Saturday, February 7, 2009

Try a Little R&R for a Good Time

Nope, no album autopsies today folks. Today we have a look at a film. What’s the name of the film? Well, what do you label a Canadian animated, post-apocalyptic skip through an alternate New York City, sprinkled with over-the-top, drugged-out rat-rockers? “Rock and Rule” of course.

Rock and Rule was Canada’s first feature-length animated movie. It was produced by “Nelvana” and was originally released to Canada in 1983. Though the film gained an underground audience in the years following its release, the film did very poorly in its theatrical debut. Nelvana practically went bankrupt because of the flick which was partially due to the fact that the movie was geared towards an adult audience.

What’s the film about? Well, I think the post-title narration dictates this well:

The War was over...
The only survivors were street animals; dogs, cats and rats. From them, a new race of mutants evolved. That was a long time ago...

MOK, a legendary superocker has retired to OHMTOWN, there his computers work at deciphering an ancient code which would unlock a doorway between this world and another dimension.

Obsessed with his dark experiment, MOK himself searches for the last crucial component--a very special voice.”

A local OHMTOWN rock and roll act holds the key to MOK’s strange plans and the flamboyant antagonist spends the bulk of the film chasing down the female vocalist of the group so that he can use her voice to summon a demon from hell. Confused? Well, yeah, me too.

What I like about this flick:

-The animation is spectacular. Many of the talented artists behind this project went on to have fruitful careers with Disney and Warner Brothers. Many of the techniques used in the film are still extraordinary 25 years later.

-The soundtrack gathered artists from across the music spectrum. Talents like: Debbie Harry, Cheap Trick, Earth Wind and Fire, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed add a musically-filling framing for the great visuals. A lot of the tracks in the film were originally scored specifically for “Rock and Rule”

-Mok, the antagonist character is over-the-top and endlessly entertaining to watch.

-Omar and Angel, the protagonists in the film, sing a love ballad in unison to banish the 80 foot-tall, flaming spawn of satan.

-Great music interludes tossed in here and there, visually tasty.

What I don’t like about this flick:

-The story is ridiculous. If my description of the film is a little hard to wrap your mind around, it really isn’t my fault. A couple of years ago I had the chance to speak with one of the artists that worked on the film and he told me that the constant re-writes and endless staff partying ensured that the storyline became second to the look and feel of the film.

So, what makes this film “glam”?

-Rock and Rule is basically about the musical transition from 70s glam rock to 80s metal. Mok, the evil glam rocker is trying to cling to fame by any means necessary but in the end the world embraces the new music of the protagonists.

-Mok was designed to look like a mixture of Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Iggy Pop. These three musicians were arguably the evolutionary chain of glam, from rock and roll to punk.

-The storyline, though insane and underdeveloped, is something that could have easily been concocted by the glitter rockers of the mid 70s. The plot is so strange that it’s perfect for glamrock.

Verdict: Rock and Rule is a fun movie. The story line crumbles within minutes of the opening credits but the music and visuals alone make the film a treat.
3.5 bottles of your mother's makeup out of 5

"My name is MOK" by Lou Reed. This is one of my favourite interludes followed by one of my favourite scenes in the movie.


  1. this is a really interesting movie to know about, the soundtrack looks intriguing!

  2. It's definately worth looking into if you like cheesy, big-haired, shallow-rocker, fluff...I have a copy I could share.