Review by Camden Ferrell
In 2016, the world was introduced to Rock Dog. A children’s animated movie that opened to less than positive acclaim and a disappointing box office run against its $60 million budget. But against all odds, nearly seven years later, the third installment in the franchise Rock Dog 3: Battle the Beat is being released. Much like the first sequel, this is a cheap-looking children’s film that does absolutely little to engage the audience or distract it from all of its flaws.
Bodi, the titular dog, is back from touring, and he finds himself enjoying life and ignoring an offer to be a judge on a music competition show that is very much like The Voice. However, when a girl-group called K-9 admits they haven’t heard of Angus Scattergood (remember that character?), Bodi decides to join the show. Believing it is his responsibility to educate people about his favorite musician, Bodi goes through all of the trials and tribulations associated with reality television and trying to work with musicians different from himself.
If you’ve seen the other movies, you know what to expect from the writing of this one. It’s as basic as can be, and it does the bare minimum to speak to its presumably very young demographic. Written for an audience, that isn’t as privy to narrative shortcomings, this movie lacks subtlety or compelling characters or situations. There’s a subplot of a character trying to start this world’s equivalent of a race war after hate criming a wolf in the film’s opening moments, and that storyline comes and goes as it pleases.
Like the second movie, this one also lacks the Oscar-winning voice cast of the original. Still led by Graham Hamilton as Bodi and Eddie Izzard as Scattergood, this voice cast is doing the best they can with the material. Not to say that their performances are good, but mostly that it could have been much worse in theory. Regardless, they fail to add anything of value to the movie and perform sufficiently enough to earn their paycheck.
The animation may be decent for straight to DVD films, but it’s still stiff and expressionless and doesn’t match the vocal performances very well. There are several moments where dialogue doesn’t line up, and it can take the viewer out of the overall experience. Despite how negatively I received this movie, extremely young children might find themselves learning valuable lessons from this movie. Bodi suffers a crisis of musical faith as he clashes with modern music and must come to terms with his own musical mortality. He quickly learns that he must adapt to modern culture and times or become a relic of a bygone era. In addition, it also tackles the toxic nature of modern television media and the personal struggles Bodi has as he engages in the hostile behavior he originally loathed.
If you liked the previous films, Rock Dog 3: Battle the Beat will be something else you will enjoy. All other viewers need not apply. Arguably the best Rock Dog film, this is still a mess of a movie that furthers the mystery of the longevity of this franchise.
Rock Dog 3: Battle the Beat now available on Blu-Ray, DVD, and on VOD January 4.