Making the Grades
A few years ago, while watching television, I stumbled upon the old Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. I never cared for it when I was young, but now that I could understand the political humor and puns, the five-minute cartoon featuring the dumbfounded moose and flying squirrel was a whole new experience. Could they be this funny in a movie?
Opening in the stark animated world of Frostbite Falls, Rocky (voiced by Rocky's original talent, June Foray) and Bullwinkle (Keith Scott) have been stuck in re-runs for thirty years. When their long-time cold war enemies Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro who, surprisingly, produced this movie), Natasha (Rene Russo) and Boris (Jason Alexander) manage to break out of animation and into reality, the troublesome trio unleashes their plan to take over the U.S. by building a hypnotizing television empire.
A few moments of watching their network, RBTV (RB for "Real Bad"), turns anyone's mind into vegetable matter. Karen Sympathy (Piper Perabo), the sweet FBI agent assigned to the case, has only one answer: Bring Rocky and Bullwinkle into the picture so they can save the day.
Parents who enjoyed the late Jay Ward's original series (still in reruns on the U.S. Cartoon Network and Canada's YTV) will likely find the adaptation of the rustic cartoon into live action amusing--at least for the first half-hour. Unlike the television series, the movie includes one minor profanity and occasional terms of Deity used as expletives. Another concern may be Agent Sympathy's occasional dishonest behavior (although Rocky and Bullwinkle make a point of correcting her on this matter).
Chock full of cameos by many notables including Jonathan Winters, and Whoopie Goldberg (who plays Judge Cameo in a courtroom scene), the dry humor in the pun infested script ("Can you rappel, Bullwinkle?" Bullwinkle: "I've been repelling viewers for years!"), will likely fly higher than Rocky the Squirrel over young audience member's heads. There are a few funny moments for adults--at least five minutes worth--leaving me to believe this Moose and Squirrel work best on the small screen.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle.
Fearless Leader wanted to take over the United States by using television to hypnotize people into voting for him. While we may not be hypnotized by television, how has television been used as a political tool?