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The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (also the stylished as TAORAB) is a 2000 American live-action/Animated computed adventure comedy film produced by Universal Studios, based on the television cartoon The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show by Jay Ward. The film is directed by Mr Des McAnuff with written by Kenneth Lonergan. The animated characters Rocky and Bullwinkle shared the screen with live actors portraying Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro), Boris Badenov (Jason Alexander), Natasha Fatale (Rene Russo), and FBI agent Karen Sympathy (Piper Perabo). June Foray reprised her role as Rocky, whilst Keith Scott voices Bullwinkle and the film's narrator.

This film is also notable for its ensemble cast featuring guest appearances by Billy Crystal, Janeane Garofalo, Whoopi Goldberg, John Goodman, David Allen Grier, Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Don Novello, Jon Polito, Carl Reiner, and Jonathan Winters, along with many fourth wall breakages.

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle was released in theatrical released on June 30, 2000 and the third film in four years to have been a Jay Ward cartoon adaptation (George of the Jungle (1997) and Dudley Do-Right (1999) having preceded it). It was a box office bomb, grossing over $35,143,820 on a budget is $76 million and it was mixed-to-negative feedback for its overrated children film and criticisms toward its writing, plot, and humor while praising the performances, visual effects, and faithfulness to its source material.

Plot

1964 saw the cancellation of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and life became rather miserable and melancholy for Rocket "Rocky" J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose. Their home, Frostbite Falls, has been destroyed in deforestation, Rocky has lost his ability to fly, and the show's unseen Narrator lives with his mother, spending his time narrating everything that she does. Bullwinkle and Rocky head out to address the President of the United States regarding their situation, but are stopped for six months by red tape. Meanwhile, their enemies, Fearless Leader, Boris Badenov, and Natasha Fatale lose power over Pottsylvania and dig to a Hollywood film studio where they convince an executive, Minnie Mogul, to sign a contract giving her rights to the show, and the villains are transformed from their two-dimensional cel animation origins, and become live-action characters. FBI agent Karen Sympathy and her boss, Cappy von Trapment, inform President Signoff that Fearless Leader intends to make himself the President by brainwashing the American public with his cable television network, "RBTV" or "Really Bad Television", with virtually nothing but mediocre spy film-based programming on the air. Karen is sent to a special lighthouse to bring Rocky and Bullwinkle to the real world. She succeeds, the Narrator being brought along as well but never being physically seen.

Fearless Leader is informed of Rocky and Bullwinkle's return and sends Boris and Natasha to destroy them. The two take a laptop with them called the CDI (standing for Computer Degenerating Imagery) which can specifically destroy CGI-animated cartoon characters, and send them to the Internet. Karen manages to steal their truck after they drive her car off a cliff, but she is then arrested by the Oklahoma state police when Natasha claims to be Karen. Natasha and Boris steal a helicopter to pursue Rocky and Bullwinkle. Rocky and Bullwinkle are given a ride by "Martin and Lewis", two students at Bullwinkle's old university, Wossamotta U. Boris and Natasha get there first, and make a large donation to the university in Bullwinkle's name. In return, the head of the university gives Bullwinkle an honorary "Mooster's Degree", and Bullwinkle addresses the student body, whilst Boris attempts to kill him with the CDI upon the water tower which they built in the park. Rocky recovers his lost ability to fly and saves the oblivious Bullwinkle. Martin and Lewis lend the two their car, but Bullwinkle goes on a wild ride through Chicago. Boris and Natasha once again attempt to kill the two but instead destroy their helicopter. Karen escapes prison with help from a love-struck Swedish guard named Ole.

Karen, Rocky, and Bullwinkle are reunited but then arrested and put on trial, where Bullwinkle's dimwittedness takes over him and he becomes extremely rude to Karen. However, the presiding Judge Cameo dismisses their case upon recognizing Rocky and Bullwinkle, stating that celebrities are above the law. The three then obtain an old biplane from a man named Old Jeb, and escape Boris and Natasha again. The evil duo consider quitting their evil occupations and getting married, but then Fearless Leader calls on the phone. Afraid to admit they failed, they lie to Fearless Leader that they killed Rocky and Bullwinkle. Meanwhile, the plane the heroes fly in is unable to fly with all three aboard. Rocky flies Karen to New York City to stop Fearless Leader, while Bullwinkle flies the plane to Washington, D.C. and lands at the White House. The villains capture Karen and Rocky, whilst Cappy e-mails Bullwinkle to RBTV's headquarters to free them. A battle follows, with the heroes winning and convincing the American public to vote for whoever they want but to replant Frostbite Falls' trees. Bullwinkle fiddles with the CDI and inadvertently zaps the villains back to their two-dimensional cartoon forms, and ultimately to the internet. At the film's end, RBTV becomes "Rocky and Bullwinkle Television" and Karen dates Ole to see the Rocky and Bullwinkle movie. Returning to Frostbite Falls, the narrator reunites with his mother, the trees are replanted, and Rocky ends the movie by flying through the air.

Cast

  • June Foray as the voice of Rocky, animated Natasha Fatale and Narrator's Mother
  • Keith Scott as the voice of Bullwinkle, animated Fearless Leader, animated Boris Badenov, The Narrator and RBTV Announcer
  • Piper Perabo as Karen Sympathy
    • Julia McAnuff as young Karen
  • Jason Alexander as Boris Badenov
  • Rene Russo as Natasha Fatale
  • Robert De Niro as Fearless Leader
  • Randy Quaid as Cappy "Frank" von Trapment
  • Paget Brewster as Jenny Spy
  • Janeane Garofalo as Minnie Mogul
  • Carl Reiner as P.G. Biggershot
  • Jonathan Winters as Whoppa Chopper Pilot, Ohio Cop with Bullhorn, Old Jeb
  • John Goodman as Oklahoma State Trooper
  • John Brandon as General Admission
  • Kenan Thompson as Lewis
  • Kel Mitchell as Martin
  • James Rebhorn as President Signoff
  • David Alan Grier as Measures
  • Ed Gale as The Mole
  • Lily Nicksay as Sydney
  • Jon Polito as Schoentell
  • Don Novello as Fruit Vendor Twins
  • Victor Raider-Wexler as Igor
  • Phil Proctor as RBTV floor director
  • Dian Bachar as RBTV Studio Technician/Scientist
  • Drena De Niro as RBTV Lackey
  • Jeffrey Ross as District Attorney
  • Wesley Mann as Clerk
  • Rod Biermann as Ole
    • Adam Miller as young Ole
  • Harrison Young as General Foods
  • Max Grodénchik and Eugene Alper as Horse Spies
  • Alexis Thorpe as Supermodel
  • Taraji P. Henson as Left-Wing Student
  • Norman Lloyd as Wossamotta U. President
  • Mark Holton as FBI Agent - Potato
  • Doug Jones as FBI Agent - Carrot
  • Arvie Lowe Jr. as Sharp-Eyed Student
  • Susan Berman as Weasel
  • Chip Chinery and Ellis E. Williams as Security guards
  • Elwood Edwards (uncredited) as "You've got mail" (voice)
  • Whoopi Goldberg (uncredited) as Judge Cameo
  • Billy Crystal (uncredited) as Mattress salesman

Reception

Box Office

Rocky & Bullwinkle opened in 2,460 venues, earning $6,814,270 in its opening weekend and ranking fifth in the North American box office and third among the week's new releases. It closed on October 5, 2000 with a domestic total of $26,005,820 and $9,129,000 in other territories for a worldwide gross of $35,134,820, making it a box office bomb.

The failure of the film was attributed to the film not being fresh enough for young audiences or appealing to the nostalgia of Baby boomers.

Critical Reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 43% based on 100 reviews, with an average rating of 4.81/10. The critical consensus stated, "Though the film stays true to the nature of the original cartoon, the script is disappointing and not funny." On Metacritic the film has a score of 36 out of 100 based on reviews from 30 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B" on scale of A to F.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it 3 out of 4 stars and wrote: "Has the same mixture of dumb puns, corny sight gags and sly, even sophisticated in-jokes. It's a lot of fun."

Awards

Award Category Subject Result
Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst Resurrection of a TV Show Universal Pictures Nominated
Worst Supporting Actress Rene Russo Nominated
Golden Raspberry Award Worst Supporting Actress Nominated
Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Jason Alexander Nominated

Home Media

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle was released on VHS and DVD on February 13, 2001, and on Blu-ray on May 15, 2018.

See Also

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