Rock Dog Review!
Whelp, George is gonna be happy about this one. Rock Dog is a 2016 animated film adaptation of a Chinese graphic novel, “The Tibetan Rock Dog,” and from the few bits of research I’ve done it strays pretty far from the source material, which I have no interest in reading anyways so who cares. That being said it must have been pretty popular to warrant a film being made out of it, and so here we are! Let’s see if this film is actually worth the watch.
The film begins with a kung-fu panda esque 2d animated intro explaining the backstory of our main character, his father, and the mountain, creatively called snow mountain, they protect. To sum it up, a tibetan mastiff named Khampa who has weird hand powers where he can shoot a laser, and once beat up a bunch of wolves and becomes the protector of snow mountain, which only has one song. His son, Bodi, which is not pronounced body, is too interested in becoming a musician however, so his dad is a dick and makes music illegal, locking up every instrument.
Years pass and Bodi is still more interested in music than being a guards dog. They also have made a bunch of costumes for the sheep to wear to make them look like they’re also tibetan mastiffs, stopping the wolves from ever attacking again. One day while in the fields, Bodi witnesses a cargo plane accidently drop some cargo, one of which is a radio. After tinkering with it he hears the first new song anyone in this village has ever heard, and trips fuckin balls because of it.
Bodi then goes behind his father’s back, steals a Shamisen from where all the instruments are stored, then makes it into a guitar. He then plays it and walks through the city, attracting a parade of sheep until Khampa notices. They get into a big fight and Khampa goes to a bar, where he talks with Sam Elliot Yak, who has a name but it’s such a stupid pun he’s just Sam Elliot Yak. After a bit of talking, Khampa gives Bodi a bus to go to the big city, and tells him that if this music thing doesn’t work out he has to come back. However, as he leaves, a few of the wolves notice, and give chase.
Good lord we’re already 4 paragraphs in and we haven’t even passed the 20 minute mark. Well the good news is the film slows down here. The two wolves that noticed Bodi fail in kidnapping him, and we then get a ripoff of the scene in zootopia where Judy first enters the city. We then get a bit of vehicular manslaughter, before Bodi finds his way to a park where there’s all sorts of music being played at once. He meets a few new characters in an indie band, a fox named Darma, a stoner goat named Germur, and a chester cheetah look alike named Trey.
After a failed guitar off, he gets pointed in the direction of this big musical guy named Angus Scattergood, and then heads over to his house. He gets rejected a few times before Angus comes outside and tells Bodi off himself. However he gets locked outside of his own mansion and after a bit of running from fans, is forced to hang with Bodi for a bit until he can get money for a cab. The wolves accidentally kidnap Angus, so Bodi looks insane and none of the guys in the band believe him. The mistake is corrected when the bad guys drop Angus back off at his home, and I’m gonna need to cut this plot thing here before it gets too long. To characters!
Eeeeh they’re fine, some characters are static, mostly the band members, but it’s fine to have static characters in your story. The characters who actually grow and change are Bodi, Angus, and Khampa. Bodi learns to control his father’s power through music, Khampa learns to accept his son for who he is, and Angus learns to be less of a dick bag. It’s very simplistic, but hey what do you expect? The acting is also fine, no one really stands out in any great scene but no one is particularly terrible either. All around, films characters are pretty good.
Another point to this film, pretty good animation really. It’s fluid, the characters move like how you’d expect them to move, and the animation when they play guitar is pretty good too. I’m even going to compliment the character design. While most background characters look like they’re just copied and pasted, the designs of our main characters are unique, and do reflect what our characters are like. It’s kinda weird being this positive about a movie honestly, let’s finish this up before I become an optimist or something.
After getting a phone call saying he needs a new song by the next day, Angus hears Bodi play a song he made, and thinks it’s pretty good. He brings him in, gives him a guitar and we get a montage of them making the song, in which we see Bodis hand powers come from music. They finish the song, and Angus says goodbye to Bodi. Bodi goes down to the park and excitedly tells the band about making a song, but when everyone is listening to the radio, Angus says that he made the song himself and once again no one believes Bodi.
While wallowing in his sadness, alone, a bunch of wolves pull up in cars and get Bodi with a tranquilizer dart! They get bodi to the boss, and in his loopy state Bodi lets it slip that the army of tibetan mastiffs is fake. The wolves leave Bodi to die in a boxing ring, but he escapes. Meanwhile, Darma and Germur come back only to find Bodis guitar full of darts, and then Angus shows up feeling bad about what he did. They all get into the bus together and drive off, eventually finding Bodi, and they all drive off to shave the sheep.
By the time they get there, the wolves have already captured all of the sheep and are about to cook them, but decide instead to capture Bodi. After a breif chase sequence, Bodi uses his guitar powers, and makes all the animals float as they listen to his song. When the song is over, everyone is pacified, except for the main wolf who Khampa just out right kills. Everyone reconciles, and Bodi, Angus, Darma and Germur all make a big successful band, and the wolves who are still alive agree not to try and eat the sheep any more. The End!
This film is, fine. It’s not great, but it’s also not terrible at the same time. I’d recommend this film to someone who, say, has a kid or is babysitting someone elses kid and they’re trying to find a movie to watch, then it’d be fine to stick around with them. It’s not anything you’re gonna get angry or annoyed at, in fact you might even laugh a couple of times like me and the rest of the crew did, it was clearly made by competent people. And, yeah I guess if you’re a furry you’ll like this movie too. Anyways, some news before we end off here, next week is gonna be “Space month!” where we review terrible movies that have the word space in their name. Can’t wait to talk about some of the garbage we found, so I’ll see you guys next week!