My Thoughts: ROCK-A-DOODLE (1991)


Oh boy, we’re back to watching Don Bluth movies! That just goes to show you how bored I’ve been recently. For those of you who don’t know, I’m not exactly the biggest fan of Don Bluth, nor would I even call myself a small fan of the man! Nonetheless, being an animated film fanatic, I felt it my duty to watch all his movies! True, they’re not terrible, but I don’t love any particular one of them! I will give him credit though that his animation always is top-notch and there are some enjoyable things in all his movies! An example of a movie portraying top-notch animation and some enjoyable things is this one: “Rock-A-Doodle”!

Based on the play “Chantecler” written by Edmond Rostand, the film is about a group of happy barnyard animals. One in particular, named Chanticleer, is a rooster, or chanticleer, whose job is to crow in the morning and wake up the Sun so that day can start and everybody’s happy.

More of a cock-and-Sun story if you ask me!
More of a cock-and-Sun story if you ask me!

Everybody, that is, except  the Grand Duke of Owls! Since owls are nocturnal, he would like nothing better than for night to last forever and for Chanticleer to be defamed!

Dracula's cape + Penguin's monocle = A Great Royal Hoot
Dracula’s cape + Penguin’s monocle = A Great Royal Hoot

So, he sends one of his henchmen…umm…”hench..owls” to fight with Chanticleer before sunrise to distract him from crowing at the correct time. After Chanticleer wins the fight, he notices that the Sun has already risen and realizes that he never had anything to do with the Sun rising! He feels embarrassed and is mocked at by his farmyard friends and leaves the farm for good! So far, it’s been your typical animated film!

When?! Wha..?!
When?! Wha..?!
Where?! H..ow?!
Where?! How?!

Yeah…so apparently, Chanticleer’s story is….a story that a young boy in real life is reading! The boy, named Edmond (nod to the author, I’m guessing),

"Bluth, if you grant me accreditation, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you!"
“Bluth, if you grant me accreditation, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you!”

lives….somewhere…with his family! There’s a tempestuous storm outside and the parents and Edmond’s older brothers have to go put more sandbags to make a taller levee and protect their house from flooding. Since Edmond is young, his mother tells him to stay inside. Edmond pouts and frets about this, when suddenly…his book comes to life! Well, the characters from his book come to life! Well, the Grand Duke of Owls in particular!

The Grand Duke has a special….ehh….breath power that…transforms creatures into…other creatures (I’m not fully sure exactly how it works) and he breathes on Edmond changing him into a kitten!

All the powers of darkness...umm...astronomy lie in his breath!
All the powers of darkness…umm…astronomy lie in his breath!

And if that wasn’t enough, Edmond the kitty, gets inside the book now and has to help the barnyard animals find Chanticleer because the Sun…apparently…now needs him to rise! And if the Sun doesn’t rise, we have perpetual night, and the owls….eat the barnyard animals! (Yeah I didn’t realize how hard this movie would be to describe!)

And that’s basically the gist of the story! What’s bad about it?

Well, a huge thing for me is the focus. Although Chanticleer is the focus of the story, he’s honestly given much less   and much less dialogue than the rest of the characters! The whole movie is actually narrated by a shoe-tying dog named Patou, voiced by Phil Harris in his last film role!

"After you do 3 voices for Disney in successive films, you want to go out with a bang! I couldn't, hence I joined Bluth's project!"
“After you do 3 voices for Disney in successive films, you want to go out with a bang! But sometimes you can’t get what you want, hence my being in a Don Bluth production!”

The story also falls flat with quite a weak premise with many weak characters. Also some of the voice acting doesn’t work. As much as I love Phil Harris, and he does a great job when narrating the film, but when his character is speaking, the voice just doesn’t fit the design of the character! There’s also a minor love interest for Chanticleer named Goldie, whose voice is sooo annoying and horrible (in my opinion, at least)!

Oh boy, a Jessica Rabbit wanna-be!
Oh boy, a Jessica Rabbit wanna-be!

So what’s good about it? Well, Don Bluth’s animation is always top-notch! The majority of the characters are drawn perfectly, the backgrounds are interesting, the colors are….colorful!

I can't help but enjoy the atmosphere!
I can’t help but enjoy the atmosphere!

Another positive aspect to this film is the Grand Duke of Owls voiced by Christopher Plummer! This is probably the best voiced character in a Don Bluth film! His motives are quite weak, but you got to love his character every time you see/hear him.

"So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye!"
“So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, good night!”

And the last good thing is that this movie actually kept me interested in it; despite its weak atmosphere! In the end, this is a bad Don Bluth movie; but it’s a bad Don Bluth movie that makes me smile!


18 thoughts on “My Thoughts: ROCK-A-DOODLE (1991)”

      1. He’s done The Secret of Nimh, An American Tail, The Land Before Time (only the 1st one), All Dogs Go to Heaven, Rock-A-Doodle, Thumbelina, A Troll in Central Park, The Pebble and the Penguin, Anastasia, Bartok the Magnificent, and Titan A.E.

      2. Well omg. I love almost all those!! Secret of Nimh, American Tail, Anastasia, Land Before Time, and All Dogs. They are all ones I watched countless times as a child. Heck, I even watch them still today. You’re not a fan of him?!

      3. Nope, lol! It may be because I never grew up with his movies and also that I considered him a “Disney traitor” for leaving the Disney studios and taking a good chunk of the animators with him to form his own studios, lol!

  1. I pretty much agree with you.The plot is too nonsensical and strange. It lacks focus, the songs are forgettable and the characters aren’t intereseting in the least bit. The animation is nice and colourful, but it dosen’t make up for the flaws that this movie has. With that said however, I actually don’t hate this film like a lot of people do. I don’t like it, but I don’t hate it either. If anything, this film is more odd than it is bad.

    It’s such a shame that that this was Phil Harris’s last film role. He voiced my favourite Disney animal character, Baloo from The jungle Book.

  2. this was an okay movie but could have been better, but i just really love the characters in it (like mostly for snipes, he´s my favorite in the whole film and goldie too)

  3. I haven’t seen that movie since I was very little and was reminded of it with the Nostalgia Critic over a decade ago back when I used to watch his videos. Of course, that video of his ruined the “Jeepers! I’m all furry!” line so much for reasons I shouldn’t have to explain [shudders]. That was a weird movie with unlikely source material.

      1. I know, right? There’s no way I can un-see the implications of that line and the type of movies like that REALLY don’t help.

        Yeah, that is a weird movie with the worldbuilding and random parts of the story.

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