Making the Grades
If you are expecting something to really crow about, Don Bluth's Rock-A-Doodle may not be the best place to turn. A down and out farm rooster and Elvis impersonator, Chanticleer, becomes convinced that the sun only rises at the command of his voice. An evil owl (who doesn't like sun), hires a thug to interrupt Chanticleer's morning routine. The rooster misses his crow, but the sun still comes up. Suddenly his purpose in life is lost, and he heads off to the big city. The clouds come, it starts to rain, and the rest of the story predictably follows along.
This film seems confusing, noisy, and pointless. The pacing is very fast, and there is not much time to let the plot develop. The main storyline centres between two live action sequences with a child reading a bedtime story. Bluth would have been better off to forget the live action, and put more effort into the main plot.
The film rates well in sexual content and language. Younger children may find the evil owl frightening. There is a good share of slapstick and verbal violence. The evil gang often proclaim their need to "annihilate" other characters, but for the most part, this film offers tame viewing.
Rock-A-Doodle sells itself on a lot of wonderful music, but it all seems to sound the same. In any movie with a predominant musical score, the music should help to bring scenes of the story forward above the rest. This just doesn't happen.
Glen Campbell does a reasonable Elvis, as he provides the voice for Chanticleer. Phil Harris is the narrator that tries to keep the story flowing, a job very similar to the one he held in Disney's Robin Hood. That movie also happened to be one of the first major Disney projects Bluth helped to animate.