The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle is better than Dudley Do-Right, but that didn’t keep it from bombing at the box-office. From the late 90’s to the early 2000’s there was an unusual fascination with Jay Ward cartoon adaptations. Most of which originated from The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends cartoon. My parents watched the show, but my brother and I were clueless when we saw it in theaters. Although I was 5, we enjoyed the movie enough to keep watching it on VHS. Rocky and Bullwinkle is a guilty pleasure for me despite its reputation and out of the box plot. A plot that frankly honors the nature of the original show. Rocky and Bullwinkle may star an anthropomorphic moose and flying squirrel, but it’s actually quite sophisticated with political themes and real world parallels.
So it only made sense for Rocky J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose to enter the real world as cartoon characters. Giving the movie an extremely meta angle where they interact with the narrator, point out plot holes, and call attention to celebrity cameos. Including Randy Quaid, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Janeane Garofalo, John Goodman, and even Kenan Thompson & Kel Mitchell. Even with its modern spin, the movie respects the classics enough to keep June Foray as Rocky. Keith Scott does an admirable job replacing Bill Scott as Bullwinkle. They’re struggling cartoon characters sent to New York in order to stop their archenemies.
Rocky deals with regaining his flight and Bullwinkle is mostly concerned with getting to Washington. Piper Perabo keeps Rocky and Bullwinkle on the right path as original FBI agent Karen Sympathy. A more comical Robert De Niro is forced to recreate his Taxi Driver line as the ruthless Pottsylvanian Fearless Leader. While he’s busy trying to take over the world through television, Boris and Natasha are trying to kill Moose and Squirrel. Jason Alexander and Rene Russo are mostly good as live-action cartoons. The Who Framed Roger Rabbit similarities are made very apparent. The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle isn’t always smart, but it may reach any audience that gives it a chance.