Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 8, 2021)
Back in 2017, Rock Dog found little audience during its theatrical exhibition and by most definitions became a flop. With a budget of $60 million, the movie earned a mere $24 million worldwide.
In theory, that would mean we would never see the movie’s characters again. However, direct-to-video projects extend lifelines to animation franchises that bomb theatrically, and this leads 2021’s Rock Dog 2: Rock Around the Park in my Blu-ray player.
Set a year after the first movie, musical canine Bodi (voiced by Graham Hamilton) and his band True Blue enjoy popularity in the Tibetan village of Snow Valley. This pushes them to potentially bigger things.
Promoter Lang (Jason Simpson) offers True Blue the chance to tour with pop star Lil’ Foxy (Kathleen Barr) and the musicians jump at the chance. This brings a mix of unexpected complications.
Of course it does, but in an expected shift, one finds none of the well-known actors from the 2017 film in its sequel. Clearly Park enjoyed a much lower budget than the $60 million thrown at the first film, so instead of folks like JK Simmons, Luke Wilson, Sam Elliott and Matt Dillon, we find a whole bunch of people whose names we don’t recognize.
Not that non-famous actors doom a project. Heck, the talent in the original movie didn’t make it better than meh anyway.
None of the performers in Park offer much to make their roles delight, but no one could. A project as thin and anonymous as Park can’t be redeemed by even the strongest cast.
Expect a story that comes across as a mess. Somehow Bodi possesses magical powers through music, and Lang wants to steal these for his own ends.
Shades of Little Mermaid! Park never attempts any form of creativity, as it just rips off other movies and hopes we won’t notice.
Young viewers probably won’t, but their parents will. The adults in the audience act as the target for the film’s dialogue, as Park comes with nearly incessant allusions to various songs and bands.
I guess the filmmakers intend these references to seem clever, but instead, they just come across as idiotic and gratuitous.
Are characters based on Wayne’s World fun? No.
Is a theme in which Bodi pursues a song that might save the world just stolen from Bill and Ted Face the Music? Yes.
Does anything about the cheap, tacky, witless Park work? No. This becomes a complete dud of an animated adventure.
Footnote: a tag scene appears early in the end credits.