Friday, February 18, 2011

Movie Review: Rock & Rule

Rock & Rule
Rated PG
2 Slimes
Copyright Nelvana Limited 1983

THE CHARACTERS

Omar: Robin Zander (When singing)! A world class jerk and almost uncaring person, but with a heart of gold I suppose, and he is Angel’s boyfriend. A cat and dog living together? It is the end of world!

Angel: Debbie Harry (When singing)! A cat girl (not the Japanese kind) who is a backup singer in a band and wants to make it big. Her voice is the key to opening dimensions and releasing a gigantic demon.

Dizzy & Stretch: Members of the band Omar and Angel are a part of. They don’t really add much to the story overall, but hey, let’s bring them up anyways.

Mok: Lou Reed (When singing)! A big time rock star that wants to rule the world (most likely) through the power of rock and a huge demon, which can be summoned by Angel. He is thrown into the pit at the end of the movie.

Demon: Iggy Pop! The cosmic horror that Mok wants to summon to rule the world or something like that. My question is if he thought this out. Would this demon be even controllable when it came? Doesn’t matter, since it sent back to its own world at the end of the film.

LESSONS LEARNED
+ Blondie’s voice is the key to another dimension.
+ Bodyguards and henchmen are outfitted in rollerblades.
+ Computers run on Tron.
+ Demon summoning requires lots of electricity.
+ In the future, rock stars are scientists.
+ The best way to get someone’s attention to rip the top of someone’s car off.
+ Video games will survive a nuclear war.

STUFF TO WATCH FOR
2 min – Wow, two minutes in and movie is already really weird.
7 min – So fashion has taken a nose dive in the future as well I see.
11 min – AH! Stop the flashing!
22 min – What’s in there? Dog nip?
24 min – Hey, her hair changed color.
33 min – Now that’s traveling music!
41 min 18 Sec – FREEZE FRAME! Now you don’t see that in cartoons often.
48 min – Oh thank God that scene ended.
54 min – What? We couldn’t actually see what happen and are just being told what happened? What is this No Country for Old Men? Don’t pull this crap!
58 min – I think he is too high to answer questions.
65 min – Now there’s some shameless stock footage.
72 min – I’m getting flashbacks to The Haunted Mansion all of a sudden.

NOTABLE QUOTES
Mok: Evil spelled backward is "live," and we all want to live, don't we?

TIX News Reporter: KIX morning news update. Mok's promise to rewrite rock history was prematurely and tragically interrupted last night when an overwhelming power surge totally destroyed Carnage Hall and blacked out the entire city. Survivors described the destruction as "evil," "spooky," and "wow, bad karma, man."

THE PLOT

A Rock and Roll animated movie that stars Blondie, Iggy Pop, Cheap Trick, and other bands and singers from the early 80’s. Now that sounds interesting! I never seen such an interesting line-up of people involved in a movie since Bug. Let’s give this thing a look!

We begin with a prologue about how a war ended and only dogs, cats, and rats survived it by evolving into a race of mutants. Strange, you think cockroaches would survive a war. It then tells us that Mok, a legendary superocker, who retired and uses his computers to decipher an ancient code that will open a doorway between his world and another’s, provide that he can the last component which is a special voice. So society falls, 3 species of animals survive by mutating, rock stars now conducting strange scientific experiment, and people with certain voices can open different dimensions. The future is weird.

As this mysterious Mok searches for this voice, we see a small time band playing in the town of Ohmtown. During their performance, one of the band members named Angel sings her song and captures the attention of the Mok, believing her to be the one. He invites her and the band to his place to discuss her singing. He has the band hypnotizes with glowing pink balls (you need this to see it to believe it) so he can talk to her privately.

He offers to let her join him and… something, the background music’s so loud and he’s so vague that I can barely figure out what the hell he is talking about. When she refuses, the world goes all psychedelic and Tron like which knocks her out… I think. He then kidnaps her and takes her to New York, dumping the rest of the band out of his house. Once they’re out of their trippin’ balls state, the band chases after Angel.

Angel manages to escape her cell, with the help of a really stupid guard named Cindy, and discovers Mok’s true plan as he talks to his computer. He also hears that it is possible to return the demon back to its world, but apparently there is ‘no one’ that could stop him. Angel and Cindy head to a club… because Cindy is stupid, she doesn’t realize Angel is a captive, and because the plot says so. The band arrives at the club as well because… I dunno. The movie is really hard to follow and pretty insane.

As they all dance to Earth Wind & Fire song, Angel is recaptured and the rest of the band, besides lead singer and Angel’s boyfriend, Omar, is captured by Mok’s goon squad. He chases after Angel and runs into her and Mok, making him think she went to him willingly. However, it turns out to be an imposter disguise as Angel. Got to give it up to Mok for managing to make an Angel mask, finding a willing imposter, hoping that Omar will just run into them by chance, and setting everything else up on the spur of the moment.

Later, Mok forces Angel to work/sing for him or otherwise he’ll torture her friends to death inside his glowly pink ball of death. She agrees to sing and he releases them, but also brainwashes them and sends them back to Ohmtown. After an off screen disaster at the concert in New York, Mok has to relocate his demon summoning plans to Ohmtown. Oh how ironic and so very plot convenient!

The concert is set up at a power planet (Hey, summoning a demon takes a lot of electricity!) and Angel begins her invocation. As the demon is being summoned, it causes an electric power surge in the entire city, which knocks the sense back into the band members. They arrive on scene just as the demon is fully summoned. Omar manages to save Angel from the demon’s grasp and she then realizes that if she could bring the demon to this dimension, she send it right back with the power of rock!

The awesome power of her singing, followed by Omar joining in is enough to send the demon back to where it came, since in reality the demon needs to sent back by more than one person. Mok responds in horror and hamminess as one of his goons (whose brother was killed earlier when the summoning happened) throws him into the pit with the demon, banishing him from this world. With that done, the band starts singing (well you got to finish the concert somehow) and the credits roll as the music plays.

Well that’s Rock & Rule and wow, just wow. It’s been a while since I saw an animated movie this insane or surreal. On the negative side of things; the animation is occasionally bad, characters are introduced and forgotten or dropped when the plot requires it, the voicing acting is forgettable and laughable at points, sometimes the background music makes it hard or impossible to hear what the characters are saying (that’s a first), and the worse of all, the movie feels very padded out. Even though the movie doesn’t even cross 80 minutes, a lot of scenes seemed very stretched out or pointless in the grand scheme of things.

However, there are still good things about the film. The animation, while bad, is unique and is often surreal in a good sort of a way. The movie has a lot of intentional and unintentional funny moments that make the film fun to watch. The best thing about the movie, obviously, is the soundtrack. All of the songs are enjoyable, catchy, and really sung well, especially Angel’s Song by Blondie.

This is a movie that deserves to be seen, despite the shortcomings that it is. It’s a very different type of animated film, with an extremely well done soundtrack that is in desperate need to be released on iTunes. If you can find it, check it out and rock on.

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