ROCK DOG – In Cinemas and Sky Store from TODAY – From Mulan to The Pursuit of Happyness: Follow Your Dreams
For the Tibetan Mastiffs living on Snow Mountain, a dog’s life has a simple riff; Guard a peaceful village of wool-making sheep from the thuggish wolf Linnux (Lewis Black; Inside Out, The Aristocrats) and his rabid pack. To avoid distractions, Mastiff leader Khampa (J.K Simmons; Whiplash, Spider-Man) forbids all music from the mountain. But when Khampa’s son Bodi (Luke Wilson; Legally Blonde, Charlie’s Angels) discovers a radio dropped by a passing aeroplane, it takes just a few guitar licks for his fate to be sealed: Bodi wants to be a rock’n’roll star. Yet that means defying his father’s wishes, heading to the city and locating the legendary – and reclusive – musician Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard; Cars 2, Valkyrie), who needs to write a new song and fast.
If Bodi can put a band together, help Angus with his song, and defeat the wolves’ plot to take Snow Mountain, his life will be in tune. Body will become what he’s always dreamed of being: More than a dog...more than a rock god... he’ll be a ROCK DOG!
Many film-makers have used this theme in order to propel their hero’s into a life-defining journey. Ultimately transforming their character from a position where they are confined by what is expected of them by their society and family, rather than what they truly desire to become, into something extraordinary. Rock Dog is one such story, starring Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard and J.K Simmons. Bodi (Luke Wilson) a Tibetan Mastiff is struggling to live up to the position that both his father and society has envisioned for him, guarding the sheep who live on their mountain. Instead, Bodi desires to play his guitar and sing, much to his father’s frustration. One day a radio drops from a plane flying over the mountain which Bondi finds and tunes into a station where hears an interview with rock legend Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard). The rocker advises aspirational musicians to follow their dreams and should never stop pursuing it, even when their dad says stop. Bodi embarks upon a voyage of musical discovery to become a rock star in his own right and meet his hero Scattergood.
To celebrate the release of Rock Dog, in cinemas from 16th June, we’ve had a look at some of our favourite characters who’ve been on an adventure to follow their dreams...
The Oscar-nominated 1998 Disney film, continues the precedent established by Disney animation by focusing on female lead characters. Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) is supposed to become a young maiden, when her father threatened by an opposing army. In order to save her father, she disguises herself as a man and joins her father’s army, and is crucial in winning the war. Mulan remains one of Disney’s early progressive animated films. The film remains ground-breaking in dealing with a number of issues including gender, and positively inspiring a new generation of women.
Released in 2000, the film follows a young boy Elliot (Jamie Bell) growing up in the north-east of Britain during the miner Strike in 1984-85. He has a strong desire to dance, hiding it from his father and brother who are both miners. Billy is sent by his father (Gary Lewis) to a boxing class, which Billy quickly discovers is not to his liking and instead joins a formal ballet class taught by the formidable Mrs Wilkinson (Julie Walters), quickly discovering his talent as a dancer. Upon discovering Billy’s dancing ability his father ends the lessons fearing that their own society will judge Billy. After a series of confrontations and heated arguments between Billy, his father, Mrs Wilkinson and Billy’s brother Tony (Jamie Draven). The money is raised for Billy to travel to London to attend The Royal Ballet School, and 15 years later Father and Son watch Billy for the first time in Swan Lake. The film was such a roaring success that it was adapted into a musical on stage, again re-defining gender norms.
How to Train Your Dragon
The unlikely pairing of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his dragon Toothless. In a world where dragons are categorised as dangerous monsters, Hiccup discovers that they may not be as dangerous as they believed. Hiccup’s Viking culture, led by his father Stoick (Gerard Butler) who is also the chief, is raised to fight against the dragons who continually steal their livestock. However, Hiccup is an inventor, and small in stature and does not possess the Viking love of war and conflict. Upon discovering an injured Toothless, he invents a means of using the dragon to fly and explore the world beyond sail boats and war.
By the end of the film, Hiccup is able to totally alter the perception of the Vikings village to the extent that dragons and people happily coincide.
La La Land
The Oscar award winning film stormed through the award ceremonies with its heartfelt story examining the relationship between Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone). Set against the world of actors and Jazz music, both characters are trying to pursue their own dreams. Sebastian’s intense love of older Jazz holds him in confliction between his dreams of owning a nightclub where he would play classic Jazz music, whilst trying to survive the wave of new age music. Mia’s dream is to be become an actress, exposing the gruelling process of casting audition after casting audition. The pair work together to support each other’s dreams, providing the perseverance and determination required to be more than you are.
The Pursuit of Happyness
The real-life story of Chris Gardner (Will Smith), a struggling salesman who invests his entire life savings in portable bone density scanning machines, which he sells as an innovation over the larger X-Ray machines. Gardner is able to generate some income but the time between each sale is long, meaning he and his son Christopher (Jaden Smith) struggle to live day to day. Gardner spent nearly a year being homeless until a chance encounter enables him to enter an internship which will allow him to become a stockbroker if successful. The film is an inspirational example of one man pursuing his dream to support his family, and that despite the numerous step-backs he endures, Gardner is an example of someone turning a set of truly unfair life conditions into a huge success. He now owns his own multi-million dollar brokerage firm.
ROCK DOG IS RELEASED IN UK CINEMAS FROM JUNE 16