Directed by Clive Smith, who also served as an art director and storyboard artist for the film, Rock & Rule is an interesting piece of feature animation history. Developed and produced by a caucus of young artists who decided to carve up an idea and simply run with it, Rock & Rule was a quest for success from animators eager to do whatever it took to complete their first feature -- and in the process make it as explosive, spontaneous, and genuine as possible. After all, who wouldn't want to see a movie about a rock musician trying to summon a beast from the underworld?
First, however, one must meet-up with rock musician Mok. In an effort to stake his place in post-apocalyptic history, Mok conjures a devilish experiment: use his legendary rock skills to summon a demon. The crazed rocker thus endeavors to kidnap Angel, the golden voiced vocalist of a punk rock band, and use her as the key to open a portal.
As Rock & Rule continues, it's up to assorted bands and band members to chase down Mok, rescue Angel, and by the end of their journey, prepare for a showdown where rock enlists the inter-dimensional vigor of good-versus-evil. Unearthed Films will release Rock & Rule to Blu-ray September 28th ($29.99).
Bonus features will likely include the audio commentary and making-of featurettes published previously. Unearthed Films, based in Citrus Springs, FL, also distributes a single-disc special edition (November 2009) and a two-disc collector's edition (June 2005). Rock & Rule is rated PG for dark imagery, violence, brief nudity, and alcohol, drug, and tobacco use.
The average age of the core group of animators and production artists for Rock & Rule landed somewhere in the mid-twenties. The crew's previous experience was in television production, naturally, but their desire to scale up their skills to the silver screen was undeterred. Slit-scan photography, rear projection, multipack shots, these young animators did it all, or at least they tried. Director Clive Smith commented in a 2005 interview that production was akin to "a kindergarten class, an art school, and a lunatic asylum," relating the experimental learn-as-you-go-for-broke mentality.