My Big Bad Rocky And Bullwinkle Page

When I was a kid we sometimes saw the Rocky And Bullwinkle show on TV, but not all that often. At some point, my brother was deeply immersed in it and loved it a lot, but I never really got into it.

Somehow I got interested in trying it out on my 12-year-old, and we watched it – it was so hilarious! So now I’m committed to watching the full five seasons. Sure, the episodes are moronic and can be a bit trying, with plenty of repetition, but the puns are delightfully bad, and the seasons’ bonus features are all always top notch!

I was also surprised to see the Robert DeNiro feature film a lot better than I had expected. Love it!!



The Adventures of Rocky And Bullwinkle – I’ve never heard anything positive about this film, and – by default – I thought that probably meant it was just as awful/cheezy as cartoon-to-live film adaptations nearly always are.

Happily, I was totally mistaken – it is much, much cheesier!!

The film has a great structure, a great screenplay, decent casting, fantastic self-referential- and in-jokes, and is just fun from end-to-end. And cameos!! Rocky and Bullwinkle also look and sound pretty good – the voice of Rocky (but not Natascha, obviously, since Rene Russo plays that character) is by June Foray, who did the original voice of Rocky; but new voices were found for Bullwinkle and the Narrator, whose original voice actors had passed away in 1994 and 1985 respectively. The new voice of Bullwinkle is okay, perhaps a bit higher in pitch than the original; this is unfortunate, given how important that goofy voice is to any Rocky & Bullwinkle story (and how easy it is to imitate Bullwinkle), but that’s the only negative point in an otherwise excellent adaptation. The narrator, for example, is tops, and we even get a little bonus feature when we get to see how he’s spent the last 35 years!

The opening ironic animated sequence is probably funnier than any of the original animated shows (which I love, so I don’t say something like this lightly), summing up 35 years of retirement for our two chums. The screwball plot involves evil dictators who become studio moguls so that they can turn the people of the world into zombies by subjecting them to really bad television (RBTV) through inane shows like “Three spies and a horse who is also a spy” (everyone, including the horse, wear shades – there’s a Dudley Do-Right reference here as well, given that they’re riding the horse backwards). Funny visual pun about a mole in the white house, another about the “green light” for the film project (hilarious). Minnie Mogul in a Hollywood studio shredding scripts that are “too intelligent”. Robert De Niro plays Fearless Leader, and there’s a great scene of him boogying with Boris and Natascha to “Secret Agent Man” (Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo did the soundtrack, and this is one of the songs the band covered). He also (awkwardly) parodies his own “are you talking to me?” speech from Taxi Driver. Later in the film our evil trio sings a great Pottsylvanian national anthem with some pretty funny lyrics (“land of the black and the blue”). Great Roger Rabbit reference, and a funny “you like me, you really like me” reference to Sally Field. Love Bullwinkle’s inane speech at Watsamatta U, his alma mater in DeBitter Ind. Radio Shed. Thirty cop cars peal out after Agent Sympathy. “Yeah, right – and I’m John Goodman.” He is! Don Novello playing twins that say “Mama mia, it’s Rocky & Bullwinkle!” “Celebrities are above the law!” “Gosh, another weird coincidence.” The Statue of Liberty in a scene as Supertramp’s “Dreamer” plays… and you really don’t hear a lot of Supertramp these days… The good guys get turned into vegetables, literally, and one of them even becomes a flaming carrot! Bullwinkle surfs the “information super-highway” (who uses that term any more?!?!) for some unintentional humor at last, and we look on lovingly as the TV station’s name changes from Really Bad TV to Rocky & Bullwinkle TV.

Piper Perabo plays Karen Sympathy, a goofy FBI agent, who’s the only real new character in the show other than a few anonymous cameos (Randy Quaid as her boss, for example, John Goodman as a cop, Jonathan Winter in several roles, Whoopi Goldberg as a star-struck judge, and others. Jon Shapiro has a cameo in the film as well, making that two The Big Leboswki alumni to appear n the film (alongside Goodman). Wow!

The DVD comes with a featurette that mostly sets up the plot, and brags about how it will appeal to all demographics (even teenage boys, who’ll like Piper Perabo). The film came out in 2000, but they’d been trying to make it since 1992, through series creator Jay Ward’s daughter (?) Tiffany Ward. Rene Russo and Jason Alexander talk (ironic, since Alexander disowned the film); Alexander claims he was born to play Boris and praised the silliness of the film, Russo praised Alexander, they replay the brilliant “little Boris and Natascha” scene when Natascha shows her motherly instincts… “saved by the bell.” At the end, Bill Scott demonstrates how he voiced Bullwinkle. Not bad.

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