Bolt - and the other characters who transformed cinema

He's only a dog with a big heart, but experts say he and his friends have the power to resurrect a dead art form - the 3D movie

Yeah, yeah, we've heard it all before. Cinema is changing, movies will be in 3D, blah, blah, blah. Anyone who remembers feeling sick while peering at Jaws 3D through flimsy glasses will be sceptical about claims that Disney's new dog movie Bolt is at the vanguard of a film revolution as profound as when the first talkies were heard. But the industry insists that it's true.

"This is absolutely not a flash in the pan," says Tim Richards, chief executive of Vue Cinemas, which is about to put up 200 new 3D screens across the country. There will be at least a dozen other other 3D films released in the coming year, including Shrek Goes Forth and the first movie James Cameron has made since Titanic.

Cameron's Avatar is a science fiction story due for release in December. But for now we have Bolt, a cute dog in the true Disney style, but animated by the people from Pixar who have already had a major impact on the cinema with Toy Story and Wall-E. The story of the hound who thinks he's got superpowers went out in 3D on Friday, and gets a "flat" release this week.

Tim Richards urges people not to be put off by the reputation of the technology which had a brief vogue in the Fifties. "It is a completely different product from when two projectors had to be in sync on screen and if they were even slightly out, they would give people nausea or headaches. The new version is a single projector, and a clean, immersive experience."

Mark Batey of the Film Distributors' Association says even the eyewear is better now: "You put on these cool glasses which are black with polarised lenses. The old red and green cardboard glasses are now ancient history." Only 10 per cent of British screens are digital and therefore convertible to 3D, he says, but that is expected to double this year.

So, can Bolt and his 3D friends really convince us that the future is so bright we ought to wear shades? If so, he'll deserve his place alongside these other characters, each of whom really did change the movies for ever...

2009: Bolt


First of a pack of at least 15 films to be released this year in a new kind of 3D. Yes it's back, and this time, the boffins say, it's workable. They promise panoramic vistas, fur that looks strokeable, leaps that could land on your lap, and most important of all, no headaches. The 3D glasses are even cool, apparently. We'll see. Some things never change in Hollywood, though: the hero is still your classic cute dog.

1927: The Jazz Singer

The Jazz Singer

We may be squeamish about his blacked-up face, but Al Jolson's character deserves his place in history. Not the first talkie, despite the legend, but the first movie to use synchronised dialogue along with the action. The impact was so huge that Jolson ended the silent era when he said: "You ain't heard nothin' yet."

1928: Mickey Mouse

Steamboat Willie

The cheeky little mouse made his cinema debut in the first cartoon to have synchronised sound: musicians were recorded playing in time with the images. Walt Disney took a huge financial risk to make short films starring the creature he called Mortimer. His wife suggested a change. The rest, as they say, is theme parks.

1933: Kong

King Kong

"It was beauty killed the beast," said film-maker Carl Denham when the giant gorilla fell from the Empire State Building, having tried to protect Fay Wray. But it was the pioneering stop-motion technique – moving a model by tiny amounts for each frame – that had made him in the first place. Father to an army of creatures, from Godzilla to Wallace & Gromit.

1937: Snow White

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to change the movies they go, in the first full-length animated feature film. Charlie Chaplin, Shirley Temple and Marlene Dietrich were all at the premiere and gave it a standing ovation. Three years in the making, the film used new methods of painting and filming characters that were still being used six decades later. According to Hollywood legend, among the names rejected for inclusion in the seven dwarfs were Flabby, Chesty and Sleazy.

1954: The Creature

The Creature from the Black Lagoon

Specs on and snorkels out for the half-man, half-fish modelled on a folk tale from the Amazon. He starred in the most famous of the first wave of films shown in 3D, a craze that made audiences gasp at the realism. But they moaned at the weird pictures and the blinding headaches they got when the complicated and expensive screening process went wrong. 3D was over by 1955, bar the odd experiment... until 'Bolt'.

1975: The Great White Shark


It attacked out of nowhere, opening all over the US at once in a frenzy of advertising. The first film to bite off a meaty $100m; its shock tactics wrote the rules for the modern blockbuster.

1977: R2-D2 & C-3PO

Star Wars

Yes, this overrated interplanetary fairytale had some groundbreaking special effects, but that's not why it's here. 'Star Wars' hit the stores with Darth Vader ruthlessness, redefining the movies as a way of selling cosmic amounts of merchandising. Toys, playsuits, bed covers, pencil cases, light sabres... feel the force, Luke. And count the profits. Without it, we would have been spared 'Transformers' and 'High School Musical'.

1995: Buzz & Woody

Toy Story

'Toy Story' was a great film. Fast, funny, thrilling. Human. It also happened to be the first completely animated with computers. The team responsible, Pixar, used cutting-edge technology, but their creations were as warm as real actors. 'Finding Nemo', 'The Incredibles' and 'Wall-E' revolutionised cartoons and movies as a whole. Disney suddenly looked dead in the water... so naturally it bought up Pixar, whose founder, John Lasseter, is now the man behind 'Bolt'.

2007: Beowulf


Ray Winstone as a hunk, Angelina Jolie naked with a tail? Actors merge with technology (and poetry) in a first full-length motion-capture movie.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’


Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'


Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from


Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Arts and Entertainment


These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London