This breezy animated comedy adventure doesn't rise to Pixar's heights, but its tale of a Tibetan Mastiff with pop music dreams is rather endearing.
A new breed of rock star.
In the Himalayan village of Snow Mountain, generations of Tibetan Mastiffs have guarded the local sheep from wolves. Khampa, the current warrior dog, expects his son Bodi to follow family tradition, but Bodi yearns to become a musician instead.
After a transistor radio falls from a plane, he decides to follow the example of his new idol, British pop star Angus Scattergood, and head to the city to pursue his dream. Unfortunately, lupine gangster Linnux has spotted Bodi’s departure and dispatched his henchmen to kidnap him…
Based on the comic-book novel Tibetan Rock Dog by Chinese rock singer Zheng Jun (opens in new tab), computer-animated comedy adventure Rock Dog doesn’t rise to the heights of Pixar, but its blend of breezy music biz satire, quirky characters and rumbustious action is rather endearing.
Incredibly cool cat
The voice cast fit their parts to a T, with Luke Wilson supplying goofy innocence as Bodi, while JK Simmons is suitably gruff as his disapproving dad. Sam Elliott echoes his narrating Stranger from The Big Lebowski as the drawling Fleetwood Yak and Matt Dillon has fun with vain snow leopard guitarist Trey, one of the characters Bodi encounters in the city’s Rock and Roll Park.
Best of all, though, is Eddie Izzard’s incredibly cool cat Angus, a white Persian who lives in a gated mansion with only his robot butler Ozzie for company. Permanently in sunglasses (he puts cucumber slices on top of his shades), he is every inch the pampered rock recluse and the source of many of the film’s funniest moments, including a corny but amusing running gag involving a pair of workmen carrying a giant pane of glass and the mansion’s electrified gate. Ouch!
Certificate PG. Runtime 90 mins. Director Ash Brannon
A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.
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