Retro Review: The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle

Can an innocent moose and a reluctant squirrel bring together the worlds of animation and live-action?

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle is based on the classic 1960s cartoon series of the same name.

The plot for the feature film goes something like this. Russian spies Boris (Jason Alexander), Natasha (Rene Russo), and Fearless Leader (Robert DeNiro) stumble upon a conduit to the real world.

Convinced they will never conquer the cartoon world because of Rocky and Bullwinkle, the trio decides to bring their evil to the real world by pitching a feature film to a half-witted film executive, Minnie Mogul (Janeane Garofalo).

Once the trio convinces the executive of the film they are literally pulled into the real world. This freaks out the FBI and they assign a rookie agent, Karen Sympathy (Piper Perabo) to bring Rocky and Bullwinkle into the real world to stop them. Rocky and Bullwinkle were created by Jay Ward, who also created Dudley DoRight and George of the Jungle which have also been turned into feature films.

Rocky and Bullwinkle were Ward’s most famous and favorite of his creations.

The stumbling point that Rocky and Bullwinkle had to start off with was trying to find the magic felt in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.

Roger Rabbit continues to be the benchmark for animation/live-action films and every film after has tried to live up to its genius.

When you watch Rocky you have to admire the wizardry that has brought these cartoon characters into our world. They look like they were scooped right out of those classic cartoons. I also loved the way the film pays homage to the little town Rocky and Bullwinkle come from.

A favorite part of this film was how the audience connects with the narrator who develops into a character here. In the two previous Jay Ward movie adaptations, they used the narrator who always made the cartoons so funny but here he is brought to another level. Always loved that guy. I think the major part of why I can’t fully recommend this film comes with the whole plot and films interpretation of the real world.

The plot of Roger Rabbit originated from a clever novel which poked fun at the gumshoe detective and in that film they actually had a problem with people in the real world seeing the cartoon characters.

In Rocky, the characters walk around and no one really has a problem. Also I thought it was very deja vu that their guide to the real world was a FBI agent struggling with her inner child. In Roger Rabbit, Bob Hoskin’s character was a gumshoe trying to rediscover his inner child after his partner is killed by a toon. Sound similar?

When I watched the three human leads in the film I really felt sorry for Russo and DeNiro who are much better actors than this material allows. DeNiro poking fun at one of his most famous characters really made me shake my head and wonder if he is finally having a mid-life crisis. As for the poor beautiful and talented Russo I liked the speech she gives Jason Alexander’s Boris but other than that I really yearned to see Thomas Crown Affair again.

I really have to say that Boris and Natasha will finally get their wish as Perfect Storm and Patriot crush and smoosh moose and squirrel this weekend.

(2.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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