I’ve watched some pretty strange things over the years, which have all had their part in warping me into the person that stand (sits?) before you today. One of those things is an animated gem from the 80’s known as Rock and Rule. When it comes to strange animation from back then most people think of Heavy Metal, but this is one that slipped under most radars.
Now, let me preface this by saying one thing- Rock and Rule isn’t one of my favorite movies. Heck, I won’t even say it’s a good movie. It is, however, a movie that has stuck with me over the years for various reasons.
Rock and Rule takes place in the far future after mankind has whupped its own ass with nuclear warfare. As an interesting side effect, the human race as it stands are all now descended from various animals, resulting in some strange noses and muzzles on everyone in the movie. This would have been good information for me to have as a kid watching this, as I always seemed to catch it after it had already started and missed that blurb at the beginning and was left constantly wondering why everyone had such strange noses. Anywho, with that being established, we go to Wikipedia to describe the plot…
“Mok, an aging yet legendary rock musician is on the search for a very special voice that can unleash a powerful demon from another dimension.”
…which is, as strange as it sounds, pretty accurate. I’m also rather certain that it was never fully covered exactly why Mok wants to unleash a powerful demon from another dimension onto the populous, but I suppose one of the perks of being a rock demigod is never having to explain yourself. So, our major players are-
Omar: Our protagonist who, for all intents and purposes, is really an unlikable jerkhole. He’s whiny, self-centered, and a little jealous of his girlfriend Angel’s success and the attention that Mok shows her. He comes around a bit towards the end but I can assure you that you’ll spend the majority of the movie wanting to punch him in his freaky-looking nose.
Angel: Why she’s hooked up with a douche-nozzle like Omar is beyond me. I suppose that your standards must drop a bit once your world has been ravaged by a nuclear event. She’s a smart and capable heroine, at least up until Mok brainwashes her to go through with that whole summon-a-demon-from-another-dimension business. Still, she’s much more likeable than her obnoxious twit of a boyfriend.
There’s also two more band mates in Stretch and Dizzy. Dizzy is by far the least-annoying member of the group, while Stretch’s voice alone will make you want to sacrifice a kitten on top of a pile of orphans. The two have their moments, but it’s all about Omar, Angel and of course, Mok.
Mok: If you took the essence of Mick Jagger and David Bowie and distilled it in a bottle of absinthe while Prince played it a wicked guitar solo, you’d end up with Mok the Magic Man. As the bad guy he’s pretty awesome. The dude just oozes cocky evil whenever he’s on screen. I’ve read that Mick Jagger WAS the initial influence behind him (hence his original name of Mok Swagger, go figure), but there were some legal issues that forced them to tone it down a bit.
So, Mok is searching for a particular voice that is capable of unleashing a demon from another dimension for whatever reason, and finds it in Angel. Mok tries to get Angel to ditch her band and join him, and failing that just opts to kidnap her instead. And finally, our heroes set out to recover Angel, though not without a series of mishaps along the way. As mentioned, I wouldn’t call Rock and Rule a good movie as much as an interesting one. Thanks to the magic of YouTube I was able to reacquaint myself with it recently, and yes, it’s just as strange as I remember. If you’re looking for something animated that’s not quite for children and are burned out on anime, Rock and Rule might be what you need to kill some time. Though the soundtrack is pretty good, I don’t think it really compares to the other animated big daddy of the era, that being the epic Heavy Metal. However, it DID give us this gem from one of my all-time favorite bands, so it does have that going for it at least. Enjoy, and take a glimpse as to just how strange Rock and Rule really is.