The ghost of Elvis Presley, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and a barnyard of anthropomorphic animals — that’s the recipe for this muddled, mind-numbing, mostly animated feature from Disney alumnus Don Bluth. Framed as a bedtime story told to a farm boy named Edmond, Rock-A-Doodle is about a rooster called Chanticleer (a Canterbury character, and the voice of Glen Campbell) who neglects to crow one morning, only to face the ridicule of his friends when the sun rises nonetheless. Humiliated, he heads for the big city, where he parlays his mighty warble into a singing career. Chanticleer is suddenly ”The King,” packing them in at Vegas-style halls, even acquiring a domineering manager, a movie deal, and a pink Cadillac.
But back on the farm, the sun hasn’t shone for days and the floodwaters are swelling. Maybe, the animals start to think, Chanticleer could raise the sun after all. So Edmond leads the chase to find Chanticleer.
Rock-A-Doodle’s colors are washed out, David N. Weiss’ screenplay is a jumble of limp rock homages, and the handful of musical numbers are both unmemorable and derivative. Worse still is Bluth’s incorporation of live action into the proceedings, giving the film the look and feel of something made on the cheap.
My 9-year-old has turned on me before when I’ve dragged her to a stinker, but her wrath was truly palpable when Rock’s credits finally rolled.