There will be no shortage of animated musicals about singing animals. This week sees the anticipated debut of Sing, which features a ton of celebrity voices and should be another hit for Illumination, the studio that has been on a hot streak for years. Unlikely to measure up to those high standards will be Rock Dog, which you probably never heard of until right this moment. How do I know? Because I hadn't heard of it, either.
Coming at you from Lionsgate/Summit, Rock Dog is exactly what you think it is. Luke Wilson voices Bodi, a Tibetan Mastiff who loves to rock 'n roll. Unfortunately that goes against the beliefs of his father (J.K. Simmons), so Bodi heads into the city to learn music from a mysterious mentor cat voiced by Eddie Izzard. Here's the full synopsis:
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) and his rabid pack. To avoid distractions, Mastiff leader Khampa (J.K. Simmons) forbids all music from the mountain. But when Khampa’s son Bodi (Luke Wilson) discovers a radio dropped by a passing airplane, 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), 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. Bodi will become what he’s always dreamed of being: More than a dog … more than a Rock God… he’ll be a ROCK DOG!
There are some fun voices to be heard from Sam Elliott, Mae Whitman, Kenan Thompson, Lewis Black, Matt Dillon, and Jorge Garcia. Ash Brannon, who worked on Toy Story 2 and Surf's Up, is directing but the prospects aren't very good. The film is scheduled to open here on February 24th, but as a Chinese co-production it actually opened there last summer when it was a massively expensive failure.