Rock Dog is one of those films you can’t help but wonder how it made it into theaters into the first place. It’s a poorly animated film that looks like it was made in 2009 and found at the bottom of the bargain bin at Walmart. Nothing rocks about Rock Dog, and the humane thing to do would have been to put the film out to pasture long ago.
Bodi (Luke Wilson) is a young Tibetan Mastiff who dreams of being a rockstar, but his father (J.K. Simmons) wants him to follow in his own footsteps and be a literal guard dog for a colony of sheep atop the mountain where they live. He strives to teach Bodi the ancient ways of the “Iron Paw” but can clearly see that his son’s ambitions lie elsewhere and eventually allows him to travel to the city and follow his dreams. Once he arrives, Bodi seeks out legendary guitarist Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard) so he can learn how to become a star. But the city is nothing like the his mountain home, and Bodi’s innocent and trusting nature could land him in some hot water.
The story is a poor attempt at Zootopia meets Kung Fu Panda, although it fails to come even close to the quality of either. I was actually convinced for a second that the film could be somewhat decent as the intro is this really well done hand drawn animation style that played up the martial arts aspect of the film. Once it gets into the more standard CGI animation, however, it’s all downhill from there.
There’s a lot of emptiness to Rock Dog, both in the story and animation. The film only touches on this magical force that Bodi and his father can harness to protect the mountaintop and nearly ignores it the entire time he is chasing Scattergood around the city, only coming back to importance when he needs to rescue everyone in the third act.
Even worse is the music, which is entirely unremarkable in every way. There are a couple of original songs for the film, but they’re hardly memorable. Even the covers of more famous songs sound lacking and fail to hit the notes you want. Together, everything leads to one lackluster mess of a film.
Unfortunately, Rock Dog is neither for kids or adults. Poor animation and a poor story merge together to make 80 minutes feel like 800. This is what it’s like to hit rock bottom.