The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle is a 2000 live-action/animated adventure comedy film produced by Universal Pictures, based on the television cartoon The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show by Jay Ward. The animated characters Rocky and Bullwinkle shared the screen with live actors portraying Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro), Boris Badenov (Jason Alexander), Natasha Fatale (Rene Russo), Piper Perabo, Randy Quaid, Kel Mitchell, and Kenan Thompson. Reprising her role as Rocky was June Foray, and Keith Scott voices Bullwinkle and the film's narrator.
The film features an ensemble cast of guest appearances by performers including Paget Brewster, Janeane Garofalo, John Goodman, David Allen Grier, Don Novello, Jon Polito, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Max Grodenchik, and Jonathan Winters.
Fearless Leader, Boris and Natasha cross over into the real world and plan to take over the USA. Karen, an FBI agent, asks Rocky and Bullwinkle to help her stop them.
Why It's Worse Than The Same Old Bull
- All of the characters' personalities have changed pretty badly. Especially from Rocky, who has been made out to be miserable, depressed, snarky, a bit whiny, and persnickety more often than not. Rocky tends to complain a lot to the point that it can get very annoying.
- While the CGI works decently, it can be garish, jarring, and bland at times. For example, Rocky and Bullwinkle look quite unfinished and in some scenes, they do not look as though they're really there.
- The film has some plot holes, such as the helicopter scene. When the CDI shoots the beam at the duo's car, a mirror reflects it back at the helicopter, even though the mirror would've been taken to the internet.
- Lots of filler, including a scene where Rocky and Bullwinkle go to a college.
- Some moments of unfunny and poor attempts at comedy (most of the time it's done cleverly), such as when Fearless Leader makes a Taxi Driver reference (another film starring Robert De Niro.)
- Very corny and cheesy acting, peculiarly from Robert De Niro as Fearless Leader.
- The effects used on turning people from fruit and vegetables look pretty disgusting and uncanny.
- Some cartoony stock sound effects can grate on the nerves, even if there are decent ones.
- There's a pointless romantic subplot between Karen and the prison guard, Poly.
- The narrator overtalks the story, which can get annoying.
- On top of that, in this film, he is a ripoff of the original Powerpuff Girls' narrator, in which case, the Powerpuff Girls' narrator is a better narrator than the movie's narrator.
- False advertising: On the posters, Fearless Leader, Boris, and Natasha are on a road setting up bombs and TNTs, but Fearless Leader actually doesn't do that in the movie, Boris and Natasha only do that.
- The scene where a young scientist girl tests the CDI (Computer Degenerated Imagery) against a hand-drawn animated character, which is creepy for a family movie, as he explodes and you can see blood on the target, and it also makes no sense since the CDI would mean that it would only work on computer-animated characters, but for some reason, it also works on hand-drawn characters. And real people, as it was seen at the end. It almost feels as if the film is in the same or similar universe as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but this is never once made clear to the audience.
- For some reason, when Boris, Natasha and Fearless Leader were all pulled out from the TV, they turn live-action, but when Rocky and Bullwinkle were brought to life from the green light from Hollywood, they become CGI, which doesn't make sense.
- Mr. Big, apparently superior to Boris, Natasha, and Fearless Leader, is completely absent in the movie. Though to be fair, he was only featured in the show's second season and he was then largely forgotten.
- Characters such as Gidney and Cloyd (the moon men) and Captain Peter "Wrong Way" Peachfuzz were also absent from the movie. They were written out in the last two seasons of the show.
- Lots of unwanted product placement, such as Coca Cola and Jaguar.
- Even while it stays faithful to the source material, some of the jokes are a bit too inappropriate for a family movie. For example, Karen Sympathy said how she and Poly can hold hands while eating popcorn and squeezing the fossit she held onto in a suggestive manner.
- Some scenes go on for too long like when the RBTV group finds out that their machine works, they dance to a cover of Secret Agent Man and it goes on for quite long.
- Several people even say that The Rocky And Bullwinkle Movie rips off Who Framed Roger Rabbit (which was a much better film), in multiple ways;
- There is a worthless reference to that movie when Fearless Leader says that there has never been a way to kill a cartoon character, but one of the scientists says what about Roger Rabbit until Fearless tells him to shut up just because what they are doing is very different (even though that guy had a point about that movie because Judge Doom is a way cooler villain than Fearless Leader). June Foray (voice of Rocky) also did Lena Hyena in Roger Rabbit and nearly most fans of the show online even call this "the best live action/animated film ever since Roger Rabbit!" Thus in other words, the film practically admits it's a repugnant 'mockbuster'.
- The 2D animation is really good for 2000s standards and is faithful to the original art style of the show.
- The CGI does fit how Rocky and Bullwinkle didn't have the best animation.
- Decent voice acting by Robert De Niro, Rene Russo, and Jason Alexander. June Foray reprises her role of Rocky after 35 years and still does a good performance, while Keith Scott as Bullwinkle does a good impression of the original voice.
- Some cameos make good impressions.
- Sometimes it does feel like what a Rocky and Bullwinkle episode is like.
- It is at least faithful to the source material.
- The movie does have a bit of potential to be a great adaptation of a classic cartoon show, and it did get some things right despite the mediocre execution and how widely hated it was.
- Some clever and satirical moments are worth a laugh, like when Karen's love interest is still outside a movie theatre where she ditched him cooking a burger as well as the scientist girl remarks to Fearless Leader about how his concept for the CDI is similar to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, to which he angrily rebukes, "No, shut up, this is totally different!" and she pauses awkwardly.
- Some charming/endearing scenes here and there.
- Universal Pictures eventually learned from their mistakes from this film, as their next animated film (in US), "Curious George" is a massive improvement for their animated direction.
Rocky & Bullwinkle opened in 2,460 venues, earning $6,814,270 in its opening weekend and ranking fifth in the North American box office and third among the week's new releases. It closed on October 5, 2000 with a domestic total of $26,005,820 and $9,129,000 in other territories for a worldwide gross of $35,134,820, making it a box office bomb.
The failure of the film was attributed to the film not being fresh enough for young audiences or appealing to the nostalgia of baby boomers.
At first, It's received generally mixed reviews with criticisms toward its writing, plot, and humor while praising the performances, visual effects, and faithfulness to its source material, until it gets more negative. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 43% based on 100 reviews, with an average rating of 4.81/10. The critical consensus stated, "Though the film stays true to the nature of the original cartoon, the script is disappointing and not funny." On Metacritic the film has a score of 36 out of 100 based on reviews from 30 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B" on scale of A to F.
- This film was originally in pre-production in the early 1990s, with Danny DeVito and Meryl Streep set to play Boris and Natasha. Legal problems with copyrights prevented the film being made until several years later.