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Rocky the Flying Squirrel is a character who appeared in a TV series
named for him dating from the late 1950s to the early 1960s. Decades
later, filmmakers who are probably fans of the show's characters try to
make a film, and try to revive them.
At first, I had no idea that the film flopped at the box office because I was not following it. This was until I read about it on Wikipedia. It was there I found out. I find it hard to believe how a film featuring a famous TV character could bomb. Films bomb at the box office either because of negative reviews from critics or insufficient marketing. But in the case of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, the reason is unknown. Perhaps it has something to do with which the filmmakers choose who gets to play who in the film. If a lad were selected to be Rocky, I guess the film might have been much more financially successful.
I loved this movie to pieces each of the 4 times I saw it in the
theater! Apparently not everybody was privileged to be born in 1955 and
spend a childhood marinating in the Cold War puns and snarky
anti-corporate digs of the original TV show. This movie brought it all
back; if you had nothing to be brought back to . . . well, it's your
loss. Renee Russo is fabulously snakey as Natasha, and tho' Rocket J.
Squirrel couldn't improve on the original, that's because he was voiced
by the original, the unsinkable June Foray. The only people who need to
apologize for this movie are its promoters, who never figured out how
to hook its natural audience of 40-somethings.
I can't wait for the remake of Fractured Fairy Tales.
I was really surprised at how much I liked this movie. R&B are brought
magically to life in the real world, and still have the same magic in their
camraderie. People complained that the puns were stupid and that the humor
was aimed at adults. Hello? That's exactly what made the original cartoon
R&B's observations on contemporary society are hilarious. The film also pokes fun at politicians, the legal system, and our addiction to TV, with a riotous sendup of "Cops".
The film is quite satisfying whenever R&B are onscreen. When it's just the human actors, things get a little dull. DeNiro, Alexander and Russo all are decent, but these performances would be criticized no matter who was playing them, with the possible exception of Jim Carrey. The best human performer is Piper Pirabo, a total hottie. She has been criticized for a bad performance, but I thought she did a great job.
It's not Oscar material, it won't gross $100 million, and it's not deep social commentary, but it sure is fun. Anybody with a sense of humor would be hard-pressed not to smile and feel good on the inside after seeing this. I just hope they make a sequel. Rocky & Bullwinkle forever!!!!
Why is this movie so bad? Why am I reading that people enjoyed this? It's embarrassing, the acting is awful, the script is even worse. This is a slap in the face to all of those who love Rocky and Bullwinkle. People are defending it, saying that it carries the same type of humor over from the TV show, and I'll have to agree, but it's not funny. It just doesn't work. So sad.
My Take: Yet another lame attempt to put animation into flesh-and-blood
"This is not a cartoon, this is the real world!", claims rookie FBI agent Karen Sympathy, played by Piper Perabo, and I wish I can say the same thing about THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULWINKLE. It has a big budget, which it spends on fancy cartoonish sets and other bizarre gimmicks, for what? To make it look like a cartoon! This results into a lot of things that we could prefer seeing in a Saturday morning cartoon. But as a movie, it's pretty hard to see why this was such a favorite cartoon during the early '60's. This is one of the most ineffective and unfunny movies I've seen in a while. And if your not convinced, lets move to to the casting. Lets see, Robert De Niro as Fearless Leader and Jason Alexander and Rene Russo as his bumbling minions. Okay, now your convinced.
The film uses the technique of putting animated characters in real-live settings and real actors. This was done many times since films in the 80's like WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT and, recently SPACE JAM. And like SPACE JAM, although not quite as bad, ROCKY AND BULWINKLE enjoys too much with the playfulness of its cartoon characters that they forget that they're making a feature film here. So, it has not much to tell and can't even afford to make jokes that really work.
The film is basically a cartoon on a live action movie (which is made just as cartoonish as the animated world). Animated evil mastermind Fearless Leader (De Niro) and his henchmen have crossed the boundaries of an animated world and arrive in our 4-dimensional world and start a TV company called RBTV, meaning "Really Bad Television" (how prophetic), and turn people to mindless drones with their horrible cable shows. The FBI sends a rookie agent (Perabo) to protect still-animated Rocky and Bulwinkle from being zapped, allowing the megalomaniac from ruling the world.
And as the story goes, the laughs and silliness get even worse. The film hardly made me laugh, and no head-hitting, car-crashing and any other mishap to change my mind about that. They should know they're making a motion picture here, not a an episode of Bugs and Daffy (which, at least, is better than this). Despite its budget, director Des McAnuff instead spends it on silly cartoonish gimmicks that, joined in with the corny laughs (if you'd call it laughs) and embarrassed leads, it can all be summed up in a 30 minute animated feature for TV, not an 88 minute film.
Still, I did find one thing that was quite bearable in this walking disaster waiting to happen, and that is the entertaining cameos. How many movies can you see well-known (and then well-known) talents like Whoppi Goldberg, John Goodman, Kenan (Thompson) and Kel (Mitchell) and Billy Crystal just to name a few. Their cameos thankfully lightens up my high criticism for the film, but that doesn't stop me from giving it a big thumbs down.
Still, I won't discourage you from letting the kids see it, for it's mainly made for them and they might be the only ones who'll enjoy it.
Rating: * out of 5.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Another relic from the "let's make a live-action movie from an old
cartoon" fad from decades ago. Better than most of the others, but it
still doesn't work, even with the decision to keep Rocky and Bullwinkle
as toons rather than use, say, people in animal costumes.
A full-fledged cartoon version would have been far better. The human actors don't fit in with their cartoon counterparts. Robert DeNiro certainly didn't fit the part of Fearless Leader (they should have given that role to Nicholas Cage, who had a more suitable physique). We could have done without "Nothing But A Dreamer" by Supertramp either (the cartoon didn't have music, other than the theme and some "dramatic effect" chords at times) This effectively spoiled the old cartoon atmosphere, and the story itself was meandering and ultimately boring and pointless. For the running time, they could have done so much more.
Intended for fans of the old cartoon, but probably won't satisfy most of them.
I remember watching the television show (on tape) of Rocky and Bullwinkle. It was one of the best TV shows ever in my childhood. This film brings back the memories of not only that TV show, but the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (combining animation and live action). This time, Rocky and Bullkwinkle leave their comic world existence and come into the real world to find the real live actors who played the bad guys- Natasha Fatale (Renee Russo), Boris Badenov (Jason Alexander), and in one of his best performances ever, Robert De Niro whp plays Fearless Leader (who knew De Niro could do a impression of himself from taxi driver). Great and funny entertainment, with many vintage things and cameos make this a must see for kids (who will like the characters, parents and adults (who will enjoy the 3 main bad guys) and film buffs. A+
Movies that aren't serious can be really fun, this one however is an
exception from that statement. I know it's supposed to be silly, to be
wacky and hilarious but it just doesn't do it for me. The green/blue
screen effects are extremely bad and throughout the movie I never felt
that the animated characters were "real". The puns in this movie was
over-used as well along with the bad script and I think that's what
destroyed it the most for me. Now don't get me wrong: an unserious
storyline can still make the watcher believe it by using the right
tools. But a script that bad made the storyline completely unbelievable
and breaking the fourth wall is something you should not over-use even
if you want the comedic effect to become stronger. Why is that? Because
breaking the fourth wall is a great way to make the audience get
shocked since the actors are breaking a rule there, which catches their
attention immediately. If you over-use this, however, the effect gets
worn off to the point where it just gets annoying.
In some shots there's some filming-errors as well such as too much headroom, unnecessary space where it's not needed since it doesn't provide any information, lack of contrast balance between the green/blue screen shots and the objects/people and etc. Perhaps something you don't think about too much, but can be extremely annoying if it constantly occurs. This is also the reason why it looks like a really really bad B- movie from the 80's personally. The acting overall was pretty okay, even though there were in some places in the movie where it was noticeable that the actors didn't really did their roles seriously which made it harder to believe the story.
All in all, a bad movie.
Although I've watched this movie several times when it was in theaters and now own a copy I really think it can be enjoyed only by those of us who were fans of the late 50's and early 60's television show. It's great to have our favorite cartoon duo back and they play well in spite of a rather boring script about villains trying to take over America by turning it's population into mindless zombies thru really bad television shows. June Forey is great as ever providing cartoon voices for Rocky and Natasha and Keith Scott does a great job voicing Bullwinkle. Jason Alexander, Rene Russo and Robert DeNiro do an ample job as Boris, Natasha and Fearless Leader. Also there is an all star supporting cast and several cameos. Even with it's flaws it should be enjoyed by most baby boomer's.
It looked like everyone (Rene Russo, Jason Alexander, Robert De Niro, Piper
Perabo, and numerous cameo appearances) had a great time making the movie.
They also knew that this movie should not be takes seriously. The movie
captured the essence of the "Rocky and Bullwinkle" TV series: the pratfalls,
the bad puns, etc. and, somehow, was able to maintain the funny pace for 88
I could waste my time watching movies with more ambition or seriousness but be very disappointed in what it tried to do. I think "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle" is a fun, unpretentious comedy that made me smile at the end and that's a good thing.
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