Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rock And Rule

When I was in college we would on occassion take on a midnight movie. Besides "Rocky Horror," the one that got the most replay was "Heavy Metal." Heavy Metal was a deeply flawed film. It has all the story telling sense of a pithed hamster. But it has four things that made it fun. 1) It was a cartoon with boobies. 2) It had John Candy. 3) It had awesome music. 4) It dropped a car from space and that invalidates all other arguments.

It's a shame that I wasn't introduced to "Rock and Rule," at that time it would have made an interesting battle of the movies to see the two films back to back. Both try to be more adult animation, both are infused by the spirit of rock and roll, and both have a inbuilt cult feel. Rock and Rule is better at story telling but I think its not as strong musically. Both have problems with characters and pacing. I liked the animation of Rock and Rule a bit better. So really it would be a close call except Rock and Rule did not drop a car from space. Sorry Charlie.

The Story takes place in the deep future. Like in "Wizards" mankind has killed himself off. The Earth is now the home of mutated cats, dogs and rats. This works real well cause the studio that made this film is Nelvana and funny animals is sort of their house style. In this world there is Mok who may be an animal but certainly isn't funny. Mok is the world's greatest rocker but that's not enough for him. He's studied real magic and now he's getting ready to release the mother of all demons. All he needs is a special voice.

That voice belongs to Angel (singing voice from Deborah Harry) who's in a local band with annoying boyfriend Omar and two dweebs. Omar and Angel are always fighting over who's song should be song. Mylar the rat tries to horn in as their manager when he gets wind of Mok's interest but he's easily blown away. Omar is not so easy and has to have his mind screwed with with magic holograms to get him and his posse out of the way. That just leaves Angel, Mok and Mok's goon who are basically Beagle boys on skates to go to Nuke York City and raise up a demon.

It's this section where you can really see Nelvana is trying hard with this picture. The back grounds are great and the animation has a great fluidity. The Character designs are strong, specially Mok who has some of that beautiful ugliness of Mick Jagger mixed in with a sphinx. The story is a bit of a hack and the main characters are either no personality (Angel) or completely insufferable (Omar). Not surprisingly from a company that dealt more with comedy the best characters are the comic ones. The Beagle boys and Omar's posse are both just great fun.

The second part sort of wanders a bit. It tries to be a little darker as they are trying to be an adult animation. The film couldn't bring itself to do the full monty, and it is really an afront that the majority of panty shots come from Cinderella the Beagle boy's "little" sister. It's like looking at panties on a linebacker. Despite that Cindy is a great character and oddly reminds me a lot of Harley Quinn. I kept almost waiting for a Mr. J shout out. Meanwhile Omar and the gang are trying to find Angel. Angel tries to escape. Mok screws with all their heads giving Omar a magical lobotomy and sending him on his smiley way.

Good thing that. Turns out demon raising isn't so easy and much of Nuke York is destroyed. Never a quitter though Mok figures he just needs to get more power and so goes back to his home town which has power to spare. His computer also warns that a true song and a true heart can reverse the summoning but no ONE can sing it. Not knowing an loop hole when he hears one Mok blows his computer off and starts the grand summoning. This somehow brings the boys back from lala ville so they all go to save Angel. Now I have to say I'm quite impressed with the demon raising. It's sort of like seeing the hello kitty people do their best to show Cthulhu. So turns out when Omar and Angel sing together they can put a lid on the super demon and Mok and most everyone lives happily ever after.

But they still didn't drop a car from space.

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