This week we’re bringing you one of my favorite animated features from the dark ages of feature animation (between Disney’s Jungle Book and The Little Mermaid). Nelvana’s Rock & Rule was a bright spot from the innovative and creative Canadian animation studio when it was released in 1983, sadly, to little mainstream attention.
It was a classic case of an independently produced feature being acquired by a clueless Hollywood studio (in this case, MGM/UA) who then decided not to bother marketing the film. If Night Flight hadn’t shown big chunks of it, I might have never heard of this fantastic rock and roll cartoon.
You would think that an animated feature with original music written and performed by Cheap Trick, Debbie Harry, Earth Wind and Fire, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop might’ve attracted more attention in 1983, but the truth is that aside from a promotional cassette there was never a soundtrack album released.
In fact, only some of the tracks from the movie were ever even released commercially, and then only after several years, or decades, had passed.
I have raved about the film in this blog and before I even had the blog for years. The version of Rock & Rule you see above is the version I’d seen. But there is a different version. One of the things that MGM/UA insisted be changed before they took the film out in the backyard and buried it, was that Greg Salata’s voice for “Omar” be replaced by Paul LeMat’s, and in the process, most of the profantity the character spouted by santized.
What you see at first in the above player is the American version of the film, which is also about four minutes shorter than the original Canadian cut. If you follow this link to to the Internet Archive, you can see the Canadian release, but for some reason, I can only embed the entire collection, so if you want to see the original cut and all the BluRay extras, you’ll have to skip ahead on the player above and restart it for each new video or go watch it at The Archive.
Or you can just zone out for almost four hours and get the full experience. Rock & Rule is a great post-apocalyptic musical science fantasy, and if you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a treat If you have seen it…chances are you havent seen the original version or all the extras.