To complain that “Rock Dog” is a low-quality bit of animated flotsam is something akin to complaining about the wind blowing, that’s simply it’s nature. “Rock Dog” is animated cash in from China that isn’t meant to be good but rather is intended as a product, and a cheap one at that. China may still be under the boot of Communism but the burgeoning capitalists working their way around the government have learned a thing or two from Hollywood charlatans who pump out product rather than art or even the modest bit of fluffy entertainment.
“Rock Dog” features the voice of Luke Wilson, a paragon of youthful enthusiasm at a mere 45 years old, as teenage mastiff singer Bodi. Bodi lives on Snow Mountain with his bruising mastiff daddy Khampa (J.K Simmons) who has seemingly planned Bodi’s life for him. Like his dad, Bodi is expected to become a guard dog, protecting the simple and sweet sheep of Snow Mountain from the dastardly and deadly wolves, led by Linnux (Lewis Black).
Bodi however, dreams of music and when a radio falls from the sky from a passing airplane Bodi finds his muse in a rock singer named Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard). With dreams of having Angus teach him about music, Bodi leaves his family behind to travel to the city and join a band. Unfortunately, the wolves see Bodi leaving and see it as a chance to attack the village. Can Bodi achieve his dreams and still find a way to protect Snow Mountain? Will you care?
Don’t let this incredibly funny voice cast fool you, “Rock Dog” has only three laughs. Mostly “Rock Dog” seems to exist. The story is rudimentary, as my description indicates, when it isn’t filling time with nonsense about wrestling a murderous bear or padding things further with voiceover from Sam Elliott as, ugh,….. Fleetwood Yak. Somewhere several screenwriters high fived over that pun.
No, Fleetwood Yak is not one of the three laughs in the movie, though it did rank among the uncountable groans. No, Eddie Izzard’s rock star cat was responsible for the laughs “Rock Dog” inspires. One comes when he is forced into a bit of old school Warner Brothers slapstick, the second when he feels guilty for stealing a song from Bodi and is shamed by his robot butler and the last wasn’t memorable enough for me to recount but I can at least admit the laugh was there.
Does a negative review of “Rock Dog” matter in any way? Of course, not. Most parents don’t care what they throw in front of their small child’s consciousness. That said, for the few parents who do care, for the parents who are vigilant and give thought and care to what their children consume, this review is for you. This review says don’t waste your child’s developing brain cells on this. It’s not that “Rock Dog” is offensive or even bad for the children who do see it. Rather, that “Rock Dog” isn’t worth the 89 minutes your child could be reading or imagining or exploring a worthy work of pop entertainment. This review is for anyone who actually read all the way to the end of a review of “Rock Dog.”