“Dad, I’ve decided to become a musician,” says Bodi the Tibetan Mastiff (voiced by Luke Wilson) to his father, Khampa (voiced by J.K. Simmons), yearning to not follow in his father’s pawsteps and instead form a rock band in the animated comedy, Rock Dog.
Life is easy and peaceful on Snow Mountain, with Khampa guarding the simple-minded wool-making sheep from the hungry wolves led by Linnux (voiced by Lewis Black). In addition to his sheep guarding duties, Khampa’s busy training his wide-eyed, ever optimistic son Bodi, hoping the kid will follow in his pawsteps. However, when a radio falls from a passing plane and Bodi discovers it, life on the mountain changes. Bodi hears the sounds of rock ‘n roll and becomes obsessed with music.
Bodi sneaks away from his chores and begins using all his free time practicing on a guitar he made. And, strangely enough, he definitely has real talent. After listening to an interview with the legendary and reclusive musician Angus Scattergood (voiced by Eddie Izzard) talking about never giving up and forming your own band, Bodi drums up the courage to tell his father he wants to leave Snow Mountain for a shot at being a musician in the big city.
Reluctant to let his kid go, Khampa tries to discourage Bodi and forces him to take part in even more guard dog training – something which winds up a disaster for the village. However, after talking to his friend, Fleetwood Yak (voiced by Sam Elliott), who offers up the advice that Bodi has to find his own way, Khampa encourages Bodi to go to the city and give it a try. But, he makes him promise to come home and become a guard dog if music doesn’t work out. Permission granted, Bodi jumps on the bus and heads into the city to search for band members. He also dreams of becoming a student of his idol, the one and only Angus Scattergood.
Colorful, funny, and with a positive message for kids, Rock Dog‘s an animated adventure that has enough slapstick to entertain the kids and pop culture jokes and humor to entertain their parents.
Rock Dog benefits from a strong voice cast led by Luke Wilson who brings the likeable, naïve, and always positive Bodi to life on the screen. J.K. Simmons is great as the tough and strong-willed Khampa who loves his son enough to let him go out on his own and find his own way. However, it’s Eddie Izzard as the self-absorbed, reclusive, and hilarious musician Angus Scattergood who steals the film and raises it to another level comedically. Angus constantly tries to get rid of Bodi who won’t take no for answer, clinging to Angus’ advice to never give up and becoming the victim of several slapstick moments in the style reminiscent of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. It’s clear Izzard used a combination of Ozzie Osbourne and Mick Jagger to create Angus’ personality and it works perfectly.
With funny and likeable characters, plenty of slapstick, and a positive message for kids about finding your own voice, Rock Dog is an entertaining and above average animated film that’s the perfect matinee movie for families.
MPAA Rating: PG for action and language
Running Time: 90 minutes
Directed By: Ash Brannon
Release Date: February 24, 2017
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