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The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

Rated [PG], minutes
Starring Rene Russo, Jason Alexander and Robert De Niro; June Foray and Keith Scott as Moose and Squirrel
Screenplay by Kenneth Lonergan
Based on the characters created by Jay Ward
Directed by Des McAnuff

review by Paul Fischer. Cranky's review here.

The pride of Frostbite Falls and Whatsamatta U's most famous alumni find their way onto the big screen (and the real world) in this comedy inspired by the popular cartoon series. A year after their TV show is cancelled, Rocky the Flying Squirrel (voice of June Foray) and Bullwinkle J. Moose (voice of Keith Scott) are barely getting by on residual checks; they're wondering what to do next when Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro), the evil genius of Pottsylvania, transforms himself from a cartoon into a living, breathing, nasty human being. With the help of his newly flesh-and-blood henchmen Boris Badenov (Jason Alexander) and Natasha Fatale (Rene Russo), he plots to take over the world by using television to zombify people and then getting elected president. Can the daring flying squirrel and the well-meaning but not especially bright moose stop them?

You know that summer has hit north American theatres when the studios outdo each other with clever and gimmicky fare. While Rocky and Bullwinkle falls under that category, this is a kid's film for the baby boomers more than for its intended young audience. The trouble with the film, even the original TV series, is it's too witty to sustain interest by children, but then those of us who grew up on the 30-year old animated series, will see past the farcical silliness of the piece, and enjoy the comic repartee uttered by pun-struck Bullwinkle, one of animation's more endearing creations. Screenwriter Kenneth Lonergan has beautifully captured the essence of the moose and squirrel, voiced to perfection by June Foray and Aussie Keith Scott, while director Des McAnuff manages to keep the film moving with a combination of farce and wit. Visually, Rocky and Bullwinkle is striking, especially the 3d interpretation of our brazen heroes. The digital effects are clever and seamless and makes one aware of how far the digital revolution has come. One sequence which is breathtaking, is where Bullwinkle is emailed to a New York TV studio, and he zooms through the computer. This sequence alone is well worth the price of admission.

Rocky and Bullwinkle is a fun-filled zesty piece of engaging entertainment, wacky and silly as the original series. The movie works when these 2 characters are on screen, but flounders somewhat when renegaded to the human world of Fearless Leader (an amusingly self-parodying Robert de Niro). Whether the movie will be enjoyed by children remains to be seen, but their parents who remember the original, will enjoy its more satiric elements.

© 2000 Paul Fischer

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.