A Live-Action Adaptation of the animated series, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle from 2000 is a mix of animation and live-action starring the famous moose and squirrel (voiced by Keith Scott and June Foray respectively) and their enemies, Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro), Boris Badenov (Jason Alexander), and Natasha Fatale (Rene Russo).
In this film, Rocky and Bullwinkle's home of Frostbite Falls has fallen into ruin from years of their show's reruns, while the three villains find a way into the real world and plot to take over America with a cable TV station that brainwashes the viewers. To save the country, FBI agent Karen Sympathy (Piper Perabo) brings the moose and squirrel to the real world and they journey across the country to stop the fiends and save the people of America.
The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle provides examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming:Cappy: Bullwinkle, Allow me to be frank.
Bullwinkle: Okay Frank, allow me to be Bullwinkle.
Cappy: I'm Cappy Von Trapment, FBI.
Bullwinkle: I thought you said your name was Frank.
Cappy: Shut up, Bullwinkle!
Bullwinkle: Okay Frank.
- Action Girl: Karen, who takes down Boris and Natasha during the climax.
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The normally peppy Rocky is suspiciously - and surprisingly - more downbeat in this movie, to the point where The Nostalgia Critic recommended to him "that creepy shit from We Happy Few." Justified, as he and Bullwinkle were forced to live on diminishing residual checks for 35 years since the cancellation of their show.
- Almost Kiss: After Natasha explains her vision for a quiet life to Boris, they're about to give a wet one until Fearless Leader's phone call interrupts it.
- Amplifier Artifact: The plot device central to the villains' plans is the Quality Control Machine, which magnifies the qualities of any media run through it. With it, they modify already bad shows into programs so mind-numbing they'll mesmerize viewers into doing whatever they're ordered.
- And I Must Scream: The three FBI agents (and later Karen and Rocky) subjected to RBTV and turning into literal vegetables, with their screams for help muffled.
- And I'm the Queen of Sheba: Parodied:Rocky: But she really is with the FBI!
Oklahoma Cop: Yeah, and I'm really John Goodman.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: When Fearless Leader turns on a giant TV in front of them, Rocky fails to look away in time and gets zombified.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: After the villains' defeat, everyone, even the Pottsylvanian underlings, celebrate their demise.
- Animation Bump: While still keeping the simplistic design and colors, the animated sequences look far more professional and fluid than the original show.
- Are You Sure You Can Drive This Thing?: Bullwinkle is asked a question of this type by one of the college students after the pair gives Rocky and Bullwinkle their car. It's a valid concern.
- Artistic License Law: "Celebrities are above the law." Yeah, tell that to Wesley Snipesnote and Lindsay Lohan.note Hell, tell that to the family of Fatty Arbuckle.note Granted, it seems to be a Take That! aimed to celebrities who actually believe that, but in the world of the film it's literally part of the penal code.
- As Himself: See the Trope Image.
- Award-Bait Song: Through the Eyes of a Child by Lisa McClowry is oddly melancholic for a film like this. But it does fit the movie's moral.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: Courtesy of Fearless Leader: "Well, Agent Sympathy. I have waited many years to face an enemy I could respect... and I'm still waiting!"
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: As is typical for the franchise.
- Brick Joke: The cartoon ferret that got subjected to the CDI is later seen when Bullwinkle is surfing the Internet. Also, the occasional cuts to the prison guard that Karen abandoned at the movie theater halfway through the film as he waits for her to park his truck (It's explicitly mentioned that this guy is even thicker than Bullwinkle).
- Brought Down to Normal: Rocky can't fly after entering the real world. He gets better.
- Cassandra Truth: When Karen is falsely arrested, the heroes' insistence that she is an FBI agent goes unbelieved.
- Chekhov's Gag: Bullwinkle's antlers picking up radio waves proves very useful in the climax.
- Chekhov's Lecture: Martin and Lewis's explanation of e-mail comes up again when Bullwinkle has to get from Washington to New York to save Rocky and Karen. Not that he actually remembers what they told him.
- Circling Birdies: Boris has these after the CDI falls on his head. Note that this happens in the middle of Bullwinkle rambling about birds losing their homes to deforestation.
- Cold Equation: Realizing the plane can't hold their weight, Rocky gain the confidence to fly again and carries Karen to New York while Bullwinkle redirects to Washington, DC.
- Continuity Nod: A few, mostly related to the animated series (as much as you can for a show that has no continuity whatsoever). The most notable is Bullwinkle's Immune to Mind Control; a similar device was used in one of the cartoon's story arcs.
- Contrived Coincidence: Several of these, usually lampshaded by the narrator or someone else. Karen's reunion with Rocky and Bullwinkle in Ohio is a standout.
- Cyberspace: Bullwinkle surfs the net near the conclusion.
- Da Chief: Cappy Von Trapment, Karen's FBI superior. He's abrasive to her when sending her off, bringing up her bungled assignments in the past, but he praises her after the day is saved, in his own way. When she questions why she was given the mission, since she's "clearly not FBI material", he replies, "FBI material is what gets the job done, Miss Sympathy. If you needed an agent to work with a cartoon moose and squirrel, who would you send? Someone tough, hard-boiled and cynical? Or one of those soft, squishy, lovey-dovey, idealistic types?"
- Darkest Hour: Fearless Leader has zombified most of the country and Rocky and Karen are held captive.Narrator: And so, Rocky and Karen's only hope in the whole wide world, was Bullwinkle J. Moose. In other words, they didn't have a prayer.
- The Ditz: Bullwinkle, as usual.
- Drives Like Crazy: Bullwinkle, who crashes Martin and Lewis's car into a wall immediately after assuring them can he can drive it. "Never said I could drive it well."
- Later in the movie, he also ends up at the controls of a plane. He flies about as well as he drives. (His sense of direction is also, shall we say, lacking.)
- Everyone Has Standards: Subverted:Minnie: I can't sign a contract that will help three evil villains take over the world. I just can't.
Villains: Why not?
Minnie: My pen's out of ink.
- The Faceless: The narrator.
- Failed Attempt at Drama: Boris and Natasha set off from New York with the CDI to catch Rocky and Bullwinkle... and immediately get stuck in traffic.
- Failure Hero: Bullwinkle, as usual. And we love him for it.
- Fangirl: Karen is a huge fan of Rocky and Bullwinkle. As is Judge Cameo.
- Fantastic Racism: Rocky and Bullwinkle arrive at Wossamotta U. in the middle of an anti-Moose march, in response to Bullwinkle being given an honorary Moosters degree. Bullwinkle manages to defuse it with his incomprehensible lecture on trees.
- A Fool for a Client: Bullwinkle represents himself, Rocky and Karen in court. He then proceeds to examine Karen as if he was prosecuting her.
- Genki Girl: Karen, as much as she tries to restrain it around her superiors. She eventually finds out this was why she was assigned to this case in the first place.
- Ghost in the Machine:
Bullwinkle: Hey, there's something in your eye!
- Karen's inner child located inside her eye, which becomes a Running Gag.
Karen: No there's not! (rubs at her eye, pushing her inner child over backward.)
- The Swedish prison guard she falls in love with has one too. At one point, the two children wave to each other at a distance.
- Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: Within minutes of being given the college students' car, Bullwinkle puts it in drive while trying to back out of a parking space. It doesn't get better from there.
- Hair-Trigger Sound Effect: there's a handsome-but-not-particularly-bright security guard. There's an Audible Gleam every time he smiles.
- Hoist by Their Own Petard: Boris attempts to use the CDI on the heroes while chasing them in Chicago. He does this inside their helicopter, destroying it.Natasha: I think you degenerated wrong special effects.
- And in the climax, the villains are defeated when Bullwinkle accidentally activates the CDI while trying to send an e-mail to "Frank".
- Hurricane of Puns: Several scenes, but in particular:Rocky: We don't have time to get to Washington.
Bullwinkle: This is no time to worry about getting the washing done.
Rocky: Not "washing done", Washington!
Bullwinkle: A ton? Well, that is a lot of laundry.
Rocky: Bullwinkle, that joke just won't wash.
Bullwinkle: Well, you can't blame me for drying.
- I've Heard of That What Is It?: When the villains approach Minnie Mogul about buying the rights to Rocky and Bullwinkle, she replies, "I'd love to. I love it. What is it?"
- Immune to Mind Control: Bullwinkle can't be hypnotized because he's just so thick-headed that he doesn't register the hypnotic effect. At least, that's what the narrator says.
- Inner Monologue: Near the end, Karen has an argument with her inner child, which causes Rocky to ask who is she talking to.
- Insult BackfireKaren: Boris Badenov. I've seen you on TV. You're a crooked, creepy, no-good rotten worm.
Boris: Oh, thank you.
Karen: You're slimy, sneaky, sleazy...
Boris: Please. You're turning my pretty head.
Karen: You're a sadistic spy and a... (snuffs out the cannon fuse while he's distracted) really, really bad person.
Boris: Stop. You're embarrassing me.
- Of course, given Karen's Genre Savvy, it's entirely possible she's doing it on purpose, since the speech is ultimately just a distraction anyway.
- Interactive Narrator: It wouldn't be a Rocky & Bullwinkle movie without him. At the start of the movie, he's been forced to move in with his mother and narrate his own life, which gets on her nerves.Narrator: With a speed and dexterity astonishing in a woman of her advancing years, Mother bastes the chicken, tosses the salad and mashes the potatoes!
Mother: Oh Sonny, shut up! (throws frying pan at him.)
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The weasel that gets killed seems awfully similar to Judge Doom's henchmen. Of course, he's introduced just after a lampshading that Roger Rabbit already depicted a method to destroy cartoons.
- Left the Background Music On: In the first present-day scene of Rocky and Bullwinkle, they're looking over old photographs with melancholy music in the background. As it starts skipping, pan left to reveal a record player, which Bullwinkle then turns off.
- In two scenes, "Dreamer" is Rocky's.
- The movie also has two more proper examples: the melody of the show's main theme is weaved into the score, and another tune appears during quieter scenes (such as the above-mentioned instance of Left the Background Music On); the latter inspired the Award-Bait Song "Through the Eyes of a Child".
- List of Transgressions / The Long List: Karen, Rocky, and Bullwinkle are charged with one count of grand theft auto, one count of breaking out of jail, one count of impugning the character of a prison guard, four counts of reckless driving, five counts of talking to the audience and eighteen counts of bad puns.Bullwinkle: And three dukes and seven earls.
Judge Cameo: Make that nineteen.
- Literal-Minded: When Boris is trying to operate the CDI, he's told to "press any key to continue". Naturally, he can't find the "any" key, giving Rocky time to stop him.
- Long Title: One of the Show Within a Show titles is Three Funny and Wacky Spies And Their Horse Who Will Also Be A Spy.
- Meaningful Rename: Really Bad TeleVision is renamed Rocky and Bullwinkle TeleVision at the end.
- Medium Awareness: While escaping from the Green Lighthouse, Bullwinkle exclaims, "I know! Let's go to a commercial!" When none happens, Bullwinkle mutters, "What is this, PBS?!"
- Minion Shipping: Boris and Natasha get some of this when they begin to question their life mission. They are later seen in a jacuzzi together while on the flight back to New York.
- The Mole: A literal one, feeding information from the White House about FBI activities to Fearless Leader, including the decision to send Rocky and Bullwinkle.
- Mood Whiplash: The ending credits, of all things, goes from the catchy as hell "Be Ya Self" to the deep, surprisingly bittersweet "Through the Eyes of a Child".
- Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers had Bullwinkle saying things like "Wassup" and "I'd like to use one of my lifelines please." He never says those in the film.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: The villains using their deal with Minnie Mogul to get to the real world is what allows Karen to summon Rocky and Bullwinkle via the Phony Pictures Studio Green Lighthouse.
- No Fourth Wall
- No One Gets Left Behind: After Karen gets arrested for stealing the truck and impersonating herself, Bullwinkle insists to the cops that they come with her. "Wherever she goes, we go!" He changes his tune when he's told she's going to the federal prison to break rocks for five years (without a trial, apparently). "Okay, well, don't forget to write."
- I Will Only Slow You Down: For her part, Karen insists that they focus on getting to New York by 8pm tomorrow, and she'll catch up with them later.
- Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: Natasha uses this to justify lying to Fearless Leader that Moose and Squirrel are dead, believing they won't be able to get to New York in time. Fearless Leader himself says it right before Karen walks in. And again after they've been captured, while Bullwinkle is still unaccounted for.
- Oh, Crap!: "Fearless Leader, MOOSE IS LOOSE!"
- Pixellation: When the sheriff pulls over Karen, Rocky and Bullwinkle, both Rocky and Bullwinkle's faces become blurred a la COPS. They immediately notice it and have to tell the cameraman to turn it off when the police leave.
- Political Correctness Gone Mad: Since no one can figure out what the heck Bullwinkle says during his speech at Wossamotta U., no one is offended.
- Pragmatic Hero: Karen, who is not above lying and stealing - whether from the villains or from naive prison guards - if it means completing her mission. She gets called on it by Rocky at one point and it gets her arrested twice. She does at least fulfill her promise to the prison guard at the end.
- Precision F-Strike: Well, precision D-strike anyway — from the narrator, when Boris and Natasha somehow run across a helicopter (with the keys in the ignition) right after he pointed out that there's no logical way they could ever find one in the middle of the desert.Narrator: Oh, damn. Never mind.
Farmer: Oh, God. Oh, crap!
- Later on, the farmer, who gives the trio a plane to get to New York, hadn't told them that it won't hold all of them.
- Done right in the French dub of the film, however, where the Narrator accurately says "Et merde".
- Pun: It gets to where eventually the group is charged with "criminally bad punning". 18 counts, to be exact — until Bullwinkle suggests three dukes and seven earls might also be involved, at which point the judge amends it to nineteen.
- Punny Name: Karen Sympathy ("Care and sympathy").
- Reaching Through the Fourth Wall: Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale, and Fearless Leader all turn into real-life humans when accidentally pulled out of a TV by a Hollywood film executive. Rocky and Bullwinkle, however, stay as animated 3D models.
- Real World Episode
- Reality Ensues: When Boris steps away from the water tower to catch the CDI, he remembers that he's not a cartoon anymore. Kinda subverted in that he still has enough time to say that aloud before he starts to fall, much the way a cartoon character would.
- Retired Monster: Natasha considers going this route after so many failures to kill Moose and Squirrel, intending to live a quiet seaside life with Boris and teaching their non-existent children to lie, cheat, and be rotten. A phonecall from Fearless Leader prevents this from going any further.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: After Fearless Leader learns that Moose and Squirrel have followed them to this world.Fearless Leader: How many times in the past have they stood between me and my dreams of glory? How many times have they foiled my plans with their bungling interference?
Boris: Er... 28?
Fearless Leader: Quiet, idiot!
- Repeat After Me: When Fearless Leader introduces the Quality Control machine, crucial to his Evil Plan to brainwash the country with his mind-numbing TV programs:Fearless Leader: We are ready to test the machine!
Boris: Ready to test machine!
Fearless Leader: Put on your protective glasses! (switches monocle with said glasses)
Boris: Put on protective glasses!
(everyone in the room puts on their glasses)
Fearless Leader: Badenov, proceed with the test!
Boris: Badenov, proceed with test! (makes a cheeky grin, while Natasha just glares as if she were saying "Really, darling?")
Fearless Leader: (to himself) Sometimes it's not so easy being Fearless Leader.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Cappy Von Trapment, the hard-boiled head of the FBI who sends Karen on her mission to work with Rocky and Bullwinkle and stop Fearless Leader.
- Ridiculously Fast Construction: Boris plans to ambush Bullwinkle at Wossamotta U by sniping him with the CDI from the water tower. When they learn that Wossamotta U doesn't have a water tower, they proceed to build one overnight.
- Road Trip Plot: Most of the movie involves our heroes trying to get from Los Angeles to New York. Lampshaded by Bullwinkle, who points out that even though they're in a hurry if they took an airplane or anything quicker it wouldn't be a road movie. - though they do ultimately take one.
- Roger Rabbit Effect:
- A CGI Rocky and Bullwinkle interacting with live people.
- The same goes for a traditionally animated test subject for the CDI.
- The trope namer is briefly referenced.Fearless Leader: There has never been a way to actually destroy a cartoon character until now.
Spy: What about that movie Roger Rabbit?
Fearless Leader: SHUT UP! This is totally different!
- Sacrificial Lamb: The animated weasel who Sydney demonstrates the CDI on. He does appear alive in the Cyberspace scene, but it's unlikely he's capable of coming back to the real world the way Bullwinkle does.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Famous!: Played for Laughs when the judge proclaimed that "celebrities are above the law" when she found out she met Rocky and Bullwinkle.
- Self-Deprecation: All over the place.
- This example, that also crosses with Medium Awareness:Narrator: Even their wordplay had become hackneyed and cheap.
Bullwinkle: No, it was always like this.
- Later:Karen: Your jokes have gotten really corny.
Bullwinkle: No they haven't, they were always that bad. When you were a kid, you didn't notice.
- Then:Narrator: Then, RBTV was changed from Really Bad TV to Rocky and Bullwinkle TV!
Bullwinkle: What's the difference?
- While preparing to abseil down the Green Lighthouse:Karen: Bullwinkle, can you rappel?
Bullwinkle: Sure! I've been repelling viewers for years!
Karen: Never mind.
- Earlier, after Minnie Mogul signs the contract from Fearless Leader, giving her all rights to the Rocky and Bullwinkle franchise, the studio CEO, P.G. Biggershot, rejects her pitch for the movie simply because:Biggershot: I don't like moose pictures!
- This example, that also crosses with Medium Awareness:
- Stylistic Suck: The shows Boris, Natasha and Fearless Leader come up with to show on Really Bad Television to turn their viewers into vegetables, all of which are somehow spy themed. ''Three Funny and Wacky Spies and Their Horse Who Will Also Be a Spy" actually sounds better than some programs that have made it on TV in real life.
- Squashed Flat: Rocky and Bullwinkle after getting run over by a bus they were trying to flag down.Bullwinkle: This movie's gettin' kind of...
Rocky: Don't say it.
- Sustained Misunderstanding: During the argument over the stolen truck:Bullwinkle: Rocky's right Karen. And two rights don't make a wrong.
Rocky: Bullwinkle, that's not what you mean.
Bullwinkle: You mean two rights do make a wrong?
Bullwinkle: I always thought two rights made a U-turn.
Karen: I don't know how much more of this I can take.
Bullwinkle: Well, let's find out. Two U-turns make a circle, Two circles make a figure eight, two figure eights make a butterfly...
- Take That!: Karen, Rocky and Bullwinkle's charges are dropped because the penal code states that celebrities are above the law.
- Tempting Fate:Karen: If there's one thing I learned in the FBI, it's that life is not a cartoon.
[cue safe falling overhead]
Boris: If only we had a helicopter.
- Happens to the narrator a few scenes later:
Narrator: But since they were in the middle of the desert, there was obviously no chance whatsoever of finding a helicopter.
Natasha: (gasps) Boris, look! (cut to a helicopter)
Narrator: Oh, damn. Never mind.
Narrator: Yes, Boris and Natasha were back in business. But they had no way of discovering the route our heroes had taken and- (Natasha grabs the map from the front of the screen) Hey! You can't do that!
- Immediately after they steal the helicopter:
Natasha: Interstate 1, just outside Red Bait, Oklahoma, darling.
Boris/Natasha: Thank you.
- That Liar Lies: When Fearless Leader calls Boris and Natasha after their first failed ambush, Boris rather weakly claims that Moose and Squirrel are dead and that they used the CDI. After Fearless Leader establishes that Boris and Natasha are, indeed, talking to him, he adds, "AND YOU ARE LYING!"
- Theme Song: Rocky's is Supertramp's "Dreamer".
- Too Dumb to Fool: Since he's already an idiot, Bullwinkle is unaffected by the effects of RBTV.
- Took a Level in Badass: Bullwinkle in the climax, where he manages to effectively toss several spies with his antlers.
- Travel Montage: Occasionally cuts to a map with lines tracking the heroes and villains' paths across the United States. The villains use it to their advantage by stealing the map From Beyond the Fourth Wall.
- Unknown Rival: As in the original series, Rocky and Bullwinkle don't remember who Boris and Natasha are, though they at least look familiar to them. Natasha brings this up when she points out that Moose and Squirrel don't even know their names after forty years of this, though Bullwinkle did mention them by name in the courtroom scene just minutes earlier.
- Villainous BSoD: Boris and Natasha when the heroes get away in the plane, and they sit down and contemplate quitting spying and having kids who are as bad as them.
- Visual Pun: Frequently.
- Walking Disaster Area: Bullwinkle, as usual. It's his BFG.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Rocky does not approve of Karen stealing Boris and Natasha's truck to get away from them, even though they forced them off the road and wrecked their first car to begin with. "We're supposed to be the heroes!" Likewise, the narrator later tells her off for stealing Ole's truck after telling him she'd park it for him.
- Where's the Kaboom?: Boris and Natasha ambush the heroes on the highway with a cannon, presumably intending to kill them by setting off a landslide. Karen distracts them and snuffs the fuse out with her fingers. They then cover their ears and look away, not noticing Karen steal their truck. They turn back, saying "Where is boom?" in unison.
- Who Writes This Crap?!: Rocky and Bullwinkle are as critical as anyone else at the Incredibly Lame Puns they spout - and that it's the same stuff they'd always done. Indeed, the writer is Jay Ward.
- Who's on First?: Briefly:Bullwinkle: What kind of music is that?
Bullwinkle (starts dancing in his seat) Okay, but I'd still like to know what kind of music it is.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: When security was about to arrive, Karen addresses they should go. Bullwinkle gets an idea for how to buy some time: "Quick, let's go to a commercial!" While this would have worked in his native TV Series, it doesn't work in a theatrical film.Bullwinkle: What is this, PBS?
- You Can't Go Home Again: Rocky tells Bullwinkle this after they learn about the anti-Moose sentiments going around Wossamotta U. these days. Bullwinkle doesn't quite get the point: "Rocky, whatever do you mean? Wossamotta U. is home!"
- Your Costume Needs Work: When Karen is arrested for impersonating an officer (namely, herself), the Oklahoma cop tells her, "We both know Agent Karen Sympathy has a heavy Pottsylvanian accent. We heard her on the radio." The joke of course being that Natasha was the one who impersonated her on the radio, Not Even Bothering with the Accent.