If you heard the title Rock Dog and made the reasonable assumption that the film is about a dog who rocks, then well done, you’ve cinched your saddle up on the basic premise of Lionsgate's Summit Premiere division's upcoming animated feature. Bodi (voiced by Luke Wilson) is a dog who dreams of one day rocking. But this dog cannot rock — not yet, anyway. For the dog to attain his dreams of stardom, he’ll need the help of feline record producer Angus Scattergood (voiced by Eddie Izzard), a cartoon kitty version of Ralph Fiennes in A Bigger Splash. But the new trailer released today seems to indicate that rock is well within this dog’s abilities, and that after undergoing a substantial personal transformation, he will take up his rightful mantle as the one true rock dog.

Rock Dog.

That’s pretty much all there is to the movie, and yet at the same time, there’s so much more beneath the surface. For one, let’s all take a moment and collectively react to the words "Sam Elliott as Fleetwood Yak." The Buddhists would say that Sam Elliott’s whole life has been leading to this moment, to being credited as "Fleetwood Yak" on a cartoon slapped together in China.

That’s the big thing; Rock Dog wears its Asian heritage on its sleeve more than most international coproductions. China has made its presence felt in Hollywood for years now; just watch, for example, how Marvel contours its blockbusters to maximize their overseas appeal. Rock Dog comes from Zheng Jun’s graphic novel Tibetan Rock Dog, was produced by Asian studios Mandoo and Huayi, and retains its Asian setting. Truly, American manufacturing has hit hard times — now we’re even outsourcing our adorable talking-animal movies.

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