Rock Dog is an animated feature and collaboration between Chinese and U.S. filmmakers. Bodie is a Mastiff living in Tibet. His destiny is to keep wolves from devouring the sheep he and his father are charged with watching. Dad’s idea to keep wolves at bay is to dress sheep up in soldier clothing and have them stand guard. It’s an idea — if you know anything about sheep — that leads to a lot of comedy.
One day, a radio falls from the sky, and on it, Bodie hears rock music for the first time. Hooked, Bodie wants to play music and not save sheep. Dad objects, but — wait for it — Fleetwood Yak comes to his defense, and Bodie heads to the city and rock ‘n’ roll destiny.
Ash Brannon (co-director of Toy Story 2 and Surf’s Up) and eight other writers wrote the screenplay. It is based on the Chinese graphic novel Tibetan Rock Dog that is nothing like the movie. Actually, the graphic novel plot would be a better movie. Or at least one that’s a little more mature.
This isn’t to say that Rock Dog isn’t fun. While the music is rather bland, the story is packed with laughs and terrific performances from its ensemble cast.
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Director: Ash Brannon
Stars: Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliott, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated PG for mature themes. It’s playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas Pasco and Queensgate 12s and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.