"stands on its own and is just Glorious!"
From filmmaker Ash Brannon who was instrumental in bringing us the likes of Toy Story, Surf's Up and Toy Story 2 comes Rock Dog, a simple and sweet story about following your dreams no matter what.
The story starts off at a village populated by Sheep and a Yak (I’ll get to him later) protected by a lone Tibetan Mastiff; Khampa (J.K. Simmons) from an impending attack from the Wolf Pack. Since Khampa is alone he devises the idea of using the Sheep as a Mastiff Army to keep the Wolves at bay.
Fast forward and Khampa’s son Bodi (Luke Wilson) is old enough to take his position as protector of the village but when a radio falls from the sky into Bodi’s paws, the young Mastiff decides to leave home to fulfill his dream of becoming a musician, setting into motion a series of completely unexpected events.
Right off the bat, this movie is beautiful to look at, the scenery is picturesque and the animation is on point. I said above that this is a simple and sweet story, and it is, and by saying that is by no means a bad thing; it’s a story that we can all relate to - we have all had dreams and aspirations to leave a mark on his World, and Bodi has the same dream.
The characters are just delightful and incredibly well cast; from the effortless, stern tones of Simmons as Khampa to Wilson as the wide eyed and somewhat naive Bodi to Eddie Izzard as music icon Angus Scattergood and the genius casting of Sam Elliot as Fleetwood Yak, who acts as both narrator to the story, the voice of reason for Khampa and guide to Bodi.
The other voice casting in the film are just superb; from Kenan Thompson as Riff, Jorge Garcia as Germur, Mae Whitman’s Darma, Matt Dillon’s antagonistic Trey and Lewis Black’s Wolf Pack leader Linnux, Rock Dog is a delight from start to finish, and I’d be remised if I didn’t mention the music, which is catchy and is a definite plus to the film,
As an unapologetic fan of Animated films, it is refreshing to see a gem of a film come from a lesser known studio; this doesn’t have the stamp on it from Disney, Pixar, Illumination or the like, it stands on its own and is just Glorious!
This is Ash Brannon’s second animated film after Surf's Up after nearly ten years, and he should make more, Rock Dog is a triumph from start to finish; I particularly loved the sequence in the film that tells the back story of an epic battle won by Khampa that is told with drawings.