Directed by Don Bluth. Starring Glen Campbell, Tony Scott Granger, Christopher Plummer. (1992)
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., April 3, 1992
This lastest animated feature from Bluth and team (The Land Before Time, An American Tail, The Secret of NIMH, All Dogs Go to Heaven) proves that you can take the rooster out of the farm but you can't take the farm out of the rooster. Chanticleer is an animated rooster whose crowing raises the sun every morning. Then one morning he forgets to crow and the sun rises anyway. Having become the laughing stock of the barnyard and also having lost his faith in his abilities, Chanticleer hightails it to the big city. But once Chanticleer leaves the farm, it begins to rain without stop and the evil owl, Grand Duke (who likes things dark), takes over. So Chanticleer's friends come to the city to find him and apologize and convince him to return home. Unbeknownst to them, Chanticleer has now become the toast of the big city, crooning to the masses like some knockoff Elvis Presley. And that's one of the problems with Rock-A-Doodle. There's not enough music. While it lasts, the animated rockabilly tunes (sung by Glen Campbell) and Elvis-spoofing are fun and enjoyable. But the songs are few and you've got to wade through a lot of noisy narrative commotion getting to them. There's very little plot, yet it seems like most of the movie is spent busily getting from one scene to the next. The animation is at first promising, especially when it mixes the cartoon with live-action sequences. But once the story gets underway, the animation turns routine and uneventful with subdued colors and uninspired narration. Nevertheless, when it was through, my five-year-old companion asserted that she'd like to see it again which, I think, is the highest compliment she knows.