Bolt thinks the show is real, how can the show producers ensure that he's going to do everything they expect him to do?
    • Most of what he does is on command from Penny. The rest, well, they trained him, so they can accurately predict how he'll react to what they do.
      • Though as any professional animal handler can tell you, the odds of even a well-trained animal doing exactly what you want 100% of the time are pretty much non-existent - especially if you're expecting things to get done in a single take. It's just another point that requires the suspension of disbelief. Granted, Bolt seems to be of superb intelligence, but that brings in the additional wild card of him possibly being able to think up new plans on the fly, which would also result in him going off the show's rails.
  • Why didn't Penny's mother have her quit the show earlier than she did? Even if you choose to forget that the show's executives refused to let her take her dog home with her while she was off work, they also lost the dog, tried initially to trick Penny into accepting a new one, insisted that she "be an adult" and continue working on the show instead of looking for Bolt...Shouldn't there have been a point where her mother stepped in and did something? Penny's only a teenager at most; it's not her job to support them with her acting career if she's not being treated well.
    • That show had kept them fed and clothed for years, and it was only by the events of the movie that things started to get really bad, which is probably when Penny's mother started to see quitting as an option. Plus, as an actor, even a child one, crap like is describe above is an occupational hazard and if her mother did want to quit their only source of income over her daughter being treated unfairly, Penny seems like the type to refuse out of guilt until she nearly burned to death and was saved by the dog her employers had abandoned.
  • After they rescue Mittens from the pound, why is Rhino suddenly okay with her not being treated like a prisoner? He still thinks Bolt is a real super-dog, yet after Bolt learns the truth, he never gets on Mittens's case about her supposed evilness like he did earlier on.
    • Rhino is nothing if not Genre Savvy. He knows that once you go out of your way to rescue the villain's henchman from certain death, they're likely to do a Heel–Face Turn and join the good guys. Since Bolt was treating Mittens like a friend after that point, obviously Rhino followed his lead.


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