Vampire Owl: Do you think that this dog is as emotional as a rock?
Vampire Bat: If it was so, the same wouldn’t have been part of an animated movie.
Vampire Owl: Okay, so the dog is as strong as a rock.
Vampire Bat: This is not really a supernatural movie. So leave that out of your mind.
Vampire Owl: Maybe, he is fan of The Rock?
Vampire Bat: Almost everyone is a fan of Dwayne Johnson. But not the animated cat.
Vampire Owl: At least tell me that he is a Rocky fan.
Vampire Bat: Dude, they are referring to the music.
Vampire Owl: Oh! My relationship with music is as bad as my friendship with the Vampire Crocodile.
Vampire Bat: I am sure that this movie would help a little.
[Gets three cups of ginger tea with a piece of ghee cake].
What is the movie about? :: In a village known only by the name Snow Mountain, a dog named Bodi (Luke Wilson) is supposed to be the next guard, guarding the sheep there from the wolves who wish to eat each and every one of them. His father Khampa (J. K. Simmons) hopes that some day, he will take over the place to become the tough guard whom every wolf will be afraid of. But Bodi doesn’t even come close to looking like a tough guard dog, and keeping the wolves out is rather something which seems impossible. But Khampa is sure that the bad wolves led by Linnux (Lewis Black) will return one day or the other, and orders everyone to be vigiliant if they are to stay alive. To avoid making any noise, he has banned music there, locking up every musical instrument, and also keeps some of the sheep disguised as dogs so that the wolves will think that there are many of them, and they are all alert.
So, what happens next? :: Bodi keeps failing the training, and even fails to work with his father’s special movie known as the Iron Paw that was to be the one thing which would give the dogs advantage over the wolves who are wild are huge in number. To add to it, Bodi also becomes interested in rock music, after listening to the rock legend Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard) through a radio which falls down from an airplane. As he steals something from all those musical instruments which were locked up by his father and starts playng, there is the realization among everyone that he is not going to listen, and he would never be the guard dog who is to save the village from the wolves. Even after trying many methods to change his son, he finds none of them working. The village elder Fleetwood Yak (Sam Elliott) asks Khampa to let Bodi become whatever he wants, and do whichever thing he finds comfortable in his life. Khampa lets him go on one condition that he will return for guard duty if he fails in becoming a popular musician.
And what is to follow with this adventure? :: Bodi leaves Snow Mountain, but is followed by a few wolves who wish to take him hostage so that they can use him as the key to attack Snow Mountain. But Bodi survives by luck and reaches the centre of city – There he finds a band which consists of a fox Darma (Mae Whitman), a goat named Germur (Jorge Garcia), and a snow leopard named Trey (Matt Dillon). He is humiliated by Trey, who defeats him in a guitar contest, and tells him to go and learn from him favourite rockstar who has a certain god effect among the music lovers. Bodi sets off to the rockstar’s house at the exact moment, but little does he realize that the man is not what he thought he was. Mr. Scatterhood is a Persian cat who lives a lonely life, having no companion other than a robot. He has a high security setup which is meant to keep everyone away. Can Bodi, chased by wolves, make the fan-hating rockstar at least look at him? And who will save the Snow Mountain?
The defence of Rock Dog :: There are not many other animated movies which have managed to pull something out with what seems to be so less in hand. We have our protagonist who tries to go beyond what he is supposed to be, chasing his dreams, as many other animated movie characters have done in the past. There is also one rockstar who reminds us of so many celebrities in our world. With the funny side as well as the inner messages, this one scores over many other animated movies which have got the appreciation of the critics, including the overrated Brave, happiness magnet Trolls and the last year’s nomination Kubo and the Two Strings. We see the main characters, the rock dog, the rock cat, the sheep and the wolves, and we enjoy watching what each of them do, and how everything turns out for all. It surely turns better than what the critics had told you, and you get to go searching for what you really need in your life – and most probably go against what society tells you.
The claws of flaw :: Just as expected, this one also doesn’t move that much away from its predictability, and it also takes too much time to get into the action – considering its extra short run-time which doesn’t even reach one and half hours, it makes the movie even shorter after that. It is based on the Chinese graphic novel named Tibetan Rock Dog by Zheng Jun, and one has to wonder if this lives up to that, and whether it could have done better with the material already in hand. The animation also seems a little strange considering how much it has developed – here, it seems to be animated in a rather lesser way when we look at some parts; it is more because of the quality which has been brought in animation with flicks like Frozen, Moana, Zootopia, Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon, Inside Out, Kung Fu Panda and many others. Rock Dog is not really rocking when we consider that department deeper. Also, for most of us, rock works less.
How it finishes :: We keep seeing the animal world taking over, with them reigning all over with the animation – there is Sing, Zootopia, and others which has them all over as Cars have the vehicles power going on. Sing even has the music as do Rock Dog, and there is the presence of a few things common which you can search and find or ignore as you wish. The critics may not have been that lenient with Rock Dog as they have been with certain other movies, which rather surprises a lot of us, but everyone can surely watch this movie with the same feeling as they approach most of the other animated movies, as I can surely say that Rock Dog is not that far behind as you think, and when thinking about it from another angle, there is more than enough to keep this as interesting adventure with moments which are to be remembered – rocking at times, as a few people I know would describe it.
Release date: 24th February 2017
Running time: 80 minutes
Directed by: Ash Brannon
Starring: Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J. K. Simmons, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon, Sam Elliott, Liza Richardson, Ash Brannon, Will Finn, Julie Craig, Deng Feng, Kellen Goff, Jennifer Hale, Matthew W. Taylor
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.