Rock-A-Doodle (Blu-ray Review)

“Rock-a-Doodle” is another cartoon by Don Bluth, the maker of “An American Tail,” “All Dogs Go to Heaven” and many likable others. It’s about a rockabilly-yodeling roosterBased on the play “Chantecler” written by Edmond Rostand, Rock-A-Doodle is about a group of happy barnyard animals.






Chanticleer is a rooster, beloved by all, who wakes the sun every morning with his Elvis-esque voice. The nocturnal Grand Duke of Owls does not appreciate this and sends one of his evil owls to fight with Chanticleer before sunrise to distract him from crowing at the correct time. After Chanticleer wins the fight, he notices that the Sun has already risen and that he never had anything to do with it. He feels embarrassed and is mocked at by his farmyard friends and leaves the farm for good! The film cuts to a live-action boy, Edmond, reading the bedtime story of our singing feathered friend. The story takes the obvious turn of Edmond entering the book and thus the animation, as the Grand Duke turns him into a kitten. He helps the barnyard animals find Chanticleer because the Sun apparently now needs him to be able to rise to prevent an endless night and owls feasting on barnyard animals. Yes, it’s as completely weird and confusing as it sounds.

The live action elements of Rock-A-Doodle aren’t anything special and the story is extremely simple, falling flat due to a weak premise with many weak characters. Chanticleer, the focus of our journey through the storybook and the film is the motivation behind every plot point, but we know very little about him other than the fact he can sing and is beloved by all, made very obvious as we are blatantly told this in the opening of the film.

The voice acting in this film varies so vastly from poor to great that it is a little jarring. The whole film is actually narrated by a dog named Patou, voiced by Phil Harris in his last film role. As much as I love Phil Harris, when his character is speaking, the voice doesn’t seem to fit the character at all.

However, as a narrator and he does a great job. There’s a minor love interest for Chanticleer named Goldie, whose voice is absolutely atrocious and completely distracting, I kept hoping that the evil band of owls would eat her, but that’s just me. A positive aspect of this film is the Grand Duke of Owls who, in my opinion, steals the show, voiced by Christopher Plummer, the best-voiced character in the film (and whom I was secretly rooting for the entire time). His motives are quite weak, but you have to love his character every time you see or hear him.



Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Original aspect ratio: 1.85:1


Depth: There are no surprises here. Assayas made a modern feature that was professionally done and this video transfer is clean and rich with detail. The level of clarity in both brightly lit locations and darker homes comes through with a great level of balance throughout.

Black Levels: Animated blacks are solid and look as they should.

Color Reproduction: Has the distinct Don Bluth look, muted yet colorful. 

Flesh Tones: Not truly applicable, but in the few scenes of live action, people were clear, but not exceptional.

Noise/Artifacts: This film is fairly clean, but has some 1990s charm.


Audio Format: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: Low-frequency dynamics. 

Low-Frequency Extension: Minimal subwoofer usage, the sound is very “kid-friendly”. 

Surround Sound Presentation: n/a

Dialogue Reproduction: Everybody is heard.






I had a good time with Rock-A-Doodle, after realizing that it didn’t have to make sense and wasn’t going to. The songs were catchy in a not annoying sort of way, and the animation was the typical clean style I enjoyed as a child. This is certainly not one of Don Bluth’s better films, but it is sure to make you giggle.

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