Big news for fans of underappreciated animated features: Nelvana’s 1983 production Rock & Rule is now available to watch on one of the company’s official Youtube channels.
See the 78-minute film and read the synopsis below:
Rock & Rule is an acclaimed, animated rock & roll feature about an aging superstar, Mok, who plots to raise a demon and unleash its powers for his own diabolical ends. Mok’s plan to release the demon involves a search, a kidnapping, a singer named Angel, and a trip to the post-apocalyptic metropolis known as Nuke York. The action takes off when Angel’s band, led by Omar, attempts a daring rescue.
Rock & Rule was hugely ambitious for its time: the $8-million production nearly ruined Nelvana, which had never made an animated feature before. The adult-oriented film sank without a trace at the box office, only to re-emerge as a cult classic, drawing new audiences with its relatively high production values and stellar soundtrack (which includes original tunes by Cheap Trick, Debbie Harry, Lou Reed, and Iggy Pop). More background on the film can be found in this 1983 documentary about its production:
The director was Clive A. Smith, the British-born animator who teamed up with Michael Hirsh and Patrick Loubert to found Nelvana in Toronto, Canada in 1971. Rock & Rule, a passion project for the studio, channeled Smith’s passion for rock music. Spin magazine once called it “the greatest oddball sci-fi musical ever committed to animation cels.”
Nelvana survived the ordeal by turning to children’s series, for which it has become famous. The company, which is owned by media conglomerate Corus Entertainment, operates the Retro Rerun channel, where it features content from its vast back catalogue. It recently uploaded another animated curio, the sci-fi tv special A Cosmic Christmas (1977).