Solid Family Entertainment
Directed by Ash Brannon
Starring Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J. K. Simmons
Released February 24th, 2017
Bodi (Luke Wilson) is a good natured young mastiff living in a village on Snow Mountain that is mostly populated with sheep. Bodi’s father Khampa (J. K. Simmons) is in charge of protecting the sheep from wolves lurking outside the village. Bodi is expected to follow in his father’s pawsteps, but he develops an obsession with music after a radio falls out of the sky from a passing airplane The Gods Must Be Crazy style.
The voice cast is excellent, with Eddie Izzard being the stand-out, clearly having a ball shouting “Twit!” multiple times in a family film.
With the encouragement of village elder Fleetwood Yak (Sam Elliott), Bodi travels to the city with the intention of becoming the apprentice of world famous rock star Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard). Angus owes his record company a hit single, but he’s in a writer’s rut and can’t seem to do much more besides mime to recordings of past glories and boss around his robot butler Ozzie.
While he tries to convince Angus to mentor him, Bodi hangs out in Rock n’ Roll park and meets fellow musicians including Trey (Matt Dillon), a braggadocious snow leopard guitarist, Germur (Jorge Garcia) a mellow goat drummer, and Darma (Mae Whitman), a friendly bass playing fox.
Bodi was followed to the city by Riff (Kenan Thompson) and Skozz, wolves sent by their boss Linnux (Lewis Black), the alpha wolf who wants to invade Snow Mountain and feast on sheep. Linnux also owns the “Fight Palace” in which Bodi eventually finds himself facing off against a grizzly bear. It’s a long story.
The voice cast is excellent, with Eddie Izzard being the stand-out, clearly having a ball shouting “Twit!” multiple times in a family film. Adam Friedman provides Bodi’s singing voice while contributing a few catchy tunes including “That’s The Way That I Like It” and “Glorious.” Jaco Caraco (formerly of Miley Cyrus’ band) wails his guitar on the song “Shout It Out.” The soundtrack also includes “Learn to Fly” by Foo Fighters and (surprisingly!) “No Surprises” by Radiohead.
While Rock Dog’s computer animation doesn’t look as slick as some other big budget animated movies, it makes up for it with a clever, involving script and engaging, memorable characters. Directed by Ash Brannon (Toy Story 2) and based on Tibetan Rock Dog, a graphic novel written and illustrated by Chinese rocker Zheng Jun, Rock Dog is an upbeat, fun movie about the positive power of music that the whole family will enjoy.