Rock-a-Doodle is a 1991 Irish/British/American live action/animated musical comedy film produced by Sullivan Bluth Studios and Goldcrest Films. Loosely based on Edmond Rostand's comedy Chantecler, Rock-a-Doodle was directed by Don Bluth and written by David N. Weiss. The film features the voices of Glen Campbell, Christopher Plummer, Phil Harris (in his final film role before his retirement and death), Charles Nelson Reilly, Sorrell Booke, Sandy Duncan, Eddie Deezen, Ellen Greene, and Toby Scott Ganger in his film debut. The film was released in the United Kingdom on 2 August 1991 and in the United States and Canada on 3 April 1992.
The film takes place in 1950s Midwest Tennessee, where an anthropomorphic rooster named Chanticleer (whose special crow causes the sun to rise every morning) leaves his farm to become a rock star in the city after being tricked by The Grand Duke of Owls, whose kind hates the sun, into thinking that his crow does not actually raise the sun. Without Chanticleer, rain continues to pour non-stop, causing a massive flood all over the country. The Duke and his henchmen take over in the darkness, and plan to eat all of the barnyard animals. Chanticleer's friends from the farm, along with Edmond, a young human boy who was transformed into a kitten by the Duke, take off on a mission to the city to get Chanticleer to bring back the sun and save the country before it is too late.
Why It Sucks
- Confusing and strange story that feels too random and improvised, and is rather unfaithful to the source material.
- While Chanticleer is billed as the central character of the film and does get a fair amount of screen time, he is not the main protagonist, the real main character is Edmond.
- Toby Scott Ganger has terrible acting as Edmond due to his heavy lisp, which comes off as incomprehensible at times and a desperate attempt on the part of the filmmakers to push his 'cuteness' onto the audience.
- The scene at the beginning where the camera does a zoom in on Chanticleer's mouth is too extreme.
- Goldie Pheasant's appearance is way too inappropriate for a G-rated movie and her voice does not match her character.
- The movie uses the "It was all just a dream" cliché, which further confuses an already over-convoluted plotline.
- Annoying side characters.
- The live-action framing device is poorly acted and doesn't fit well with the plot.
- When Edmond become an animated kitten for the first time, he says "I'm all furry!", but most people misinterpret it as "I'm a furry!"
- Weak character arcs. While the plot provides potential for Chanticleer to undergo growth as a character, the film ultimately treats him as more of a McGuffin than a character, leaving the only coherent/defined arcs in the film are debatably Edmund's (although the film itself abruptly changes its focal point to him being afraid of everything at the last minute regardless of his previous scenes) and Patou learning to tie his shoes (which is more of a side gag than a serious development).
- Phil Harris's narration (confirmed to be a last-minute addition to the film to lessen audience confusion over the film's plot) is extremely intrusive to the film's narrative flow as it is inserted over many plot-important scenes, leading to many of the film's musical numbers (including many with a vital role in establishing the film's characters) and character interactions being spoken/glossed over as the audience is spoon-fed the storyline second-hand as opposed to allowing them to deduce the characters and their motivations themselves (particularly via Bluth's expressive character animation).
- As the film's plot similarly remains equally bewildering despite the addition of the narration, said narration also fails to clear up the plot for the audience (the very reason it was inserted into the film to begin with) as it opts to explain many of its most baffling turns, which only exposes the poor structure of the story further.
- While weaker than Bluth's previous films, the animation is still high-quality and fluid with Bluth's trademark use of color as an atmospheric tool - this gives the visuals a certain warm, storybook-like aesthetic which fits the tone.
- Good soundtrack with multiple earworms like "Sun Do Shine", "We Hate the Sun" and Glen Campbell's performances as Chanticleer. The latter especially provides good tributes to Elvis Presley.
- There are some genuinely funny moments during the film courtesy of David Weiss's (later one of the writers on "Shrek 2") script, such as the Grand Duke infamously debating "if I kill my nephew, would it be murder or charity?" and Snipes's 'mousewife' quip to Peepers.
- Christopher Plummer does a good job as the Grand Duke of Owls, delivering an enjoyably hammy performance that sells his character's scenes relatively well.
- Some good qualities about the characters. The Grand Duke of Owls is a highly entertaining villain (largely due to Plummer's delivery) and Hunch, the Duke's nephew, is a pretty funny character.
- Edmond was actually adorable as an animated kitten.
- The character designs as a whole are well-made.
- The interaction between Edmond and the farm animals is pretty cute.
- Rock-A-Doodle - Nostalgia Critic
- Rock-A-Doodle (Musical Hell Review -66)