Western Animation: Rock-A-Doodle
"Now I know an everyday sunrise might not seem like such a big deal to some folks, but imagine for a moment if instead of rising up like this; one morning where you lived, she took a look around and decided to go back to sleep? It happened once to us! Let me tell you all about it."
— Opening Narration
Okay, stay with us here.
This is a very loose Adaptation Expansion
of the tale of Chanticleer the rooster, who believed his crowing made the sun shine. It is also an equally loose adaptation of the play ''Chanticler''
by the French writer Edmond Rostand (also known for Cyrano de Bergerac
), bearing little resemblance to it apart from some of the characters.
In this version, Chanticleer is an affectionate caricature of Elvis Presley
. After learning his singing doesn't have any effect on the weather, he runs away to seek his fortune as a rich rock star. Wouldn't you know it, Chanticleer does
control the weather, so his friends run after him to try and convince him to come home and save the farm from flooding. note
Fortunately, Chanticleer is disillusioned with his fame and fortune and fandom
, and agrees to return to the farm and save the day.
Pretty straightforward as far as animated folktales go, right? Well, no. Because we didn't mention the Grand Duke
, an evil wizard owl who hates the sun and wants it to rain forever. Or, speaking of, the flood that started once Chanticleer left.
The disastrous box office failure of the film led to the bankruptcy of Don Bluth
To be fair, although the film runs in the exact opposite direction of everything Don Bluth stood for (including purposefully toning down anything truly scary), the film at least includes the very pretty character and effects animation that Bluth is well known for — as well as quite a lot
of his characteristic weirdness. A few folks even have warm nostalgia for the utter randomness and weird characters. And after all, the whole movie is supposed
to be a sick kid's fever dream...
A making-of featurette can be seen here.
This movie shows examples of...
- Absolute Cleavage: Goldie.
- Absurdly Long Limousine: Pinky Fox drives a large, pink limo with twelve wheels. Toward the end of the film, when Edmond, Patou, Peepers, and Snipes attempt to get Chanticleer back to their farm to stop the villainous owl, they actually all steal Pinky's limo before Peepers gets them all to escape using another vehicle they all stole: Pinky's helicopter.
- Action Girl: Peepers.
- Adaptational Heroism: Snipes. In the original Rostand play, the blackbird was a villainous character who conspired with the predators of the night against the farm animals, along with the farm's cat. In the movie, his counterpart Snipes is a Jerkass, but is an ally of Chanticleer and not an outright villain.
- Adorkable: Peepers, again.
- All Just a Dream: According to the Book Ends, the whole movie is supposedly a story told to a sick kid by his mother.
- Or Was It a Dream?: Well, the (Narmy) closing sequence that awkwardly combines reality and animation certainly doesn't think so!
- It's worth noting that Patou's narration implies that the tale of Chanticleer, the kid's fever dream, and the live-action bits are all real. Maybe. Have we mentioned that there are moments in the script that are confusing?
- All Men Are Perverts: Subverted; when Edmond calls the animals trapped on the farm, Stuey the Pig hops on to a floating dress form making his way to the phone and accidentally fondles it; he quickly apologizes to the inanimate object.
- Played straight with Hunch, who becomes excited at the sight of Goldie's ensemble on the helicopter just before she smacks him away.
- Alternate Animal Affection: This movie has the "squashy beaks" variant, so birds can kiss like humans.
- Animorphism: Edmond is turned into a kitten by the Grand Duke, because Furries Are Easier to Draw. And (thanks to his little-kid intonation) it sounds like he even calls himself a furry.
- The weirdest thing about this whole plot element? It has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the story; it's mentioned at the very beginning and end of the animated portion and in a few lines that sound like they were thrown in as an afterthought. This leads more evidence to the Throw It In nature of the live-action/animation sequences.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: The villain is the Grand Duke of Owls.
- Ascended Extra: In the Rostand play, the Grand Duke and Patou only appear briefly, although Patou does warn Chanticler about the treacherous Blackbird. The Blackbird and the rival rooster who fights Chanticleer are the main antagonists in the play.
- Astronomic Zoom: Done in the opening, going from a view of the earth from orbit to Chanticleer's uvula in a matter of seconds.
- Ax-Crazy: Hunch. He'd be frightening if he weren't so pathetically incompetent.
- Babies Ever After: In the final musical number, Chanticler and Goldie's two chicks can be seen sitting on the fence. No one comments on them and it's fairly easy to miss the fact that they're even there.
- Baleful Polymorph: Again, Edmond's transformation into a kitten.
- Becoming the Mask: Goldie, a Brainless Beauty of a chorus girl, is ordered by her boss Pinky (who is taking orders directly from the Duke), to act as a Love Interest for Chanticleer, in order to keep him distracted and thus not crowing. As time goes by, however, she genuinely falls for him.
- Big Bad: The Grand Duke of Owls
- Big Bad Duumvirate: The Grand Duke and Pinky, at least whenever the writers agree that Pinky is the Duke's minion.
- Big Damn Heroes: As Edmond and the others fall from a tower, Peepers returns from her Disney Death and rescues them in Pinky's helicopter.
- Butt Monkey: An unnamed owl◊ is always maltreated by the Grand Duke.
- Hunch is also regularly abused, beaten, and inadvertently transformed into things you'd see in a fever dream.
- Call On Me: Subverted; during the flood scene at the beginning, Edmund runs up to the window and tries to summon Chanticleer by shouting out his name, only for the Grand Duke to appear instead.
- Captain Obvious: Edmond. Much of his dialogue is repeating everything everyone else says several times.
- Carnivore Confusion: If animals in the world the Grand Duke transports Edmund to all live in the city or at least in a human like way, how are carnivores supposed to get their meal?
- Cats Are Mean: Inverted.
- Cool Airship: Averted with Pinky's pink airship, which looks more like a flying caterpillar.
- Cool Car: Pinky's Pink Cadillac.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Pinky.
- Covers Always Lie: The back of the original VHS cover mentions "Rock-a-Doodle" had a "rollicking" run in theaters. Suuuuure....
- Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: The plot outline on the current DVD states that Chanticleer forgets to crow and raise the sun because he overslept. Apparently "oversleeping" is slang term for "fighting with one of the enemy's goons".
- Detail-Hogging Cover: Averted, the DVD cover seems to have rather cheap flatly colored drawings on a sparse background.
- Played straight with the VHS cover, which featured the poster art.
- Disney Death: Peepers in the Car Chase sequence, and Edmond in the finale.
- The Dog Bites Back: At the end of the film, the Duke is reduced to a size even smaller than Hunch, who immediately pounces on the opportunity to take revenge on his uncle for all of his abuse.
- Drunken Montage: Happens in one scene when the characters are trying to find Chanticleer.
- Elvis Impersonator: Well, an Elvis parody, anyway - right down to calling himself "The King."
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Edmond. It's so bad that sometimes you can't understand what he's saying.
- Evil Is Petty: Downplayed by the Duke. He does point out that he's upset that Edmond broke his monocle, but it's not the real reason he was going to eat him.
- Evil Sorcerer: The Grand Duke.
- Evil Uncle: "Uncle Dukie," the Grand Duke of Owls.
- Expy: Goldie's design is very reminiscent of Princess Daphne from the Dragon's Lair games if she were a mutant bird thing.
- Also her shiny, sparkling, revealing red dress makes her design similar to an anthropomorphic bird version of Jessica Rabbit.
- Edmond's design seems at least partially based on Fievel of An American Tail, another young, fur-covered boy with a big hat and Hand-Hiding Sleeves from one of Bluth's movies.
- Fat Southern Fox In Striped Pants: Pinky. He even plays golf and chomps cigars.
- Faux Affably Evil: The Grand Duke.
- Feather Fingers
- Five-Man Band:
- Fix It in Post: Almost all of the songs are completely covered up by narration and dialog, leaving it as muffled quiet background noise. It was becasue it simply didn't make enough scenes for proper exposition and speech isn't clear, and the narration was added after test-screening the film.
- Foregone Conclusion: We already know ahead of time Goldie will pull a Heel-Face Turn, thanks to the narration.
"Fortunately for us, Goldie was a lot smarter than she sounded, and a lot nicer too. She just didn't know it yet."
- For the Evulz: The Duke doesn't seem to have much of a motive for making sure the sun never comes back other than hating the sun.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Most obvious in the scene where Goldie, um, seduces Chanticleer on a giant swing. She appears to be pouring martini glasses full of what looks to be milk down his throat. Ick. It's supposed to be soda, as you can see from a bottle of King Soda earlier in the scene, but it still looks like milk.
- Furry Confusion: Okay, so in the beginning the animals live on a farm. Then, after Edmund shows up, they all go to the city. But the city is not populated by humans, but instead by more Funny Animals. A-bwauh?!?
- Considering Edmond's mother thinks Chanticleer is fictional, it's possible they happen in two completely different universes.
- Right after being turned into a cat, Edmund is afraid of Patou (a dog), licks himself and almost tries to eat Peepers (a mouse). Then hangs a lampshade on it by saying, in a grossed out voice, "I almost ate a mouse!" (He also comments on licking himself!)
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- When Hunch breaks into Pinky's aircraft while the good guys are trying to escape, he jumps down from the aircraft's entrance, hangs from a rope and, for a brief second, stares at Goldie's breasts before she slaps him away. Made funnier with Charles Nelson Reilly's signature "Hur hrrrmmm" laugh (and even funnier when one realizes that Reilly was gay).
- When Goldie sullenly complains that she's too good to be just a chorus girl, Pinky snidely suggests that she could "give up show biz." Whether she's appalled at the general idea or at the, ah, other implications of that suggestion, well...
- In fact, after Pinky makes that suggestion, Goldie falls to her knees and covers her chest, gasping "Pinky!" with a scandalized expression.
- "Aah, this is flipping garbage!" Snipes says.
- Good Animals, Evil Animals: Owls are evil, all other animals (except frogs/toads and foxes) are good.
- Hammered into the Ground: During the climax, Chanticleer gets nailed to the ground by the Grand Duke's magic.
- Happily Ever After
- Heel-Face Turn: Goldie, as a result of Becoming the Mask. Thought she wasn't exactly evil to begin with, just rather easily manipulated by Pinky.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Edmund in the finale nearly dies when he tries to save Chanticleer.
- Interspecies Romance: Chanticleer (a rooster) and Goldie (a pheasant).
- Jerkass: Snipes the magpie. He gets better.
- Karmic Transformation: Not exactly. Edmund, a "scaredy-cat", gets turned into a cat by the Duke. This was actually so that the Duke could eat him for trying to call back Chanticleer ("Kittens are more digestible", apparently) but it's quite ironic.
- The Grand Duke is shrunken to smaller than the mouse and is immediately chased by Hunch for his abuse towards him.
- Kick the Dog: The Duke threatens to kill and eat his own nephew if Hunch fails to stop Edmund and his friends from reaching Chanticleer. And one of Pinky's toad bodyguards kicks a grill for no reason.
- Large and in Charge: The Grand Duke
- Large Ham: The Duke and Hunch.
"But you see, we creatures of the night have worked very hard to make absoLYUUTEly sure that that... BIRD does not return! And you... you, with no regards for the feelings of others, have the NERVE to call him BACK here by NAME! And besides, I positively LOATHE rock 'n' ROLL!"
- Lethal Joke Character: Hunch has a Swiss army knife with everything in it. This would make it seem like the heroes are doomed to death, but Hunch is as dim-witted as he is aggressive, coming to the Grand Duke's disadvantage.
- Light Is Good / Dark Is Evil
- Limit Break: Chanticleer's crowing at the climax of the movie.
- The Load: Snipes
- Mind Screw: Oh yeah, most of it unintentional.
- Minion with an F in Evil: Hunch, who attempts to kill Edmond's group twice, but only helps them get further along in their mission. The first time, he "sucked em' into an adequate pipe" which only lead them to the city and the second time he tried killing them while they were tied up, but he only let them loose.
- Lampshaded by Patou's narration, pointing out that Hunch was "more of a hoot than he was horrible, but still he was a nuisance."
- Minor Injury Overreaction:
- Goldie's reaction to losing her high heels while climbing a ladder
Aaaaah! My SHOOOOOOOOOOOOEEEEESSS!!!
- Hilariously, Goldie's shoes reappear on her feet a couple shots later, and keep disappearing and reappearing throughout the final scenes.
- Missed Him by That Much: Once Edmund and the gang arrive in the city, there is a whole montage of them just barely missing glimpses of Chanticleer. Once again, Patou lampshades this in the narration.
- Mr. Exposition: Patou the dog doubles as the narrator, who explains. Every. Single. Thing. That. Goes. On. In the movie. Except for the really weird things, which you'd think would have demanded further explanation.
- Nice Hat: Edmond's raccoon-fur hat. Although coupled with his long-sleeved baggy sweatshirt it makes him look like a Palette Swapped Fievel sometimes.
- The Night That Never Ends: Brought on by Chanticleer not being around to raise the sun, except for that one time where it did come up without him.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Goldie's voice calls to mind that of Marilyn Monroe.
- No Name Given: The Duke's owl henchmen (besides Hunch), the rabbit that warns Stewie the pig as the flashlight is going out, and all of the other farm animals that stay at Edmond's house and nearly get eaten by the Duke.
- According to The Animated Movie Guide, the rabbit's name is Minnie.
- Nonmammalian Hair: Chanticleer and Goldie.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: Goldie.
- Not My Driver: An odd variation. When Edmond and his friends fall from a tower, they're caught in a helicopter belonging to one of Pinky's minions. Pinky witnesses this and ecstatically orders for the minion to bring them back - only for him to realize that said minion is right behind him. Cut to Peepers in the helicopter cockpit, wondering to herself: "Murray? Who's Murray?"
- Ominous Owl: The Grand Duke and his minions.
- One-Winged Angel : Near the end, the Grand Duke regurgitates magic all over himself and becomes a giant tornado demon.
- Clipped Wing Angel: After Chanticleer does his thing at the climax, the Grand Duke is shrunk to barely a couple inches high, even smaller than his own nephew, who then chases him off trying to eat him.
- Perpetual Storm: After the Grand Duke of Owls's minions drive Chanticleer away from the farm, he utilized his evil magical powers to conjure up a storm over the entire farmland, and it continues to brew until when Chanticleer is finally brought back to the farm and he is able to crow again, thus awaking the sun and foiling the Duke's storm. During this time, the storm even makes headlines: "MYSTERIOUS RAIN SPREADING" and "SUN DON'T SHINE FOR FARMERS". It was All Just a Dream, though.
- Petting Zoo People with a Non-Mammal Mammaries chaser: Thanks to Don Bluth's bizarre idea of attempting to mimic Jessica Rabbit's sex appeal.
- Pinball Protagonist: Edmund.
- Plummet Perspective: "MY SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOES!!!"
- Plot Hole: The sun rising once (and only once) without Chanticleer is never explained. Then there's the ending, which seems to imply that the whole thing was a fever-dream. No, wait, it was real. No, wait... aw, forget it. Roll credits.
- The opening narration seems to imply the sun woke up, took a look around, and then went back to sleep... which still doesn't explain the situation since Chanticleer was supposed to raise the sun, implying that the sun shouldn't have risen at all unless he crowed...
- The Power of Rock
- Punch Clock Villain: It is implied by the way Hunch walks to the Duke with a smile that says "Finally!" whenever the Duke says "Come to Uncle" that he just wants his uncle's attention. The reason why he looks so happy when he thinks he's about to kill the good guys is most likely because he knows if he gets the job done right, his Uncle Dukey will love him. Murray, Pinky's assistant, may also count, although we don't see much of him.
- Reality Warper: The Duke's magic seems to have this effect.
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Just how old is that kid supposed to be?
- Hilariously, the trailers for the movie dubbed the kid's voice over with another actor, correctly assuming that hearing him talk would not be an incentive to see the film. They kept it in the actual movie, sadly.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: The transitions between the Live-Action and Animated segments. The effects are pretty embarrassing in the wake of Roger Rabbit though.
- Say My Name: "CHANTICLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!!!"
- Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: the scene where The Duke, the evil owl turns the live-action human boy Edmond into a cartoon kitten by way of a magic spell. (This particular scene pairs this trope with that of Toon Transformation and Baleful Polymorph).
- When Edmond and co. are floating down the river on the way to the city, Hunch and the owls prepare to attack, while Hunch is humming "Ride of the Valkyries".
- Edmond is named after the French writer Edmond Rostand, who wrote the play that the movie is (very) loosely adapted from.
- Sissy Villain:
- The Grand Duke, voiced by Christopher Plummer, enjoys baking and embroidery, and is a phone cord twiddler. Poor guy wasn't allowed to do anything really evil after the concerned parents in the preview audiences got through with him.
- Well, until the climax anyway, where he almost strangles Edmond to death using his magic, to the point where it looked like Edmond had died, and attempts to drown Chanticleer with a waterspout.
- Hunch is even worse though. Oh, and Beware the Nice Ones- the bakers/phone cord twiddlers are the true psychopaths.
- Smug Snake: The Duke.
- Species Surname: "Grand Duc" is the French name for the eagle owl. Compare the photo on that page to the Duke's character design.
- Spell My Name with a "The": The Grand Duke of Owls or sometimes just "The Duke".
- Swiss Army Weapon: Hunch has one of these with nearly every common item you could think of in it.
- That Reminds Me of a Song: Everyone will sing about pretty much anything going on. A group of bouncers sing about how they're bouncing groupies. The owls sing about how they hate the sun. The owls sing about how they're eating the farm animals or how farm animals are running out of batteries.
- Thieving Magpie: Snipes the magpie.
- Third-Person Person: Sometimes the Duke talks like this, such as "But that is not why The Duke is going to eat you.", and "The Duke gives you one last chance!".
- This Was His True Form: When Edmund "dies," he returns to his live-action human form.
- Too Dumb to Live: Seriously, Snipes. When you're stuck in a chest underwater, don't peck through the chest to escape, water will come through.
- To be fair to Snipes, he was undergoing a massive Freak Out brought on by extreme claustrophobia. Rationality tends to take a back seat in such situations.
- Toothy Bird: Since there are so many birds in this movie, of course some of them are bound to show their pearly whites at at least one point in the movie.
- The Unseen: Murray (Pinky's chauffeur/valet), until the chase, where he becomes a One-Scene Wonder.
- Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: At the end, you can see Chanticleer and Goldie's son and daughter very briefly. Look for them sitting on the first rung of a fence during the finale.
- Verbal Tic: Hunch has a bizarre fondness for words that end in the "-ation" suffix, particularly when he's excited.
- Villain Song: The Duke and his owls get three — "Never Let Him Crow/We Hate the Sun", "No Batteries!" and "The Owl's Picnic".
- Weaksauce Weakness: The owls hate the light. Any kind of light at all. Even a measly flashlight is enough to chase the Grand Duke away. Which, of course, is why the Grand Duke spends the whole movie attempting to make sure Chanticleer is not in a position to raise the sun, the ultimate source of light.
- Except that the Duke is shown baking... with a fire going...???
- What's He Got That I Ain't Got?!: While complaining to Pinky about her jealousy of Chanticleer, Goldie says this line verbatim.
- Who's Laughing Now?: Hunch gets this reaction the moment he realizes that he finally has the upper hand against his uncle.
- Why Did It Have To Be Closed Spaces?: Snipes is horribly claustrophobic. Naturally, our heroes find this out at the worst possible time.
- Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: The Grand Duke's goal is to make sure Chanticleer can never raise the sun, so the owls can live in eternal darkness. He chooses to pursue this goal by arranging for Chanticleer to be driven from the farm and become a rock star in the city. It would've been easier to try to kill Chanticleer instead. The Grand Duke wises up in the climax and tries to kill Chanticleer by first hammering him into the ground and then attempting to drown him with a waterspout.
- Would Hurt a Child: The Duke frequently threatens to kill and/or eat Edmund, who can't be much older than six (and that's being generous). Oh, and he actually strangles the poor kid nearly to death in the climax.