Dogs Gotta Rock, Apparently – Rock Dog (2016)

Something tells me we are not going to hear a lot from Mandoo Pictures in the future.  So this is about a dog named Bodi (Luke Wilson).  His father (J.K. Simmons) wants him to take the mantle and protect this village of sheep from an outlying gang of wolves, but Bodi has music in his heart, and he must travel to the big city to pursue his dream of being a rock dog.  Now I saw a trailer for this, and I thought it looked bad.  Really bad.  Just from an animation standpoint, it looks like it could use more rendering passes, and this looked all too similar to Norm of the North.  I was expecting something that could potentially hit my bottom 10 list for the year, so when it actually came out being simply watchable, I was pleasantly surprised.

2I’m still not saying you should watch it, though.

Now there are actually some semi-famous names featured in this.  There’s Luke Wilson who is clearly doing an Owen Wilson impression here, and I am guessing that he was probably too busy to work on this.  Simmons has the emphatic voice for animation (see: Zootopia), but he should probably be a little bit more discerning with the projects that he takes.  In addition to that, you have talented people like Eddie Izzard, Lewis Black, Sam Elliott, Mae Whitman and more.  The problem with this movie is that there isn’t enough here to justify its existence.  To say that the animation is rough around the edges would be an understatement, and it looks like it would be outdated even if it came out at the turn of the century.  The writing never really sparkles, and there really isn’t much present as far as legitimately written jokes.  Really, the only thing I actually cared for in this was the interactions between Bodi and this rock cat named Angus Scattergood, voiced by Eddie Izzard.  Angus is just such a selfish character that treats everybody around him like dirt, and it makes for really the only source of friction in an otherwise completely tame story.

1And this is coming from somebody who does not get along with cats.

Rock Dog is not terrible, it just is a movie that has no business having a theatrical release.  Everything about this screams direct-to-video, and honestly, the makers of this should have struck a deal with Netflix streaming.  I’m also getting sick of these characters that are just Minions rip-offs; Norm of the North had those lemmings, The Lorax had those fish and the sheep in here are simply that: mischievous characters that have hardly any thought put into them and their sole purpose is to just get into trouble.  While Rock Dog isn’t nearly as bad as it looks, it is still really difficult to recommend to anybody, as I think children would be mostly bored by this.

Rock Dog (2016) **1/2

–  Critic for Hire


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