Rock Dog

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 FrozenMoana, 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

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

The Lego Batman Movie

Vampire Owl: Are you sure that he is not your relative who left home many years ago?

Vampire Bat: No, Batman is not related to any of us. You can refer to any vampire code.

Vampire Owl: But bat is still the most popular thing in vampire mythology, and might link to all of us.

Vampire Bat: And Batman is the most popular superhero, thanks to Christopher Nolan.

Vampire Owl: I am rather surprised by the same. I had thought that humans never really liked the bats.

Vampire Bat: They are really not fond of the owls either.

Vampire Owl: It is their loss not to like the owls. I even have plans to save humans from extinction.

Vampire Bat: But your plans have always been about taking over the world.

Vampire Owl: Taking over the world is very significant as a part of saving the world.

Vampire Bat: Batman surely won’t like that.

[Gets three cups of black tea with a piece of marble cake].

What is the movie about? :: From the usual DC universe, we are taken to the Lego universe, where Batman (Will Arnett) continues to fight crime like no other, in the Gotham City, something which he seems to have been doing for an eternity and more to come. The caped crusader remains the city’s last hope against a large group of villains including the menacing king of them all, the Joker (Zach Galifianakis), his love interest and most faithful follower Harley Quinn (Jenny Slate), and the rest of them – a list having Two-Face (Billy Dee Williams), Poison Ivy (Riki Lindhome), Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), Penguin (John Venzon), Killer Croc (Matt Villa), The Riddler (Conan O’Brien), Bane (Doug Benson), Mr. Freeze (David Burrows), Scarecrow (Jason Mantzoukas) and Clayface (Kate Micucci) among others. Batman also remains Gotham’s most loved figure, even though he doesn’t have a social life otherwise.

So, what happens next in the movie? :: During one of the Joker’s master-plans including a group of Gotham’s master-criminals, he faces Batman talking about himself as Batman’s greatest opponent of all-time, without whom the man with the bat symbol would have no purpose. He tells Batman that he is the reason why Gotham’s favourite superhero has to wake up every morning and be what he has been for many years. Having given the difficult option of catching him or saving the city, Batman chooses to let him go without second thoughts, telling him that he is not important, and even Superman (Channing Tatum) is more interesting than him. With his feelings hurt being not even as important as an alien who can’t be a bad guy, Joker decides to have the ultimate revenge on Batman, and make him as well as everyone in the city understand how significant a villain he is.

And what follows the same in the movie? :: Meanwhile, Batman leads a boring life as Bruce Wayne, having only his butler Alfred Pennyworth (Ralph Fiennes) as the one close to him. His only other big friend is the Batcomputer (Siri), and he spends his lonely time in the Batcave, doing everything by himself. Later, the city is having the programme of retirement of Commissioner Gordon (Héctor Elizondo) and the ascension of his daughter Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) as the new police commissioner of Gotham City. There, Barbara plans to have the police do the work, and not the vigilante Batman who hasn’t been that much successful as expected. It is then, that Joker also comes in with most of the other criminals, and they all surrender, leaving Batman with nothing to fight for. But both Batman and Barbara are doubtful about Joker’s real intention. What would that be?

The defence of The Lego Batman Movie :: The movie clearly follows the path of The Lego Movie, and the feeling of the same is maintained in this one. This also manages to be slightly better than the original movie. The jokes are very much working right from the beginning, and most of them nicely make fun of the superhero movies, especially Batman and Superman with those super-villains. It does manage to take the elements of a superhero movie, and nicely use them in the tale to create the humour. There are also villains from outside the DC, including Lord Voldemort, Sauron, King Kong, Witch of the West and Agent Smith. We can also consider this one was a sarcastic take on how the superhero movies are made, and how the characters are created in them. Batman’s attitude towards Superman, as well as to Iron Man, all becomes part of the fun, as the tale is rather re-written here, and this is also one of the best depictions of Batman and Joker relationship, even though funny.

The claws of flaw :: This one doesn’t become your usual animated movie, if you look at it closely. It can’t be associated with the beauty of the animated movies which have ruled our minds, like Moana, Zootopia, Frozen, Inside Out, Rise of the Guardians or anything similar. All jokes don’t come strong either. There will always be people who don’t like this kind of animation, and also those considering Batman as something bigger than everything else, who will find parody done in a cruel way when they look at this one. There is also quite a slow middle part for this one, and the childish ways also follow this movie. There is a certain exaggeration which is also there as we look further into each character. Also in the end, except for Batman, nobody else has really changed, which makes this movie something about him and him only, as the character talks about all the time. This could have surely been wider with its message, and also more focused on the world.

How it finishes :: There are a few lessons which the DC Extended Universe can take from this movie too, and can apply when they come up with another movie in the franchise. Even though The Lego Movie was a good movie without doubt, we have a pleasant surprise here as this movie manages to come up as a fine spin-off to the same. There are so many moments that will remain in your mind to come back again when watching a superhero movie again, like Batman keeping the password for his computer as “Iron Man sucks”, the never-ending hate between Batman and Joker, the strange friendship or the lack of the same between Batman and Superman, and many other things. We could have had many superheroes about whom a spin-off from The Lego Movie could have made, but it is about Batman because after The Dark Knight franchise, everything had deviated in his way, and most of the fans will find it easy to say that Iron Man sucks for Batman – even the coming of Wonder Woman won’t change much – Batman will always be Batman, and as the movie asks, we can only be ourselves, as we can’t be Batman.

Release date: 10th February 2017
Running time: 104 minutes
Directed by: Chris McKay
Starring: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, Jenny Slate, Siri, Héctor Elizondo, Lauren White, Mariah Carey, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Jemaine Clement, Billy Dee Williams, Riki Lindhome, Conan O’Brien, Jason Mantzoukas, Zoë Kravitz, Kate Micucci, Doug Benson, David Burrows, Matt Villa, John Venzon, Laura Kightlinger, Todd Hansen, Chris McKay, Richard Cheese, Channing Tatum, Ellie Kemper, Jonah Hill, Adam DeVine, Brent Musburger, Ralph Garman, Chris Hardwick

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.