Jock of the Bushveld 3D

2011-08-01 15:32
 
Jock of the Bushveld
What it's about:

A retelling of the classic South African novel of the same name about the friendship between a young man, Percy Fitzpatrick, and his best friend, a dog named Jock, as the two set off on an adventure to find gold, encountering many adversaries on the way. This time, though, the story is told from the point of view of an all-talking Jock.

What we thought:

I can't say for certain if I ever read Jock of the Bushveld but the story, known to be one of South Africa's greatest contributions to world literature, is one of the most well-loved local tales. Even if you've never read the book, the name will almost certianly ring a bell. Now, I may not remember the book and I may not remember the 1992 live-action film that first took a crack at bringing Jock to the big screen, but I know this: if the novel is anywhere near the classic that it is so often touted to be, it must surely have nothing in common with this trainwreck of a film.

A home-grown film with some US financing and some American/Canadian voice talent (Helen Hunt! Ted Danson! Mandy "My-name-is-Inigo-Montoya-you-killed-my-father-prepare-to-die" Patinkin! Donald Sutherland! Bryan Adams!?), Jock offers absolutely nothing in the way of competition to even the worst CG-animations from established powerhouses Dreamworks or Sony, let alone the MacDaddy of them all, Pixar.

It would be nice to throw the dog a bone, so to speak, what with it being an independent film put together by a South African team, presumably without the resources of animation's big guns but, ultimately, this Jock is a bit of a flop. Aside for Jock himself being a fairly cute CGI dog, the film itself falters and fails on every level.

On a purely technical level, the animation is shockingly bad – the jerky, stilted movements of the characters and their downright creepy facial expressions wouldn't stand up to a 1990s PC adventure game, nevermind your average, full-blown 21st century animated film. Worse, those old computer games (I'm looking at you Grim Fandango!) were probably better lit and boasted better art design than Jock's drab visuals and rubbish character designs.

And yet, the 3D effect is actually pretty good. Go figure.

Putting aside the atrocious technical work on the film (though good luck with that), the pathetic, incompetent storytelling is most unforgivable. The characterisation is non-existent, while the ramshackle story is disjointed and fails to engage. The massive plot holes only go unnoticed because it is so very difficult to care about anything that happens in-between. The action scenes fail to thrill, the jokes fail to raise so much as a titter and any attempts at emotional poignancy fail to hit home, spectacularly so.

If only the music soundtrack could somehow save this movie. Alas, no. The sickly, insipidly saccharine swathes of noise do more damage than create a sense of drama or intrigue. There were more than a few nervous chuckles in the cinema as yet another scene, already struggling to hold itself together, was further weakened by the sheer unpleasantness of the soundtrack.  On the other hand, at least the music elicits some response. If only I could say the same about anything else in the film.


A classic South African story gets the 3D animation treatment, and falters every step of the way.

Denver Tony 2011/07/29 10:05 AM
Very disappointing review. Jock of the Bushveld was is my favourite book. I did not watch the movie yet. I will be watching it next Tuesday. I hope and pray that Ian Preskovsky is wrong. I am so looking forward to this movie and he almost spoiled it for me. But I will judge for myself and report back
James Dyson 2011/07/29 11:41 PM
Joke of the bush veld. This movie has damaged our animation industry. With one of the best potential stories to be told. A true sa heritage. Completely, destroyed by bad bad bad animation and an even worse interpretation of a great book. 5 years in the making. Hang your heads in shame. What utter rubbish.
Willie Ferreira 2011/07/30 9:42 PM
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I coudn't agree more with James. Even tough the story is one of my favorites it have been the worst movie i have ever seen. To top it all i sit with a 4 year old kid that can only cry about a baboon and not even remember the jock. they seem to focus more on the evil guys than the good. not how i remember jock. i only wish i can get my money back.
julie w 2011/07/31 1:35 AM
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Seems like overly harsh opinions. I felt the characters and soundtrack were well done. I especially enjoyed some of the music. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the original story so I cannot compare to the original. I did feel that the movie had a very positive message that we should all pay attention to.
Charles S 2011/08/01 3:27 PM
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Disappointing movie, they butchered the storyline. Even my 4 old daughter requested that we leave the cinema. Would not recommend the movie to anyone.
Jan 2011/08/01 3:48 PM
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Watched the movie with my kids on Saturday. Boy what a disappointment. The storyline in the movie is so far removed from the original that it was at times hard to make the connection. I've read the book and recently rented the original 1992 classic for my kids which they enjoyed tremendously. Can't see this being a success abroad. I have to agree with the writer of the article that the animation compares poorly with offerings from abroad. I got bored halfway through.
Fiona 2011/08/02 2:38 PM
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I'm sad to say my family was also very disappointed with the Jock movie. The animation was poor quality (especially in 2D) but was nothing compared to the desecration of the original story and character development. Whilst this was perhaps an excerpt from Jock's life rather than the full story (thereby sparing the audience of Jocks sad demise) the whole point of the special bond between a dog and his master was missed and the story sanitised for the overseas market by having Jock help the baboon see the error of his ways and find freedom. The original story was written for adults and we got the sense that the producers had this brilliant concept which they ended up compromising in order to fit the target market for animated films.
Juliet7 2011/08/02 2:57 PM
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Very disappointed in the new Jock Movie. Animation and story not very good. Looks like a 1996 PC Game. My child was scared in most of the scenes. Eventually we left :-( The stupid baboon is so in your face the whole time. Going to buy the original Jock of the Bushveld book and rather read it to my kids.
Christopher 2011/08/03 2:49 PM
Very disappointed. I was so excited to see this movie. I read the book when i was still in school and enjoyed it very much. I am in the process of reading it again and cant seem to find the link between the movie and the book. This is really a poor attempt to capture something so special. Shame on you guys!!! When the movie was over the everyone in the cinema was was sitting confused. Nobody moved or said a word. It was almost like we were all dumstrucked and confused. It was like we expected a scene where Leaon schuster will come up and this was all a joke and the real movie will start. The animation was poor, I got a headache from the first time Jock started to run. Everytime they ran or made fast movement i had to look away. This is really a joke of a movie and the sad part is that many people will waste their money to see the movie. Like me i heard all the negative reviews but still had to go and see it for myself. At the end of the day they will say they made so much revenue and it will look like the movie is a big success.
Dean 2011/08/03 4:10 PM
From the trailers and delays over the last year or so to where the latest version now has some international celebs trying to save it from crumbling. Fromt he trailer alone it was DARK and scary with really scary animals liek the baboon. It was supposed to be a simple and fun story of Jock overcoming all obstacles but it was way too "cheap". Not a type of animated movie you want to showcase if Disney and Pixar have out of this world new #-D ANIMATED technology. Sad that a legendary story is now not perceievd the way ti should be. Jock will still always be our HERO :)
MIKE S 2011/08/03 7:03 PM
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im sure many of the film students out there could do a much better job.an embarresment hyped to the hilt.shame.
Alrightythen 2011/08/03 8:12 PM
You lot are the reason SA films don't stand a chance. Vicious reviews without regard for the impossible task that is film making. Kudos to the film makers for chasing their dream and shame on you critical pack of Vultures and Hyenas!
Crypto 2011/08/04 3:16 PM
I read Jock of the Busveld as a kids and its such a rich tale and serves as an inspiration. Its terribly disappointing to see what they have done with the story line. @Alrightyten: If they want to bring out a movie they should expect criticism. If they stuck to the true story then maybe they would have received praises. A bad movie is a bad movie, not matter the origin. Go read the book and see if your still of the same opinion.
Crypto 2011/08/04 3:18 PM
I read Jock of the Busveld as a kids and its such a rich tale and serves as an inspiration. Its terribly disappointing to see what they have done with the story line. @Alrightyten: If they want to bring out a movie they should expect criticism. If they stuck to the true story then maybe they would have received praises. A bad movie is a bad movie, no matter the origin. Go read the book and see if your still of the same opinion.
Wendy Joy 2011/08/05 5:35 PM
What a disappointment. My children and I were so excited to see this South African classic brought to life with CGI animation. It was an embarrassing effort that shouldn't have made it to the big screen. My 13-year-old son and I yawned and cringed through it, 9-year-old daughter tried her best to enjoy it, but there was very little to enjoy. The characters - with the exception of quite cute puppy Jock - were ridiculous, ugly and one-dimensional, there was no story, and the soundtrack was dreadful. Even Donald Sutherland sounded coy, quiet and embarrassed to be narrating this mess. That Desmond Tutu's voice was the best and most convincing in the movie says it all. I was relieved when it finished.
Maahir Pandie 2011/08/06 1:05 PM
GRIM FANDANGO WAS AN AWESOME GAME!
Annie 2011/08/10 12:41 PM
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When the movie started with an eagle soaring over the well-known Three Rondawels landscape, I got very excited to see a real SA scene in an animation movie. It was very short lived though! I think the moment the film got American funding, I already gave up all hope that they would stick to the original story, but I did hope that it will in some way still resemble it. No luck there! Maybe if I saw the movie as a brand new story, I would have thought it was a cute little one-dimensional story about a little brown dog, for small kids. The rest of the movie also just falls short! The script is flat and boring with no energy in the story or the characters. The most interesting character was probably the one voiced by Bishop Desmond Tutu, but there was so little of him he could have e-mailed his contribution. The jokes got nothing more than a smile; I don't think there is one scene that would have a child laugh out loud. The animation didn't help either. The landscape looks nothing like the South African bushveld at all, instead it looked like empty desert scenes. The backgrounds are dead and flat, like something out of a colouring book. The puppy, that looks nothing like a staffie, runs around without even as much as a footprint appearing in the sand! Having said that, the animation I could still excuse if the rest of the movie made up for it. After all - I still laugh out loud at 30 year old 2D Tom and Jerry episodes. Nothing makes up for it though, least of all the script!
LEAON 2011/08/13 11:17 PM
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WELL I HAVE NEVER READ THE BOOK OR SEEN THE ORIGNAL VIDEO BUT FROM WHAT I WATCHED I PRACTICALY DONT KNOW WHAT TO SAY BUT IF I SHOULD RATE THE MOVIE I THINK I LKE IT BUT STILL MY RATINGS WOULD BE LOW DUE TO THE COMMENTS OF OTHERS WHO HAVE WATCHED AND READ THE ORIGINAL COPY.
LEAON 2011/08/13 11:17 PM
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WELL I HAVE NEVER READ THE BOOK OR SEEN THE ORIGNAL VIDEO BUT FROM WHAT I WATCHED I PRACTICALY DONT KNOW WHAT TO SAY BUT IF I SHOULD RATE THE MOVIE I THINK I LKE IT BUT STILL MY RATINGS WOULD BE LOW DUE TO THE COMMENTS OF OTHERS WHO HAVE WATCHED AND READ THE ORIGINAL COPY.
SadDayForJock 2011/08/22 2:38 PM
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I know people involved on this project.... The reason it failed in its entirety is because the creators were so focussed on creating merchandise afterwards they completely lost focussed of what sells that merchandise - a flippen good movie. Alrightythen, you make a good point, but I am sad to say this movie wasn't made as a celebration of SA culture and stories, it was made in an opportunistic move to capitalise on the growing trend of children's movies becoming a marketing empire afterwards. this movie is an embarrassment
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