The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle
This high-tech update of the beloved Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon has none of the wit of the original.
Reviewed by Mike Emery, Fri., June 15, 2001
THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY & BULLWINKLE
D: Des McAnuff (2000); with Robert De Niro, Jason Alexander, Rene Russo, Randy Quaid, Piper Perabo.
Why do classic cartoon characters age so badly? Just like Bugs and Daffy in Space Jam, these great characters have gone from being funny animals to annoying caricatures with bad one-liners. After all, the original Rocky and Bullwinkle series had a wit that rarely insulted its audience. Unfortunately, this high-tech update falls flat after the first half-hour. The plot revolves around the duo's arch foes Fearless Leader (De Niro), Boris (Alexander) , and Natasha (Russo), who have escaped from the cartoon realm and entered the real world. Soon, Rocky and Bullwinkle are enlisted by the FBI to stop a fiendish plot involving the transmission of mind-numbing TV programming. Aided by the very obnoxious Karen Sympathy (Perabo), they embark on a trek around the country. Of course, they learn about the state of our 21st-century nation (Internet, student riots, rent-a-cars) and meet some special guest stars along the way (Jonathan Winters, Whoopi Goldberg). It's excruciating at times to watch because the film retains none of the sharp humor of the cartoon. Likewise, Bullwinkle's character is no longer a clueless observer. Now, he's just a sap who hams it up whenever possible. Some young viewers might be thrilled by this catastrophe, but parents should leave the room immediately. Or better yet, seek out any of the available animated adventures, which are far more entertaining.