Movie Review

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

MPAA Rating: PG for brief mild language

Reviewed by: Scott Ward
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Children and Family
Genre:
Animation Live Action Adventure Fantasy Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
June 30, 2000
Poster—Rocky and Bullwinkle
Featuring: Jason Alexander, Rene Russo, Randy Quaid, Robert De Niro, Piper Perabo
Director: Des McAnuff
Producer: Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal
Distributor: Universal Pictures

Ahh… the joys of Saturday morning TV. So often, studios have turned the cartoons we enjoyed so much as kids into live-action, overbloated disappointments. Now, Universal brings us “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle”.

I entered the theatre with some trepidation: was this the same R&B I enjoyed between smatterings of “Fractured Fairy Tales” and “Sherman and Mr. Peabody”? Short answer: yes. Aside from a few items, Rocky and Bullwinkle do indeed live on the silver screen.

Scene from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Of course, Rocky and Bullwinkle are a flying squirrel and moose who live in Frostbite Falls, MN, a town which has suffered since the cancellation of the R&B television show. Everything has changed, except our heroes… and our villains.

Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro, “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull”) leads his two agents of evil, Boris (played with perfection by Jason Alexander, “Seinfeld”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”) and Natasha (with equal perfection by Rene Russo, “Lethal Weapon 4,” “Ransom”) to the 3-D world in hopes of taking over the world. The FBI sends agent Karen Sympathy (newcomer Piper Perabo) to get R&B. What follows is a plot that goes from the deserts of Arizona, to the deserts of Oklahoma, to Bullwinkle’s alma mater, to… well, you get the idea.

Indeed, from an artistic point of view, you do get the idea, just not the entire story… and that’s the way they want it. Just like every other adventure the twosome have had, the movie is episodic, has numerous pointless side trips, and ends up just being a big barrel of fun.

There’s not too much to get offended at, either. I did knock off a few points for a completely unnecessary d*mn, and for a scene where Boris and Natasha share a tub, but then, they are evil… Karen Sympathy lies, but the lies are treated as a very bad thing that she did in order to repress her good, fun loving true nature.

In conclusion, “R&B” is a silly movie that should please fans and families alike. It’s not intelligent, but then I always suspected Bullwinkle’s degree was honorary.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
I rarely watched R&B as a child. I thoroughly enjoyed it at the theater. My wife liked it, my 12 year old son liked it and my 9 year old niece liked it. There was an extremely small amount of objectionable language. Have you watched TV lately? Even Nickelodeon, Disney or The Family Channel. My Ratings: [4/4]
—Mark L. Gilliam, age 39
This is a good family movie. The one curse word was disappointing and unnecessary, but other than that it was O.K. It was just Hollywood once again sneeking anything they can into a movie. The parts of Fearless Leader, Boris, and Natasha are done superbly. I was especially impressed with Rene Russo as Natasha. She walked and talked just like Natasha. However, this movie simply wasn’t funny. One scene with John Goodman was funny, but that was it. I sat in the theater bewildered that I had wasted over 20 bucks to see this movie. Don’t see this in the theater. In two months it will be out on video. Rent it then if your still curious about it. You’ll be happy you only spent $2 instead of $20. My Ratings: [3½/1½]
—Brian Wainwright, age 31
We went as a family to see the movie, our boys are ages 11 and 13. They enjoyed it thoroughly, laughing out loud and carefully noticing the silly puns and plays on words and repeating them back to us to be sure we didn’t miss the humor. I felt the movie was what I expected it to be, average. Our boys definitely give it a higher rating, they loved it! The very beginning of the movie did have one thing that I found totally unnecessary—it was a scene that was explaining new ideas that have come about since the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show was cancelled in the late 60’s. It depicted the invention of Velcro with a woman dressed in a very shiny silver coat who simply unfastens it quickly (due to Velcro) and reveals her very scantily clad body. I saw absolutely no value in this scene for a “family” OR “kids” movie, it was totally unnecessary! My 11 yr. old didn’t remember it, but my 13 yr. old did and agreed that it was not appropriate.

Other than this brief scene, the movie did include a single curse word (damn) and several uses of the Lord’s name in vain. I am particularly offended when God’s name is used outside of the context of total reverance and respect for our Lord. While these few things were bothersome to me, it was certainly appropriate to talk with our children about these issues after the movie. It was a good time to talk about the fun and funny things as well…

Overall, I felt the movie was o.k. to take the family to for a light comedic evening. …This film did portray the main characters, Rocky and Bullwinkle, as being very concerned with telling the truth and having integrity. I appreciated these qualities being promoted. Take the family out and enjoy! My Ratings: [3½/3]
—Cindy Davis, age 38
Any movie that features Rocky and Bullwinkle and contains wordplay instead of foreplay can’t be bad. However, I missed Sherman T, Peabody and Fractured Fairytales. I guess that they will be in the sequel. The next thing we know is that “Survivor” and “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” will be moving to Really Bad TV. My Ratings: [4/4]
—David
Positive—“The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” was an awesome 2000 movie. I enjoyed every minute of it. Karen starts out only caring about results, but Rocky and Bullwinkle speak the truth; later on, Karen regrets lying to her friends and all is well. Karen’s lying habits are shown to get her in hot water, plus Rocky and Bullwinkle clearly chastise her about it. Some champagne is shown near the end, but no one gets addictively drunk; good. Violence is “Good vs. Evil” and a lot of it is unrealistic and cartoony; good.

A couple of uncalled for moments: Boris and Natasha are shown in a tub together at one point. I do not know if they are married or not, but if they’re not, at least evil is portrayed in a negative light. Karen misuses God’s name after Rocky’s fall, plus the judge does it twice when she realizes who R&B are; not needed. Both moments alone are only 15 seconds of the 90 or so minute movie and the latter thing is done during Karen’s “care only about results” stage. If only the Hays Code was around and God’s name was not misused. I would give this movie an “excellent” rating, otherwise.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Peter, age 22 (USA)
Negative

none

Comments from young people
About at the 30th pun (not too far into the movie…), I was convinced this movie won out for lamest of the year. I mean, it’s one thing to fall upon stupid jokes by accident, but it’s quite another to go out of your way to make them. You might like it if you like puns and predicatability. I didn’t stay for the end (it was that boring) but I betcha I know what happened. My Ratings: [4/1½]
—Kirsten, age 15
This film is funny, but the 1960’s TV series was funnier. The film only has one foul word. I recommend it for kids six and up. My Ratings: [4/4]
—Wesley Corbitt, age 12
Movie Critics
…The movie is so packed with knowingly dreadful puns, wily sight gags, and self-referential cheek that it’s impossible not to be charmed. …succeeds in recapturing the satisfaction and sensibility of its small-screen predecessor…
—Cody Clark, Mr. Showbiz
…too hectic to allow any breathing room for characterization… all very harmless and instantly forgettable entertainment…
—Scott Von Doviak, Culture Vulture
…no offensive language… cartoon violence… bumbling slapstick…
—Holly McClure, Crosswalk
…slapstick style violence… where people are unintentionally and certainly not seriously injured…
—ScreenIt