Anime / Animation, Children’s, Films, Reviews, South Korea

Bolts & Blip: Battle of the Lunar League

Meet Bolts and meet Blip! Two oddball civi-bots who work on the moon in the futuristic setting of 2080…

Based on the popular TV series, director Peter Lepiniotis known for his work on Toy Story 2 (1999) and Dinosaur (2000), takes Andrew Knights creation and transports us to the intergalactic Lunar League of robotic sports.

Children’s programme, Bolts and Blip first aired on Canadian channel Teletoon back in 2010. The show later expanded to 3net (American 3D TV channel) along with being shown on The CW kids channel, Vortex on Saturday mornings. Episodes of the series (approx. 20 minutes each, 26 in total) can also be found on YouTube, but surprisingly the show remains pretty under wraps here in the UK.

(Just a note – there were only a handful of people sat in the audience for this screening. Maybe this was down to conflicting scheduling of the London Korean Film Festival or due to lack of advertising for the animation day.)

Despite the lack of audience, Bolts & Blips is a fun, tongue in cheek children’s animation that will have you chuckling from start to finish. This film continues the story of the two civi-bots being accidentally selected to play on the Thunderbolts team for the robot games. These non-athletic, dweeby bots have to toughen up immediately as they are forced outside their comfort zone and into the arena. However both robots quickly discover that their metal cases encompass much more than just nuts and bolts!

Even though this is a much longer chapter than normal (77 mins), the film felt fairly episodic in delivery. Albeit, taking the target audience into consideration, children need such snappy transitions to keep them interested (or indeed in their seats!), instead of a solid plot development. We see the return of many robots; including Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement, Ted, Emperor’s New Groove) reprising his role as the all star athlete – Tigrr Jaxxon. Terry McGurrin (6teen, Medabots) and Matt Murray (The Bridge, Carny) return voicing the playful roommates Bolts and Blip, both bringing sheer energy and vigour to their characters. Interestingly, as this is a joint venture between Canada and South Korea, the entire series has been dubbed in English to cater for both audiences. In some respects having this feature adds to some of the sarcastically written lines, although I am sure it is just as enjoyable in its mother tongue with subtitles.

Examining the co-production between Korea and Canada, particularly when it comes to animation is nothing the west hasn’t seen before. Shows like Family Guy, The Simpsons and Hey Arnold! all began with sketches originating from South Korea, and although this latest instalment of Bolts & Blips is computer generated we can see how successful Korea has been outside their own country. The team of writers behind Bolts & Blip, including Terry McGurin himself have created an ideal balance between childish fun and quick entertaining remarks that are sure to keep any parent watching satisfied.

With cute bomb robots lead by the adorable ‘Little Sqeaker’, the Schleprechauns (little green Irish robots) who save the day and of course the troublesome duo – all add to the films charm.

What can I say, it’s a great children’s animation, on par with the likes of Shrek (2001), Finding Nemo (2003) and of course Robots (2005). Sit back and let your inner child enjoy itself.

Bolts & Blip: Battle of the Lunar League screened as part of the 8th London Korean Film Festival 2013.

About the author

Gloria Daniels-Moss
A former student and graduate of Canterbury Christ Church University where she had the pleasure to study English and most importantly Film! Her main love for Japanese Cinema comes from seeing Spirited Away when it was screened at Pinewood Studios for Club 7 at the mere age of 11... more

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