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. The film received mixed-to-negative reviews and was a box office bomb, making $35.1 million out of its $76 million budget.
35 years since their show's cancellation in 1964, Rocket J. "Rocky" Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose have been relegated to reruns. Their home, Frostbite Falls, has been destroyed by deforestation, Rocky has lost his ability to fly and the show's unseen Narrator now lives with his mother, spending his time narrating his own mundane life. Meanwhile, their enemies Fearless Leader, Boris Badenov, and Natasha Fatale have lost power in Pottsylvania following the end of the Cold War. However, the three escape to a real-world Hollywood film studio, where they trick executive Minnie Mogul into signing a contract giving her rights to the show, transforming the villains from their two-dimensional cel-animated forms into live-action characters. Klutzy but well-meaning FBI agent Karen Sympathy and her superior, Cappy von Trapment, inform President Signoff that Fearless Leader intends to make himself President of the United States by brainwashing television viewers using his own cable television network named "RBTV" ("Really Bad Television"), which airs mind-numbing programming designed to zombify the public and persuade them to elect him as president. Karen is sent to a special lighthouse to bring Rocky and Bullwinkle to the real world by literally greenlighting a film starring the pair. She succeeds, with the Narrator being brought along as well but never being physically seen.
Fearless Leader is informed that Rocky and Bullwinkle have returned and sends Boris and Natasha to destroy them. The two are given a weapon called the CDI ("Computer Degenerating Imagery"), which removes cartoon characters from the real world by sending them to the Internet. Karen steals Boris and Natasha's truck, but gets arrested by an Oklahoma state trooper. Natasha and Boris in turn steal a helicopter to pursue Rocky and Bullwinkle. Rocky and Bullwinkle are given a ride by Martin and Lewis, two students at Bullwinkle's old university, Wossamotta U. Boris and Natasha get there first and make a large donation to the university in Bullwinkle's name. In return, the head of the university gives Bullwinkle an honorary "Mooster's Degree" and Bullwinkle addresses the student body, whilst Boris attempts to kill him with the CDI from a water tower. Rocky recovers his lost ability to fly and saves the oblivious Bullwinkle.
Martin and Lewis lend the two their car, which Bullwinkle drives to Chicago. Boris and Natasha once again attempt to kill the two, but instead accidentally destroy their helicopter. Meanwhile, Karen escapes prison with the help from a love-struck Swedish guard named Ole. Karen, Rocky, and Bullwinkle are reunited, but are quickly arrested for various misdemeanors that they have committed during their journey. The three are put on trial, where Bullwinkle inadvertently sabotages their case by cross-examining Karen as the prosecutor, not the defense attorney. However, the presiding Judge Cameo dismisses their case upon recognizing Rocky and Bullwinkle, stating to the District Attorney that celebrities are above the law.
The three obtain a biplane from a man named Old Jeb and escape Boris and Natasha once again. The duo considers quitting their evil occupations and getting married, but are interrupted by a call from Fearless Leader. Afraid to admit they have failed, they lie and tell him they have killed Rocky and Bullwinkle. Fearless Leader initiates his plan, brainwashing the entire country. Meanwhile, the plane is unable to carry the weight of all three aboard. Rocky flies Karen to New York City to stop Fearless Leader, but gets captured. Bullwinkle accidentally flies the plane to Washington, D.C., confusing it for New York, and lands at the White House. To get Bullwinkle to New York in time to stop Fearless Leader, Cappy scans Bullwinkle into the White House's computer and emails him to RBTV's headquarters, where he interrupts the broadcast and save Karen and Rocky. Karen knocks Boris and Natasha together, Bullwinkle throws Fearless Leader to his comrades, and Rocky ties the three villains together with the cable's wire. The heroes convince the American public to vote for whomever they want, as well as replant Frostbite Falls' trees. Bullwinkle accidentally activates the CDI, and zaps Natasha, Boris and Fearless Leader, reverting them back to their two-dimensional forms and banishing them to the Internet once and for all.
RBTV is changed from "Really Bad Television" to "Rocky and Bullwinkle Television", Karen and Ole start dating, and Rocky, Bullwinkle, and the Narrator return home to a rejuvenated Frostbite Falls.
- The characters' personalities changed pretty badly.
- Garish CGI. For example, Rocky and Bullwinkle look quite unfinished and in some scenes they do not look as though they're really there.
- Plot holes.
- Lots of filler.
- Unfunny jokes.
- The effects used on turning people from fruit and vegetables look pretty disgusting.
- There's a pointless romantic sub-plot between Karen and the prison guard.
- The narrator overtalks the story which gets annoying.
- The scene where a young scientist girl tests the CDI (Computer Degenerated Imagery) against a hand-drawn animated character 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 GMW, but this is never once made clear to the audience.
- For some reason, Boris, Natasha and Fearless Leader were all pulled out from the TV but Rocky and Bullwinkle were brought to life from the green light from Hollywood and it makes absolutely no sense.
- Mr. Big, who was apparently the 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 then largely forgotten.
- Lots of product placement.
- Even while it stays faithful to it's material, the jokes are a bit too inappropriate for a family movie.
- Some scenes go on for too long, like when the RBTV group finds out that they're machine works, they dance to a cover of: Secret Agent Man and it goes on for quite long.
- The ending makes no sense.
- False advertising: One of the posters show Fearless Leader, Boris, and Natasha on a road setting up bombs and TNT'S, but they never do it in the movie.
- Decent 2D 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 feels like a Rocky and Bullwinkle episode.
- Relating to Bad Qualities #9 above, the scientist girl remarks to Fearless Leader about how his concept for the CDI is similar to GMW, to which he angrily rebukes, "No, shut up, this is totally different!" and she pauses awkwardly.
- It is at least faithful to the source cartoon.
- The movie does have a bit of potential to be a great adaptation of a classic cartoon show, despite the subpar execution.
- Some moments worth a laugh, like when Karen's love interest is still outside a movie theatre where she ditched him cooking a burger.