Oh dear lord, I’m about to curl up and cry. Exactly how many times a year must we get these recycled animated stories about “the dreamers?” You know, those stories about characters who live a life, but dream of more? But this looks particularly disturbing because the purpose of this dog seems to be to protect these sheep from wolves. Saving lives. But here’s this jerk of a kid who dreams of being a rock star. Already there’s about a million problems that I could complain about, but I’m going to wait to actually see the movie before tearing it a new one. Either way, no matter how it turns out, kids deserve better stories. Not a cinematic equivalent to dangling shiny keys in front of them.
Well, lets take a look at the voice talents. First up, we have Luke Wilson (THE RIDICULOUS 6 , IDIOCRACY , and LEGALLY BLONDE ). Say what you want about the Wilson brothers, I like them both, especially Luke who is very underrated, even in Hollywood, often not getting attached to good projects, or projects that fly under the radar. Hell, as much of a fan as I am of him, I’ve barely seen a fraction of his work and I really think that’s a shame for such a likable and charismatic actor. In support, we have Eddie Izzard (THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE , MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND , and TV show UNTIED STATES OF TARA), the ever amazing J.K. Simmons (KUNG FU PANDA 3 , WHIPLASH , and the Raimi-Spider-Man trilogy, and will be in the upcoming JUSTICE LEAGUE ), Kenan Thompson (SNAKES ON A PLANE , GOOD BURGER , and TV show SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE), Mae Whitman (THE DUFF , INDEPENDENCE DAY , and TV show YOUNG JUSTICE), Jorge Garcia (THE RIDICULOUS 6 , and TV shows HAWAII FIVE-0 and LOST), and many more.
Now for behind the scenes. Co-writing and directing is Ash Brannon, known for SURF’S UP (2007), and co-directing TOY STORY 2 (1999). Co-writing the script with Brannon is Kurt Voelker, known for… things I’ve never heard of. Finally, the composer is Rolfe Kent, known for VAMPIRE ACADEMY (2014), BAD WORDS (2013), and YOUNG ADULT (2011).
Overall, I think this movie isn’t going to be good. Already IMDb has it at a 5.9/10 (as of 2/9/2017). It’s Chinese-American and China got it first back in July of 2016. Wow… maybe it should have stayed over there. Well, here we go. Pray for me.
This is my honest opinion of: ROCK DOG
Bodi (voiced by Luke Wilson) is a young mastif with a dream of playing music. Problem is, his home, Snow Mountain, home to the native and dim-witted sheep, are under constant threat from a pack of gangster wolves that want to eat them. The sheep’s only protection is Bodi’s father, Khampa (voiced by J.K. Simmons), a fierce fighter. His hope would be that Bodi would take his place as the town guard in the future, but Bodi’s dreams only become reinforced when a radio falls out of an airplane and he hears the inspirational words of legendary rock artist, Angus Scattergood (voiced by Eddie Izzard). This prompts him into pursuing his dream of being a guitarist in a band. His father allows him to go to the city to chase his dreams, where Bodi finds a band he wants to be a part of. However, despite his natural talent, he has much to learn and seeks guitar lessons from Scattergood himself, who is less than enthusiastic about mentoring Bodi.
Yup, this… uh… this was a movie that was made.
It’s about as phoned in as you can imagine. It’s not a good movie. It’s a throwaway kids movie that won’t be remembered long after viewing it. Maybe kids will get a kick out of it. It has enough bright colors to keep a kid’s attention. But it’s still one of those movies where only the kid might get something out of it. The adults are sitting there waiting for the credits to roll as soon as the opening titles are done. But as far as a throwaway kids movie goes, it’s harmless. I look back at the movie and while I can definitely say that there’s annoying things about it, like the sheep have bad memories for some reason, but unlike worse kids movies, like NORM OF THE NORTH (2016), there’s nothing truly offensive or bad for kids in it. There’s just no effort to make it seem different from those other movies. There’s certainly a lot of annoyances, but nothing straight up bad.
However, that’s really the only good thing that can be said about the flick. It’s animation is noticeably sub-par, but that’s obvious from the trailer. The running gags are pointless. There’s this bit about the wolf leader getting annoyed that his red telephone doesn’t have a red chord, but as soon as the phone comes back, the chord is red. Riveting. Plot elements are completely unexplored and or don’t make sense. Like, the wolves want to eat the sheep on Snow Mountain, but have to go through Bodi’s dad to do it, which they never can do. So… what are they eating in the mean time? And… whatever it is, isn’t that solving their problem? What makes these sheep so special and decadent? And why do they only come in from one entrance? It’s a mountain. There’s The characters are forgettable, from the main cast to the supporting cast, and even some of the voice talents barely sound like they’re trying to emote at all. Wilson is either trying too hard, or he’s completely got the wrong energy for a specific scene. Maybe it has less to do with him and more to do with the direction he was given. Who can say?
I think anyone can understand that not all animated films need to be Disney, Pixar, or Dreamworks. It’s bound to happen that we’ll get a few that aren’t stellar and push the boundaries of modern technology and storytelling. This is probably the best of those movies that we can get. It’s fine for little kids, but it’s not going to really enrich their lives or shape anyone’s childhood like Disney or Pixar can. I don’t recommend seeing this in theatres, but it’s probably worth a viewing with your kids, rental or streaming, whatever your choice of poison is. But if you’re someone like me who wants to watch a good movie, you won’t find it here. I say pass on it entirely. There’s not much to care for.
My honest rating for ROCK DOG: a weak 3/5