Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rock & Rule

I don't have much to show artistically this week, I'm in the middle of alot of projects so I figured I'd make my semi-weekly post this go around about a little movie called Rock & Rule.

Rock & Rule is an animated movie that came out of Canada in 1983. I saw it when I was a little kid on Super TV and it haunted me until I was 12, when I found it for rent and finally saw it again at an age I could truly appreciate it for the awesome that it is. Rock & Rule is the end all, be all artistic greatness that I aspire to become. Artistically speaking, this movie is why I get up every morning. It is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of greatness that all else is compared to. I cannot suggest watching this enough. I've seen it over 100 times, including 5 times on acid and at least twice on mushrooms. It's actually a rite of passage for many of my friends to sit and watch this movie with me. I'm completely obsessed.


Let's take inventory of my obsession:

One of the most common pieces of Rock & Rule memorabilia, the Marvel super special, is relatively easy to come by.

I also have the theatrical poster in my kitchen, which is insanely hard to find. It took 10+ years of eBay trolling to come across.

I commissioned my pal Miss Monster to paint portraits of the two main characters, Angel and Omar for my living room.

Which sit caddy-corner from my full framed set of Rock & Rule lobby cards I've had for 13 years (one of my first ever eBay purchases). Those things have been through ALOT.

Three of the crown jewels of my R&R collection: my authentic hand-painted animation cels of Angel from her introductory scene, along with pencil tests and cels of Mok from his big reveal ('Anyone want a beer?') and Angel during the Mok concert. I came across these during my semi-regular search for Rock & Rule stuff on eBay, which paid off amazingly well, as a guy out in LA was getting rid of all 3 of these which had already been matted and framed and were going for $1200 for all three. He apparently had to get rid of them to make rent. Honestly I'd sooner sell blood than get rid of these and assured them they'd be going to a huge fan and would be very much appreciated. And they are. ^__^

And to prove just how crazy I am about this movie, I'm pretty sure I'm the only person in the world who has a Rock & Rule related tattoo. My precious big-tittied mermaid above my left knee (done by Duane at Have Fun Be Lucky) is an exact copy from a screenshot of the one Aunt Edith does on the back of the Sailor's head in Nuke York. One day I want to get a full calf piece that's a big Rock & Rule montage by tattoo artist Joe Capobianco, I think he'd be able to truly capture the characters.

But yeah, as you can see- I frigging LOVE ROCK & RULE. As far as I'm concerned it is the most perfect piece of cinema ever. Sure to many it may be flawed, ridiculous and cheesy. It was started in production with a half-finished script, ran out of money halfway through and has an identity crisis between being child-friendly and adult-oriented- but this movie has had a huuuge impact on me artistically as well as me as a person. The characters are strong, notably the two protagonists Angel and Omar, as well as the villian, Mok who other than Captain James Hook and the Kurrigan, is my favorite villain of all time. It's not a surprise Mok, full name Mok Swagger, is supposed to be a caricature of Mick Jagger, just... look at him. What I love about Mok is that he's so unapologetically evil and self-absorbed. I love villains that are just evil without some whole sob story origin about how they used to be good but then *something happened*. That was how they ruined Darth Vader in my humble opinion. Plus he's voiced by the awesome Don Francks, who if you're a total nerd like me, you will recognize as the voice of Sabertooth in the 90's X-Men cartoon. He has the quintessential evil snarl-scream voice. Ah, so great. And the skill of animating his face and most especially that mouth is awe-inspiring. I do love a good villain with a weird mouth and snappy clothes.

Angel and Omar, the two main characters, are basically both my ideal female role model growing up and my ideal guy. Dog noses aside (damn you furries), and focusing on their personality, Angel is one of the strongest animated heroines I've ever come across. She's assertive and doesn't take any guff from anyone, whether it's Mok himself trying to seduce her with a record contract or her own boyfriend Omar trying to hog all the band's fame. Even when the guys from the band rescue her from being sacrificed to a demon at a satanic rock concert she still steps in for the final take-down in the most deliciously cheesy "we'll SING at you" ending ever. Punctuated with a rainbow, no less.

:40- Epic scream is epic

Omar is the man. Even with an orange mullet, square eyes and a dog nose he's hot. I admit it. And I ain't no furry, dammit. Part of this attraction I'm sure is that in the US version he's voiced by greaser dreamboat Paul Le Mat, who you might know as John Milner from American Graffiti. ::swoon:: I've heard the Canadian version of Rock & Rule with some other guy doing the voice of Omar and yeah... it's not the same. He just doesn't sound as cool and as much of a snide prick. I'd almost go with saying I strongly dislike the Canadian Omar voice. Although what's cool in the Canadian version that you won't see in the US version is about a minute of extra footage that ended up being cut, including a longer Angel getting choked scene as well as a kind of weird Mok and Zip are backstage shot at the end when Mylar's on the mic. You can see those on the 2 disc collector's edition dvd that came out back in 2005. But yeah, Omar's awesome. Lookit him rock out with Robin Zander of Cheap Trick doing his singing voice. Dude's got charisma.

If you wanna check out Rock & Rule yourself, you can get it on DVD over at Amazon.

More info:
Rock & Rule on Wikipedia
The Critical Eye review
Interview with the creators in fps magazine


  1. I have NEVER heard of this film! OMG now I have to get it, it looks so amazing and awesome, like most forgotten 80s cartoons/movies. Thanks for showing it to us, now off to buy me a copy =P

  2. I saw this as a kid as well, and searched for the soundtrack for nearly 15 or so years until I found out that they never actually released one, if you ever come across anything of the sort, bootlegged or whatever tell me... I would kill to hear "Triumph" as a full version!!! - Matty

  3. you, ma'am, are crazy. I just wanted to say.

  4. @Sasha- Awesome! Glad I'm able to expose it to you! It's such an awesome gem of a film, especially to anyone who digs animation, 80's nostalgia or cyber punk shenanigans. Let me know how you like it!

    @Matty- I've got a few tracks on mp3 (Angel's Song, Born to Raise Hell, My Name is Mok and Pain & Suffering). What I'd kill to have is the score, it has such an awesome synthy sound to it, kinda like the Warriors score.

    @Daisy- Ha ha! You're just now figuring this out! ;D

  5. Holy Crap, So dug this movie. Finally found a copy on DVD several years ago. Sooo coool...

  6. @Joe: Ahh! Awesome! You see how I want you to do a full R&R calf piece? Oh man, I'd looove to see your interpretation. One of these tax returns, I'm so coming up to Conn and having you go nuts on my leg.

  7. Paigey... I loved this flick, I remember recording it on VHS as a kid off of HBO. My favorite part was when they used earth wind and fire's music. Then the line "I got uppers and downers, innners and outers and things that make you go..."

  8. Oh pssh, like being confused for a furry is a BAD thing hehe. I was wondering who kept beating me for some of this stuff, back when I used to troll ebay. I know for a fact that you got some of this stuff because I decided to actually get some sleep that night. Huzzah! I'm glad it went to such a huge fan -bows-. Hope this stuff is still treating you well. ^_^ Thanks for sharing actually makes me really happy to know it brings you so much enjoyment. :)

  9. I can appreciate your obsession with this film, as I have always loved it too. In the last few years I'm proud to say that I've gotten to know Don Francks,and attest to what a wonderful, talented person he is. Did you see the recent series: "Gangland Undercover"? He shows his naked bum in like the third episode.

    I went online looking for a figurine of Mok this morning, and though I don't know what made me click on your link, but I'm glad I did. You see, Don is not well, and though I have records and many memories of great conversations and riding around in his hearse (yes, the guy has a hearse as one of his daily drivers), it would be cool to have "Mok", to remind me that I used to eat breakfast with one of the most evil cartoon characters of all-time.

    Peace, and pleasant dreams,

    1. OMG! Thank you so much for sharing your story! I adore Don Francks voice acting work so much!! I'll def have to look up that Gangland show, haha.

    2. Hi Paige.
      Don passed away last night, aged 84. Look up his duet with Petula Clark doing the standard: "Old Devil Moon" from the movie 'Finian's Rainbow'. He assured me that the kiss he planted on her was not acted, and I have no reason to doubt that. ;)
      peace and pleasant dreams,

    3. Omg I just saw this!! Thank you for letting me know, I will def look up that video. RIP Don, you were one of my favorite voices.

  10. A little more from Don.

    In the 70s, he put out a show called: "The Insanity Of One Man", and in 2005, he recorded a spoken word album of the same name. About a week after he passed, I was doing a word jazz show, and had to transcribe something from that performance and album that he wrote, to begin with. Here is that piece, it's called: "Please Think Of Me".

    When you see boys and girls at play,
    Think of me.
    When you see lovers run away,
    Think of me.
    And when you hear their laughter,
    Right after the rain,
    Listen to their happiness,
    And think of me again.

    Have thoughts of me, when nature’s in the air,
    And the smell of life, is everywhere.
    Just think of me,
    And I’ll be there.

    Think of me, please,
    Think of me.
    When you feel the cold of winter’s snows,
    Or feel the summer’s sand between your toes,
    Think of me, when the air that tastes is fine,
    Whether it’s the honey, or the wine.

    But, when you see the world through tear-filled eyes,
    And all that you can hear, are your own cries …
    When the sweet scent seems to disappear,
    You feel a tiny tear, run down your cheek,
    You open your mouth and try to speak,
    And when you taste the salt of your own tear …

    Don’t think of me.

    Please, don't think of me.



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