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Jock the Hero Dog - DVD Review

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating

By

Jock the Hero Dog
Photo © Arc Entertainment

Bottom line:: Jock the Hero Dog is a CG animated film set in the outback of South Africa that tells the story of a courageous runt of the litter. The movie contains a significant amount of violence involving both humans and animals.

MPAA Rating: PG, for some menace and peril
Genre: Animated/family
Guide Age Recommendation: 8+
Runtime: 80 mintutes
Starring the voices of: Donald Sutherland, Helen Hunt, Ted Danson, Mandy Patinkin and Bryan Adams

Jock the Hero Dog - Overview

He may be the runt of the litter, but little Jock is a fighter and a champion, a fact which is easily recognized by his Zulu friend Jim. Jock is chosen out of all the other puppies to embark on a grand adventure accompanying Fitz, a man who has come to the rugged outback of South Africa hoping to find gold. Jock leaves his friends and his mother to set off a journey that will prove just how brave and honorable he is.

Along the way, Fitz and Jock run into all sorts of trouble from both man and beast. Jock always tries to do the right thing, but sometimes the right thing can be very unpopular with the wrong sorts of people. When Jock wins a race, he gets on the bad side of a vicious ape named George. And George's owner has it in for Fitz as well.

Jock also experiences tragedy and has to overcome a great loss. But even as things get tough, Jock's bond with Fitz strengthens, and he makes a few friends along the way. With his courage and character, maybe Jock can even turn a few of his enemies into loyal friends.

Jock the Hero Dog - Guide Review for Parents

With an all-star voice cast and a fascinating South African setting -- not to mention music by Bryan Adams, Jock the Hero Dog has a lot going for it. The animation is decent for the most part, especially the rendering of the South African outback. However, a disjointed storyline and a heavy dose of mean characters and violence put a bit of a damper on the family movie experience.

To be quite honest, my husband and I had a hard time forcing ourselves to sit through the film. The story just wasn't that engaging for us. But the question is, will kids like it? Kids about 6-12 may, as long as they are not too scared or disturbed by a few violent and sad scenes. Our girls heartily disliked the movie, although they did appreciate that the movie was about dogs and set in an exciting real world animated locale.

Mimicking the harsh outback setting, many of the characters are harsh and cruel. Jock survives several close calls including near drowning (after being pushed under the water by a rough hunter), a fight with a leopard, and being chased by an angry ape intent on ripping him to shreds. Jock also experiences the tragic loss of his mother, an event for which he blames himself.

Guns and other weapons including whips are used in the movie, and some animals are shot at (though no blood is shown). Many of the male characters speak harshly and intimidate and threaten Jock and Fitz. The cruel owner of George the ape uses George to do his dirty work, and as a result George is cruel and intimidating as he snarls threats through sharp teeth and forces other animals to obey him. The phrase, "For God's sakes" is used. And a couple of references to alcohol are made.

Overall, the film can best be described as a rugged, rough-around-the-edges adventure story, with a main message of being true and courageous. One of the best scenes in the film occurs when Jock refuses to fight another animal and instead frees it. In portraying the feel of the time and place of the story, though, the movie gets a lot more gritty than most animated films for children. Parents should be aware that the "menace" and "peril" which earned the film a PG rating could be too much for young children.

Jock the Hero Dog - Bonus Features

  • "Way-Oh" Music Video with Bryan Adams
  • Trailer
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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