The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

"OK"

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Review


Much of the fun of the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons came from the constant wordplay and ironic humor that marked the 60s series. The various puns and wink-wink self-references flew around more than that little squirrel. The live action-meets-animation film chapter, then, has the right idea. The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle starts off as a giant, 4th wall-busting sequel, with a giddy mix of groaners and knee-slappers. But, remember the other effective trait of a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon? It came in short, sharp tastes, not a 90-minute overload.

Despite all its frivolity, that is the problem with The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. After a surprisingly savvy and funny introduction, this wildlife road comedy can't generate enough smart-ass creativity to sustain its feature length. And as the appearance of well-timed cameos grab most of the movie's laughs later on, it's sadly apparent that those walk-ons (thank you John Goodman, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, and others) become a crutch.

Our story begins in a fashion that the late Jay Ward, the show's creator, would appreciate: a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon, complete with our familiar narrator, explains that our heroes have been living a poor life back in Frostbite Falls, forced to live off their measly residual checks from the show's reruns. Meanwhile, Boris, Natasha, & Fearless Leader are still trying to make life miserable for everyone. When the Iron Curtain falls (literally) on the hurtful trio, they stay underground, burrowing until they get to a place in the universe where the blur between fantasy and reality is most apparent: Hollywood.

Of course, they've signed a movie deal in seconds (giving away all of Rocky and Bullwinkle's rights), and poof, they're human, in a wonderful sell-your-soul metaphor. Our evil lineup: Boris becomes Jason Alexander, who loses the character somewhere and sounds like an angry old man returning soup at a deli; Natasha morphs into Rene Russo, who looks the part and nails the accent; and Fearless Leader is producer Robert De Niro, with clipped German speech, and a mocking sense of himself and the movie. While the baddies' evil plan is to make American television hypnotically awful, the FBI calls upon our heroes to save the day... and make American television more innocuous for everyone, I guess.

Once a newly-rendered Rocky and Bullwinkle are "captured" by Piper Perabo as a fresh-faced FBI agent, and the trio hit the road, the movie just doesn't live up to its zippy introduction. (An intro, by the way, where Bullwinkle announces that all this exposition is making him tired!) Once the action and chase scenes begin, Ken Lonergan's script wavers between pleasing the adults with smart jokes, and creating a soft, inspiring story for kids. In the end, I believe that neither audience is too thrilled with the results.

One of the real treats, though, is that the ageless June Foray returns as the voice of Rocky, portraying the squirrel's realistic optimism as well as ever. Keith Scott, the narrator to George of the Jungle, plays both the current narrator as well as the voice of our favorite moose. And Piper Perabo is adorable as agent Karen Sympathy (say it out loud) - it seems that she can successfully put away her current sex kitten persona to appeal to the kids here.

While this kind-hearted movie gets weighed down deciding whom it's aimed at, the story plods along to its eventual conclusion, and what started as a three-dimensional treat ends up flat. My suggestion: more Moose and Squirrel, in new, ten-minute episodes available on home video.

One happy family.



Facts and Figures

Budget: $76M

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Capella International, KC Medien AG, Tribeca Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Natasha, as Boris, as Karen Sympathy, as Cappy von Trapment, as Fearless Leader, as Whoppa chopper pilot / Ohio cop with bullhorn / Old Jeb, as Rocky / Cartoon Natasha Fatale / Narrator's Mother, as Bullwinkle / Narrator / Cartoon Boris Badenov / Cartoon Fearless Leader, as Minnie Mogul, as P.G. Biggershot, as Oklahoma Cop, as Lewis, as Martin, as Measures

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.