Rock & Rule [1983]

Although it featured songs by Debbie Harry, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Cheap Trick, and Earth, Wind & Fire, Rock and Rule (Canada, 1983) never received a general US release. Set in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by mutants, the underdeveloped story centers on the rock star Mok and his efforts to summon a demon from another dimension. Only the voice of aspiring singer Angel can cross the dimensional barrier and free the monster. Mok pursues Angel through series of chases and concerts that produce complications involving her true love/singing partner Omar and his band. Clive Smith's direction is simply inept: the story plods along listlessly; the characters change motivation on a dime; the crude CG special effects are squandered in minor scenes, rather than used to punch up the climax. Rock and Rule reflects the confusion of the animation industry in the early '80s. Yellow Submarine and Fritz the Cat had proved there was an audience for hip, edgy animated features. But nobody could make a good one, and a series of bombs caused animation to be labeled box-office poison. More than 20 years later, Rock and Rule holds a curiosity value for fans of old rock, but it's not a memorable film. (Rated PG: violence, grotesque imagery, brief nudity, alcohol, drug, and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon

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