Wednesday, June 08, 2005

"Rock & Rule" on DVD

According to, "Rock & Rule" has been released on DVD:

Like Heavy Metal, Rock & Rule plays out in a dark, grim, decaying world full of evil and raucous music, but it has clear heroes and goofy comic relief, so it isn’t quite as gloomy as Metal overall. It also tones down the violence and sexuality from an R to a hard PG. Apparently Nelvana staked its future on the success of this one project, which took four years and many stops and starts to reach completion. All I can say is they must have been mad. Heavy Metal itself was a dud in theaters, and it comes as little surprise that Rock & Rule barely reached them. A shame really, because it truly is an interesting experience.

Our story takes place in the distant, dark future, where the planet’s only remaining residents are human/animal hybrids. In sleepy Ohmtown, legendary but seriously creepy musician Mok is laboring to complete a device that will allow him to open a portal to another dimension and bring across a monstrous demon. Why is not clear, but I suppose everyone needs a hobby. The last component is a special voice, and he has been scouring concerts near and far to find it. Across town cocky young guitarist Ohmar argues over whose songs to play with Angel, his beautiful and compassionate band mate and girlfriend. He leads off the show with one of his tunes, but when this falls flat Angel launches into one of hers, and a disgusted Ohmar storms off. It receives a much warmer reception from Mok, who happens to be in the audience and is sure hers is the voice he needs. After the show Ohmar and Angel kiss and make up, and when Angel receives an invitation to Mok’s mansion the band goes to check it out. Ohmar is contemptuous of the whole setup, but hallucinogenic crystals entrance him and band mates Stretch and Dizzy while Mok tries to recruit Angel for his mysterious project. She refuses to leave her band, so he simply kidnaps her and makes off in a blimp for the subtly named Nuke York to try his plan at a massive concert. The band sets off to find her, while Angel, having stumbled on the terrible truth, does her best to thwart Mok’s scheme.

...There isn’t much action to speak of in the film, and most of the attempts at comedy are derailed by the film’s pervasive creepiness and flat deliveries. There is a good running gag with a Disney-like, gruff police officer who keeps trying to arrest the band only to have them steal his car from under his nose. Mok’s corporate oversight software amusingly frets that the pestilence and famine resulting from unleashing an omnipotent demon on the world might possibly tarnish his image. In a scene that may have inspired Beavis and Butthead, one of Mok’s goons watches a cartoon in which a psychotic Beavis-like character torments cows.

...Naturally the soundtrack figures very large in the film, and to my surprise I enjoyed it, mostly. Angel’s great pop rock theme “Send Love Through” from Blondie’s Deborah Harry may be a little cheesy, but it’s so uplifting I didn’t mind. Ohmar gets a couple of fun hard rockers from Cheap Trick. Earth, Wind, and Fire delivers a passable funky dance song, and Lou Reed and Iggy Pop provide Mok with glam rock and punk numbers, which I found rather dreary. Perhaps that was the idea. The score is extremely early 80s in character, very electronic and ominous. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved it and Blade Runner fans should too.
Animated "Blade Runner" for rock nerds featuring Lou Reed, Cheap Trick and Earth, Wind & Fire? Count me in (out).

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