Teenage Tibetan Mastiff Bodi (Luke Wilson) is expected to be the next guard of the village of Snow Mountain, succeeding his father Khampa (J. K. Simmons), who years ago drove out a pack of gangster Grey wolves, led by the villainous Linnux (Lewis Black). Khampa has some local sheep disguised as Mastiffs to give the illusion the village has multiple guards to keep the wolves at bay, but Bodi has trouble perfecting his father's signature move the Iron Paw, which projects a powerful blast that can only happen if Bodi "finds the fire." Khampa has forbidden music in the village as it distracted Bodi from his duties when he was younger..
Angus Scattergood is named after Angus Young from the band AC/DC. See more »
When Bodi is in Angus's maze, he is trapped down a passage. In a different shot, another path appears out of nowhere. See more »
[From Trailer; Angus Scattergood has been locked out of his mansion and was trying to get back in, only to be electrified by the fence and slams into a sheet of glass before flopping down on the road]
[lying on his back]
I am completely paralyzed except for my mouth.
[moves his arm and index finger]
I am completely paralyzed except for my mouth... and my finger!
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The movie's main title is shown at the end. It came from the Bodi's power of the guitar at the "Glorious" finale concert sequence. See more »
AT ONE POINT in Chinese-American animation Rock Dog, our protagonist meets with a scrawny English cat (Eddie Izzard) who treats him to new tricks about Rock and Roll. An obvious nod to Rock of Ages which had an insane Russell Brand teach an inspired individual about the traits of the music world. The cat is insane here but he doesn't hit the correct notes, in fact none of the characters in this outwardly unoriginal animation do. Which in a genre when directors are supposed to be their most creative - this is perhaps the least creative.
We open with teenage Tibetan Mastiff Bodi (Luke Wilson) who lives under the shadow of his father, Khampa (J.K. Simmons) who has banned music around the town and wants his son to follow in his footsteps to become a guard, teaching him about his powers - Bodi thinks there is more to life than being a guard. He unlocks a magical gift with music then when a radio lands on his head and he sees a whole other world to meet with his idol - he goes to New York to perhaps perform with him. Along the way the film hits familiar notes, there's a pack of Godfather inspired wolves who want to attack his city, there's a Yak named Fleetwood Yak (Sam Elliott) who teaches Bodi that he has a gift and finally there's a point when the famous rock-star takes all the credit. It's been done.
There's inspiration here it follows along the same lines as artsy animations such as Kubo and the Two Strings or perhaps Coraline, but due to the lacklustre ideas of overused techniques this quickly descends into unoriginality. This is a shame especially since this has Pixar veteran director Ash Brannon helming the ship. In addition it also has eight writers but it seems here they only wrote a couple of lines of characterization for each character perhaps making them feel 2D, and the rest is clunky dialogue. On the bright side there are couple of gags mostly from Izzard's scrawny cat who falls over himself a lot and the sheep dress up as dogs to fool the wolves.
Brannon neither makes this funny nor imaginative and in an animation that's the latter, there are so many references too that it's hard to follow which you're watching. Rock Dog is a cheaply looking, inspired, list of ideas, references and uneasy clunky dialogue and unfunny gags and albeit rushed Chinese-American animation that fails to make one correct guitar lick into being a memorable and hilarious animation.
VERDICT: An unpleasant and unremarkable animated comedy which ties tired visuals with a thin plot and a characterless drive. It's one guitar lick too far away from memorable too.
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