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.
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!
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!
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),
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!
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!
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)!
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!
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.
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!