In the Himalayan village of Snow Mountain, generations of Tibetan Mastiffs have guarded the local sheep from wolves – but a youngster, Bodi (voiced by Luke Wilson) wants to break with tradition.
Khampa (JK Simmons), the current warrior dog and Bodi’s dad, expects his son to follow in his footsteps, but Bodi yearns to become a musician.
After a radio falls from a plane, he decides to follow the example of his new idol, British pop star Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard), and head to the city to pursue his dream. But a lupine gangster spots Bodi’s departure and dispatches his henchmen to kidnap him…
Based on the comic-book novel Tibetan Rock Dog by Chinese rock singer Zheng Jun, this animated comedy adventure doesn’t rise to the heights of Pixar, but its blend of breezy music biz satire, quirky characters and rumbustious action is endearing.
The voice cast fit their parts to perfection. Wilson supplies goofy innocence and Simmons is suitably gruff. Sam Elliott is the drawling Fleetwood Yak and Matt Dillon has fun as vain snow leopard guitarist Trey, one of the characters Bodi encounters in the city’s Rock and Roll Park.
Best of all, though, is Izzard’s incredibly cool cat, who lives in a gated mansion with only his robot butler Ozzie for company. Permanently in sunglasses (he puts cucumber slices on top of his shades), he is every inch the pampered rock recluse and the source of many of the film’s funniest moments, including a corny but amusing running gag involving a pair of workmen carrying a giant pane of glass and the mansion’s electrified gate. Ouch!