Monday, November 24, 2008

10: Rock-A-Doodle

Don Bluth, 1991

When I said sporadically updated, I really meant it.

Now, Rock-A-Doodle was a movie I had a love-hate relationship with as a kid. It wasn't one of the many Disney’s I had. When my grandparents gave it to me, I sat there and turned the cassette over in my tiny hands and immediately asked, "Where's the Disney logo? Is this a Pirate copy?"
I was of a highly elitist mind as a child.

But then I actually watched it, and after a while, I watched it again and I actually grew to like it. I rather enjoyed the it once it got past the farm stage (I never liked farms in movies-Which is why it took me so long to like Charlottes web- I didn't like the idea of pigs talking sweetly. I'm not kidding. I actually said that to my Grandmother when we watched it together). There is a certain amount of gritty "cartoon" realism I liked about the city. I spent half my childhood living in the centre of town, and the other half in suburbia with my grandparents. I also noticed the amount of adult innuendo in the club scenes. Now I've watched it again after all these years, I was a little shocked it didn't bother me, but it’s ever so subtle.

But what I really love about this movie is that the gloopy/fluid kind of movement that Bluth uses not once bothers me. You know what I mean. The slow sweeping arm movements, the cute/smallest character with a giant hat constantly having to push it up off their eyes. It's that over exaggerated kind of style of moving that Bluth pour into every single character in every single one of his movies. When he puts it on human characters (like in Anastasia) it looks really awkward. Like they're bodies and heads are independent of their mouths and eyes. But because every one in this movie is an animal (and a humanised/anthro kind of animal without being deviantart-furry creepy) it almost just about suits them.

I still hate that hat to head ratio though.

So, I might hear you cry, "Why not feature another Don Bluth movie? This is one of his worst!" Well, it might be because this was one of the ONLY ones I saw as a kid that I enjoyed. I think everyone has seen The Land Before Time (I was FORCED into watching that every Christmas by my school, because it was one of the only tapes they had. And I still wiggled out of it by opting to read at the back of the hall instead), and All Dogs go to Heaven (What IS the fascination with that movie? Dear god it was just so boring). The only other ones I actually liked where Anastasia (which I saw in America with my cousins) and Titan A.E (...What? Why was I one of the only people that saw it that enjoyed it?!).

The truth of the pudding is that although this movie has some serious flaws (the annoying little kid/kitten being the biggest one), It's a really good escapism movie. The reason I kept coming back to it time after time was that it managed to make me actually interested in the lives of the animals involved (and mainly, I was rooting for them to get the kid back to his parents- who needs the little bastard ruining their swinging little farm with that shrill voice of his). There are engaging background design as well as character designs for most of the main cast (some big voice-acting names in there by the way; Phil Harris of Jungle Book fame as Patou and Eddie Deezen of Dexter’s Lab fame as Snipes) especially the one of Goldie- who probably helped kick start of young furries...*shudder*

Rock-A-Doodle is given alot of bad press from the poor box-office reviews as well as the over shadowing from Bluth's better known work. But if you get the chance, and you’re in the mood to sit through some surprisingly decent songs and some even better animation, then you might end up enjoying it.

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