By: Reel 127 (Three Beers) –
Zootopia was one of the biggest animated films last year. Naturally we have to expect a lot of animated talking animal flicks in the near future. So, who’s ready for another animated film about: a small town protagonist, who has big dreams, goes to the big city to follow their dreams, gets beaten down by the world some, becomes a hero in the end, and have the movie end on a big concert!?
Rock Dog is about Bodi (Luke Wilson), a Tibetan mastiff who wants to be a rock star. But his father (J.K. Simmons) wants him to stay in their village to defend the sheep from wolves. Bodi eventually goes to the city, but learns it is harder to be a rock star than he expected.
If you think a dog can’t fight a wolf,
I give you the one breed that can.
J.K. Simmons was the best of the voice cast, hands down. He’s one of those actors, though, that has done plenty of voice work and knows what they’re doing. Too often it feels like celebrities cast for animated films are just reading their lines. He does a fantastic job of giving an authoritative voice while still having comedic timing.
For a movie with J.K. Simmons that’s about music
there was very little yelling about tempo.
The animation was surprisingly good and very pleasing to watch. It doesn’t look as good as something made by Disney or Pixar, obviously. But it still looks better than Nut Job, or Norm of the North. The humor was the strongest thing the script had going for it. I found myself laughing more than I had expected to going in.
I wish I could compliment the cast more, but ultimately none really stood out. The only other thing of note is that Sam Elliot is in this movie, and he is pretty much playing the exact same character as he did in The Big Lebowski. This time he is voicing a character called Fleetwood Yak. Get it!? Like the band, but a yak!
Constantly typecast as a 4th Wall Breaker.
Despite having good actors (even some good voice actors) the rest of the cast is really there to just have their name on the project. Most of the characters are flat and the changes they make are just because the script calls for it. Mae Whitman’s character could have been cut from the movie and there would have been little change if any. Bodi is the cliché animated protagonist, a happy-go-lucky guy who thinks the best of everyone despite how they treat him. Then because of one betrayal about two-thirds in he gets sad. Pretty standard, am I right?
As a result of mediocre character writing, the story is pretty mediocre too. The pacing and balancing of storlines is done well enough. But the progression not so much. Many of the things that happened didn’t feel like the result of cause and effect. It always felt like the next thing needed to happen and something had to be shoved in there to make it happen. It ends up making the story incredibly predictable. By the end it felt like everything had been wrapped up too quickly and neatly.
I can’t hate this movie. It made me laugh enough for that. Despite just being the English dub of a Chinese animated film; it is clear a lot of work and love went into this movie from both sides. I won’t be recommending people check it out anytime soon, but it is a great flick for kids. There isn’t much value in seeing it in theaters; if it gets a Netflix release, though, it can be a fun watch.
Rock Dog (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time you recognize a voice actor and go, “They’re in this?”
Take a Drink: every time a sheep forgets something.
Take a Drink: every time you wonder if a scene was ripped off of Zootopia.
Take a Drink: every time Angus is talking on one of those old school cellphones.
Do a Shot: for that one weird moment when it looks like Bodi is on a rock-induced drug trip.