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The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

"The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle" on DVD

Puns Galore

Animation meets computer animation meets live action moviemaking in the latest Hollywood attempt to cash in on old TV series.

The movie starts out with conventional animation, albeit of better quality that on the original Rocky. Rocky and Bullwinkle have been living in Frostbite Falls, eking out a marginal existence on their dwindling residuals from the TV show.

Their lives take on new dimension, however - okay, the pun's intended - when they're whisked into the real world to fight Boris (Jason Alexander), Natasha (Rene Russo), and their Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro, believe it or not). The squirrel and his trusty moose sidekick become 3D computer animated figures as they're enlisted by FBI Agent Sympathy (Piper Perabo) to prevent Fearless Leader from taking over the United States by using TV to turn the American people into mindless zombies.

Ah, art imitating life…

Anyway, Fearless Leader dispatches Boris and Natasha to dispatch Rocky and Bullwinkle and, in trademark fashion, what follows is a pun-filled romp that does its very best to recapture the humorous and tongue in cheek writing of the original cartoon.

They sure mean well, and in a few cases they pull it off, but on the whole it comes across as a forced attempt that even De Niro can't save. And what the heck's he doing here anyway?

De Niro is also listed as one of the film's producers as well, so we guess he convinced himself to be in it.

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle is definitely not meant to be taken seriously, which is a fine thing.

Alexander and Russo don't have a lot to do in the movie, besides getting blown up or otherwise "injured" in a decidedly cartoon way. They could have learned their lines in an afternoon, such is the scarcity of the lingo from them.

We also wonder at the director's choice of using computerized versions of the original stars, while opting for live action actors for the villains. Now, granted, dressing up actors as a flying squirrel and a moose might be even more of a strain on one's credulity, but how about animatronic or computerized animals that actually look kind of like a real moose and a squirrel, rather than cartoon figures?

Whatever. In the grand scheme of things this is, after all, only Rocky and Bullwinkle…

Fans of the old show should give this disc a viewing, though we daresay they'll come away glad to have seen it, but disappointed in the overall.

The DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 16x9 compatible, and the audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS. Picture and sound are terrific.

There are also quite a few extras, including a "Spotlight on Location," trailer, production notes, cast/filmmaker info, and a plethora of DVD ROM features.

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, from Universal Home Video
92 min., Widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 TV compatible, Dolby Digital and DTS
Starring Rocky and Bullwinkle, Robert De Niro, Jason Alexander, Rene Russo, and Piper Perabo
Produced by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro
Written by Kenneth Lonergan, Directed by Des McAnuf.


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Updated May 13, 2006