Rock And Rule: Movie Review

Diana Mendoza, Staff Writer

  Rock and Rule released on April 15, 1983, is an animated rock musical science fantasy film about a malevolent rockstar who kidnaps a singer in order to force her to help him with his master plan.

          The movie which is rated PG was produced and directed by Michael Hirsh, Patrick Loubert, and Clive A. Smith with John Halfpenny, Patrick Loubert, and Peter Sauder were at the helm of its screenplay. The film features the voices of Don Francks, Susan Roman, Paul Le Mat, and Catherine O’Hara. The soundtrack consists of artists such as Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Cheap Trick, Debbie Harry, and Earth, Wind & Fire, and let me tell you the music in this film is so good! It’s a bummer there’s no official soundtrack but you can still find the songs on Youtube.

          Production began in 1979 and finally came to a finish after four years of rewrites, redesigns, and redirections. The studio that would be in charge of the film would be Nelvana with Clive A. Smith as the director. Some may recognize some of Nelvana’s famous projects such as Inspector Gadget (1983), Beetlejuice (1989), and The Care Bears Movie (1985). Rock and Rule would become Nelvana’s first feature film. Rock and Rule was the second feature-length animated film to be produced in Canada and the first in the English Language. Although there were consistent rewrites, the plans for the story would continue centering on a post-apocalyptic rock band composed of fuzzy mutant creatures who evolved from rats, dogs, and cats after the human race was wiped out. Quick little fun fact, over 300 Nelvana animators actually worked on the film. Rock and Rule had aired only on television in Canada but was then picked up by the video company MGM for distribution in the United States.

           The budget for the movie would come to a total of $8 million dollars but insanely only made up $30 thousand dollars in the box office! The cost of production would also lead to the nearly avoided bankruptcy of Nelvana.

          Now enough about that let’s get onto the actual review. I liked the concept of a post-apocalyptic world in which mutants roam what’s left of the Earth and it would’ve been nice if the film could’ve explored that concept more. The animation was surprisingly high quality and the special effects were mostly photographic techniques, it was surprising how good the animation and special effects were considered during this era computer graphics were still in their infancy. I really did love the animation in this film so shout out to the many animators that worked hard pulling this off cause it really did come out amazing, the way there are so much expression, the fluid movements, and the designs of the characters are so well done! You can really tell the animators put their all into making sure the animation would come out top-notch and their efforts really paid off. I really wish animation studios would still use this old-fashion drawing style of animation, it’s just the aesthetic this style of animation has that I just love it so much, it gives me this sort of feeling of nostalgia that I love so dearly. Besides the animation I also liked the character designs they were all unique and fun to look at, especially Mok’s character design, now that’s what I call a proper-looking villain! 

          The story follows a retired superstar named Mok, voiced by Don Franks who by the way did an amazing job with the voice acting, who is on the search for a specific voice that’ll help him with his master plan of summoning a powerful being from a different dimension. On his search, he stops by a sort of talent show in which we meet the band consisting of our main characters Angel, voiced by Susan Roman with Debbie Harry providing her singing voice, and Omar, voiced by Paul Le Mat, who seem to be hybrids of dogs and rodents but Omar has more rodent-like features, as well as the other members Dizzy and Stretch, voiced by Dan Hennessy and Greg Duffell, who also hold more rodent-like features. After Omar grows upset that Angel played one of her own songs instead of his, he walks off the stage and the band continues singing and while Angel performs on stage. Mok watches from the shadows as his special ring lights up at the vibration of Angel’s voice indicating he’s finally found the voice he needs. Mok’s scheme to summon a demon was because his last album didn’t do as well and he wants to get revenge on everyone, I for one unironically love that.

          Onto the characters, Angel’s character wasn’t as bland as I expected and she actually had a pretty good amount of personality but I think her faults are more about how naive she can be. Meanwhile, Omar was just a huge narcissist, stubborn, and a diva but it was evident that he did care for Angel even though he wouldn’t show it as much with other people around but I do wish he would’ve gotten the proper character development he needed. The other band members Dizzy and Stretch, the voice of reason and the airhead, were pretty enjoyable to watch although they could’ve had more to their characters. Mok was by far my favorite character and dare I say he carried the whole movie, I also loved the henchmen siblings and Cindy which I believe deserved more screen time cause I loved her character so much! I’d say Mok, who’s the antagonist in the film, was more interesting than the main characters, his personality had spunk, he was prideful, he had a bigger ego than Omar but this works for him as the villain, and his introduction will always be my favorite introduction of a villian. 

          It’s really a shame this movie didn’t get the recognition it deserves cause it is a pretty good film; I mean I really enjoyed it. So much work was put into the making of this film so it’s really sad knowing the bad luck it had during production, I believe it would’ve done better if it was properly advertised but I’m glad more people are finding out about this movie and it’s definitely on my list of favorite movies now. You can find the full movie on YouTube or Amazon Prime so if you’re looking for a fun watch I recommend you give Rock and Rule a chance; check it out!