Since striking out on his own, former Disney animator Don Bluth has created a number of lushly animated films (THE SECRET OF NIMH, AN AMERICAN TAIL, THE LAND BEFORE TIME, ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN) whose superior imagery is undercut by weak narratives. With this latest release, Bluth does a
better job of telling a concise, coherent story, but the quality of the animation doesn't quite match the high standard of his earlier work.
The filmmakers have given a new, contemporary, rock 'n' roll twist to the old story of Chanticleer, the fabled rooster who caused the sun to rise each morning with his robust crowing. Borrowing liberally from THE WIZARD OF OZ, the brief live-action opening introduces the film's hero, Edmond (Tony
Scott Granger), a little farm boy who's going through the trauma of a ferocious thunderstorm which has caused heavy flooding, endangering the family homestead. Knocked unconscious, Edmond reawakens in the animated world--much like his own--of Chanticleer (Glen Campbell). One morning Chanticleer
fails to crow, and is shocked when the sun nevertheless rises of its own accord. Humiliated, Chanticleer departs for the big city to seek his fortune.
Shortly thereafter a devastating rainstorm strikes the barnyard and flood waters threaten to overwhelm the family farm. Convinced that only Chanticleer's crowing can bring back the sun and save them, Edmond is preparing to set off in search of the rooster when Duke (Christopher Plummer), a wicked
owl, enters the boy's bedroom. To thwart the youngster, the Duke utilizes his magic powers and turns Edmond into a fluffy white kitten. But Duke underestimates his tiny foe's determination. The kitten recruits Patou (Phil Harris), a trusty old farm dog; Peepers (Sandy Duncan), a very bright mouse;
and Snipes (Eddie Deezen), a wise-cracking magpie, to journey with him in search of Chanticleer.
After several perilous adventures, the group track down Chanticleer at a nightclub where they discover their favorite rooster is now a rock 'n' roll superstar known as "The King." Unhappily, they can't get close to Chanticleer because he's too well guarded by bouncers hired by his manager, Pinky
(Sorrell Booke), to keep enthusiastic fans at bay. Edmond and his pals finally gain the ear of Goldie (Ellen Greene), Chanticleer's glamorous pheasant showgirl girlfriend. Even Goldie is, at first, reluctant to cooperate, but she finally relents and the group's urgent message reaches the singing
rooster at last. As might be expected, Chanticleer returns to the barnyard in the nick of time and saves the day. By the time Edmond the kitten has been restored to his animated human form, and then the real Edmond awakens from his dream, the little boy has learned, just as Dorothy Gale did in
Kansas, that there's no place like home.
While ROCK-A-DOODLE has precious little to offer adults (other than the very young at heart), it should delight all children under the age of twelve. The artists lending their vocal talents to this production are uniformly adept, although there are no standouts. Charles Nelson-Reilly is featured
as Hunch, the evil owl Duke's inept nephew. Robert Folk's musical score and original songs are, for the most part, quite good. Folk's lyrics are fresh and his music lively, and two of his songs provide the picture with its major highlights.
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: G
- Review: Since striking out on his own, former Disney animator Don Bluth has created a number of lushly animated films (THE SECRET OF NIMH, AN AMERICAN TAIL, THE LAND BEFORE TIME, ALL DOGS GO TO HEAVEN) whose superior imagery is undercut by weak narratives. With th… (more)