'Rock Dog 2: Rock Around the Park' Blu-ray
Check out our review of 'Rock Dog 2: Rock Around the Park,' now available on Blu-ray, Digital, and DVD!
Bodi, the rock musician canine, signs a record deal and gets the chance to be a music superstar, but learns fame isn’t everything he thought it was. Stars the voices of Andrew Francis, Ashleigh Ball, Graham Hamilton, Brian Dobson, and Brian Drummond. Directed by Mark Baldo.
This straight-to-video sequel to the 2017 film doesn’t bring back any of the original voice cast, which included Luke Wilson and Eddie Izzard. That’s not a deal breaker, as kids who will view the film don’t care who’s providing the voices anyway. The cast for Rock Dog 2, which includes Graham Hamilton and Ashleigh Ball, do a fine job in their roles.
Unfortunately, no voice actor can overcome a rather bland story that wraps the standard “Be true to yourself” moral lesson in a layer of uninspired CGI animation. I didn’t expect a lot from Rock Dog 2, and yet the film still managed to underwhelm me.
Young viewers won’t mind the movie, as it features plenty of music and lots of colorful characters, even if they aren’t particularly endearing or memorable. Unlike Disney’s knack for character development, we don’t really see any sort of a character arc play out until the third act.
The plot here is pretty thin, even by kid’s movie standards. Bodi, a dog who can enchant crowds with his electric guitar, gets a record deal and is offered the chance to tour with pop superstar Lil’ Foxy. The music executive behind the deal has ulterior motives, however, forcing Bodi to decide what really matters to him.
There’s also a subplot about the music executive wanting to take over the local park, but like the main plot, it isn’t inherently funny or interesting. It’s forced conflict, so the movie spends most of its time inserting unrelated gags and dad jokes that are instantly forgettable.
There are some clever moments, particularly with a running gag in which lines from famous songs are worked into the dialogue. Parents will appreciate the references, even if they go over kids’ heads.
As far as the quality of the CGI animation goes, it should be noted that animation technology has made huge advances in recent years, allowing even low-budget productions to create some impressive work. Throughout Rock Dog 2, however, even a casual viewer will notice the quality of animation often drift from very good to below-average, particularly in the “cloning” of crowds and choppy character movement. It gives the film a “lazy” feel that a little more effort could have easily fixed, especially since the characters are well-designed and look great in high definition. They just don’t move around well, and it’s annoying.
Rock Dog 2 will keep the attention of very young viewers for 90 minutes, but it will likely test the patience of any adults in the vicinity. It defaults to clichés and easy jokes over originality too often, making the film more of a fun diversion instead of a family classic.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The blu-ray sports a sharp transfer with vibrant colors and excellent detail. The animal characters’ fur is rendered with surprisingly good clarity, and you can even see the weaving in Bodi’s knit cap. For an animated kids’ film released straight to video, the image is top-notch. It’s too bad the quality of the animation isn’t that great – the movements of the CGI characters don’t fare well in HD, looking unnatural and jerky at times.
The 5.1 DTS-HDMA soundtrack features excellent range, and the film’s many music sequences sound rich, with nice depth and surround effect. Bass is excellent for a kids’ movie.
There are no special features on the disc, sadly. A digital copy is the only bonus you get.
Special features included with the disc are:
Digital Copy. A code for a digital version of the film, redeemable through services including VUDU and FandangoNow, are included. Lionsgate codes do not redeem through Disney’s Movies Anywhere.
Release Date: June 15, 2021
Running Time: 90 minutes
Rating: Not Rated (Suitable for all audiences)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish
MSRP: $21.99 (Blu-ray and Digital), $19.99 (DVD)