Facing Off With ‘Bolt’

      9 Comments on Facing Off With ‘Bolt’
All images © 2008 Walt Disney Pictures (Well, except Faraday)

Before I begin, is it just me or…?

If you’ve seen ‘Bolt’ and watch ‘Lost’, you might find that uncanny like I do.


Back to analyzing some Bolt sequences. You can find the first Bolt post here.

I’m just going to pick apart one sequence this week.

Like with the first post, I’m sticking to the opening of the movie when it’s really the ‘Bolt’ TV show we’re watching.

Because it’s full of action movie cliches and fun to watch.

Which bring us to:

The Face Off

Or ‘stand off’. Or ‘playing chicken’.

Either one, it’s when two parties are at either end of what usually turns out to be an alley.

Because there is no escape from an alley, hence the heightened drama.

So it starts.

The dark, black car pulls into the alley blocking off the only exit Penny and Bolt have. (They are at the other end.)

The camera is low, making the car more menacing.

Cut inside. The creepy bad guy gives our driver-thug his orders. “Just the girl.”

Because creepy bad guys never do their own dirty work. They call ‘Thugs-R-Us’ or something.

The peel-out. You have to get your camera very low for a good peel-out.

Note the horizon line. Low. This allows for the car’s tire to screech right past us. A higher camera angle wouldn’t cut it.

On our heroes. Penny, concerned.

Pan from her down to Bolt, ready for action.

Now for a good face off, you have to show each party back and forth and back and forth. And as the action and suspense builds, you will probably cut faster and faster.

So we go wide on the creepy black car. Betcha he’s going to drive right at us.

Wee! It drives right over us. This gets us really involved with the action. Again, this kind of shot will only work with low camera angles.

Picture an actual cameraman. He’d have to be lying on his stomach to get this shot without getting hit by the car.

Low, baby.

So if the car is going to charge, our hero is going to charge.

The camera follows Bolt as he runs down the long alley towards the charging car.

Oooo, ‘over the wheel’ shot. Much like an ‘over the shoulder’ shot, but with…you know…a wheel.

Again, camera is low, low, low.

Ah. Now to switch it up and get away from those necessary low angles, we go high. Very high.

A real ‘where are we?’ shot to get the audience re-oriented to the surroundings. Bolt and the car race towards each other.

Back on ground level, now with Bolt racing right to camera.

And I mean, right to camera.

Is he going to head-butt that car? Is he??

I believe he is.

Pow! To give more effect to these two shots, it’s actually a jump cut. And it works here.

Bolt stops cold as the car lifts straight up. We go into slow-motion mode now, like any self respecting action flick would.

Into the full shot to see Bolt watching the car fly over him.

It’s good to bring the character closer and back into the mix. It keeps us connected to them. And we stay in the slo-mo.

Don’t forget about Penny. There’s a big, black car flying in slow motion right over her ‘à la Matrix’ style.

Could be cause for concern.

This is a very cool shot. Penny is reflected in the car as it soars over her in very slow motion.

Nice touch.

The car continues away from her. We see it now turned over, preparing us for…

Smash! The landing of the car on it’s roof, back in full speed.

This face off is over.

Let us all scratch our ears and rejoice.

Remember the cup tipping over at the end of the my last post? Yeah, Bolt calmly scratching his ear unperturbed, is the same deal.

It gives us the feeling all is well again and this little action sequence is over.

But fear not, because there is more to come!

Tune in next time for more Bolt action goodness.


Sign-up for the Storyboard Club Mailing List and get a Free Storyboard Template Pack!

Read the Storyboard Blog by RSS Feed or by email for more ‘Bolt’…cause this is fun.

9 thoughts on “Facing Off With ‘Bolt’

  1. steph

    Bolt is totally one of my favourites for reasons you point out, especially the different perspectives of the same thing happening. I LOVE it. I thought this movie was so awesome and so hilarious I saw it twice. And I will watch it again and again. I think Ratatouille is actually my fave, but this one is close. No wait, do I love Wall-E most and then Ratatouille and then Bolt? Damn.

    Oh, and I found the Iron Giant for cheap in a second-hand bin and I bought it and I loved it! LOVED the animation. I even cried. Thanks for suggesting that one!

  2. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    @ Steph – Yeah, Bolt was a lot of fun. But of course, I’m a sucker for animal stories.

    Ratatouille isn’t quite so high on my list. It’s gorgeous, but there was a few story things that bugged me. And you know how I feel about Wall-E.

    And yay for finding the Iron Giant! You cried at “Soooooopermaaaannnn” right? Right?

    Of course you did. Grown men do. 🙂

  3. Brian

    oh Giant, you heartbreaker…

    I gotta NetFlix Bolt before it get’s further spoiled for me haha. Thanks for the dissection!

  4. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Yeah, that big metal guy just weaseled his way into our hearts, didn’t he?

    Ack! I hope I’m not spoiling too much.

    In the grand scheme of things I don’t really think I’m giving anything too important away. I don’t think the main plot of Bolt is a secret. He’s an action hero. And these scenes are just a ‘show inside a show’ of his television series.

    Nothing here is going to spoil the ‘real story’ of the movie, so fear not. And Disney gave away a heck of a lot more in their movie trailers!

    Go NetFlix it anyway. 😉

  5. Ashraf Hamdi

    I’m saying it again and again : AMAZING blog for any storyboarder !
    I printed many posts for personal use if you don’t mind , reading it from time to time.
    This movie is Awesome and your comments are very helpful.

    hope you still remember me, the Egyptian storyboarder with blood sucked by Vampires !, ” 50 frames per day hahahaha 🙂 for less than 400$ per month :))) ”

    But somehow i’m happy with that, i love my job 🙂

  6. Karen J Lloyd Post author

    Thanks Ashraf!

    So glad to hear you’re still alive and well in “vampire land”. As long as you love your job and keep learning more, that’s great. I hope you work up to better wages in the future.

    Yes, I enjoyed Bolt quite a bit. Now I can’t wait to see Pixar’s “UP”!!

Comments are closed.