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Rock Dog

Ash Brannon

A Tibetan mastiff who dreams of making it big in the music industry. A world-weary shades-wearing cat voiced by Eddie Izzard. A gang of Mafioso-style wolves dabbling in professional wrestling. Oh, and some supernatural martial arts powers. This film’s simple title masks a whole world of mystical excitements.

For a dog, life on Snow Mountain has one simple objective: to guard the village of wool-making sheep from the pack of local thuggish wolves. To ensure there are no distractions from this one essential task the local leader Khampa has banned all music from the mountain. But on the day a radio falls from the sky and into the hands of Khampa’s son Bodi, introducing him to the joys of a well-played guitar riff, everything changes. Bodi’s new life goal – to become a rock star – will involve defying his father, heading to the city and tracking down the reclusive music legend Angus Scattergood. Getting a band together, writing a killer song – and defeating the wolves’ fiendish plot to take over the mountain – all become part of Bodi’s new life plan. All in a day’s work for a rock god, rock dog.

Taking its narrative from a graphic novel created by Chinese musician Zheng Jun, this animated Chinese-American co-production revels in the classic rock star origin story. Sing, a massive hit earlier this year, was another of these now traditional tales, though the settings here offer a more exotic backdrop, and the voice talent is definitely top of the charts, featuring Luke Wilson, J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliott and Matt Dillon.