Rock & Rule is an animated feature built around rock music, kind of like the Heavy Metal movies, though not quite as good. It starts out with a pretty, blue text introduction (no, it doesn't scroll like in Star Wars), explaining that there had been a war, and the only creatures to survive were street animals such as dogs, cats, and rats, which then evolved over a long period into the humanoid creatures that we see in the film. Why this is important, I have no idea. Okay, our main character has a dog snout, and some of the other characters have mild animal traits as well, but this is a cartoon, so we don't really need an explanation for that. It's not like it affects the story in any way, shape, or form. And actually, if the characters were redesigned just slightly to remove the animal traits, we'd still have exactly the same movie, so I'm not really sure why they decided to go with humanoid animals in the first place. But they did, and it's perfectly fine, so let me move on.
The second part of the opening introduction tells us about a retired "legendary superocker" named Mok, who is using some kind of supercomputer to decipher an ancient code that's supposed to open a portal between their world and another dimension. And while his computer is doing that, Mok is search for "the last component", which is one specific voice... because, you know, their advanced technology isn't capable of synthesizing the vibrations of a human voice. I mean, sure, Mok's supercomputer designed a ring that would identify the exact voice frequency, but c'mon, let's be realistic here, being able to identify a frequency and being able to create a frequency is completely different. Seriously, hover-cars are common, creating holograms in mid air is a piece of cake, and opening a portal to another dimension is definitely within the realm of possibilities, but replicating one specific female voice, that's just science fiction!
Anyway, within the first five minutes of the film, we learn why Mok wants to open this dimensional portal. Any guesses? Well I was thinking maybe he wanted to go to there to re-live his glory days, or maybe even to recruit new talent for his label, but nope, I was way off. He just wants to bring a demon through. Yep, a demon. A freakin' demon!! Yeah, yeah, I must admit, though, on those lovely days when I find myself having accomplished everything that I had set out to accomplish, I too kick back on the couch and try to figure out how in the world I could possibly bring a demon through a dimensional portal. Alas, I've never been able to come up with a way to do it, so good for you, Mok!
Soon we find ourselves focused on the main characters of the story, Omar, the dog-snout boy, and Angel, who I think is supposed to be a humanoid cat. They, along with two other members, make up a rock band that aims to make it big time (how come we never see any stories told about rock bands that want to make is small-time?), and wouldn't you know it, coincidence of coincidences, Angel happens to have the voice that Mok is looking for. So he invites the band up to his lair, but when Angel refuses to join him with her band, he kidnaps her and uses some weird ball thing to hypnotize the others. Yeah, because that'll make her want to sing for Mok. I mean, she doesn't know that he needs her to sing to unleash a demon from another dimension, so if he were to have just let her band come along, then she would have sung, Mok would have gotten exactly what he wanted, and then the movie would be about 20 minutes long... ah, okay, so that's why. Never mind.
When the others snap out of their daze, they head off to find and confront Angel. I didn't say rescue because they don't know she's been kidnapped. But they are concerned, and do want to know what's going on. Blah, blah, blah, you know rest. I know that by now it may seem as if I didn't like this movie, but that's not the case. I did think the story was stupid, but this film is about more than just the plot. Some of the music was pretty good, and I actually wouldn't mind having the soundtrack. Plus, the emotions of the characters really came through, thanks to both the fluid animation and the musical scoring. Additionally, there were some funny moments sprinkled throughout that made me laugh, and Angel looked pretty hot in those robes toward the end of the flick.
Rock & Rule was originally released way back in 1983, after it's name was changed to Ring of Power (you know, because of that ring Mok had that made an appearance for all of 10 seconds). Included with the DVD is an insert telling the history of the film, which is very interesting indeed. Apparently the founders of the Nelvana Studio turned down Ivan Reitman's proposal to animate Heavy Metal so that they could do Rock & Rule. I can't blame 'em, though, as sometimes you just have to follow your own path. The main extra features on DVD is an audio commentary by the director, Clive Smith, and a run-of-the-mill making-of featurette which isn't bad. I haven't listened to the commentary yet, but unlike most movie commentaries, I think I will actually check it out. Hopefully it's as entertaining and insightful as that DVD insert.
Rock & Rule is being released by Ventura Distribution on DVD starting June 7, 2005, and features music by Blondie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Cheap Trick, and Earth Wind & Fire.