Try Watching 2 Minutes of DreamWorks’ Unwatchable ‘Rocky & Bullwinkle’ Short

rockybullwinkle-dreamworksshort

Another Fine Moose You’ve Gotten Me Into, or The Man In The Iron Moose!, the Rocky and Bullwinkle short that Gary Trousdale (Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame) directed last year at DreamWorks, will be included on the upcoming release of the Mr. Peabody & Sherman Blu-ray. The lengthy two-minute clip below was published a few days ago by Entertainment Weekly.

I’d like to label this Exhibit A in the case against CG excess. There’s a ridiculous amount of crap in the backgrounds: randomly placed objects that don’t frame the action and vigorously jerking background characters that make the actions of the main characters nearly impossible to read. But the real question is, WHY? Why spend money adding all this stuff when it adds zero to the entertainment value of the film. Not only could studios save a ton of money by designing their productions more intelligently and efficiently, but they’d also be making better films.

There’s so much that’s just plain off about this clip. Tonally, it doesn’t come close to capturing the spirit of Jay Ward’s characters, but even disregarding the legacy of the characters, it doesn’t amount to anything on its own. The cliche expressions of the leads are stiff and inorganic, and the action is mistimed for comedic impact. I don’t know any of the behind-the-scenes about the production, but the whole thing feels like some hare-brained training exercise for one of DreamWorks’ foreign studios. After watching the clip, which is almost half of the film’s 5-minute running time, it’s certainly understandable why DreamWorks has been reluctant to release the short.


  • Iker

    What the smack did I just see???!!! And why is the camera always moving?! I thought we got rid of that years ago…

  • Mister Charles

    I’m a fan of the original cartoon, and I actually liked the live action/CGI movie they did more than a decade ago (I know it didn’t do well). Something obviously went wrong with this, but I can tell some real talent was involved and that they were trying. It’s really also hard to tell how bad this is out of context, but everything feels like it’s on fast forward. I haven’t seen the whole short, but 5 minutes is not a lot of time for a story. Did they speed it up for ADHD kids? How many kids today have even heard of Bullwinkle? And it must have been some executive’s decision to cram every Bullwinkle character in there, because they could have just done a Bullwinkle’s Corner short, made it funny, and it probably would have worked better than this.

  • Marc Hendry

    they looked better, but still not good, in the 2000 CG/Live action movie.
    What a shame! Trousdale’s other work is so good, I wonder what happened

  • Duane Moody

    Jumped the shrek

  • Ken Addeh

    That was one really badly paced clip.

  • Billy

    That seriously gave me a headache. So may jokes flew by because they never gave enough time for the audience to digest what is going on. That cake slice part was so quick, i had to rewind and pause it to see what happened. Terrible. Almost as bad as that latest Popeye catastrophe.

    • Uncle Sporkums

      Amen. Couldn’t stand that Popeye thing either. We’re being lambasted for “bitching” about “things that are new”. For demanding what? That every cartoon today isn’t directed by someone with ADD?

  • Squidhead

    It’s better than the Popeye clip.

    • enochrox

      Youre insane

      • Martin Cohen

        But was it better than the Popeye clip?

        • Rich

          That’s subjective . I will say that I thought this clip was fine and had some funny moments. Not surprised some people would enjoy this more then the Popeye clip.

        • jonhanson

          No.

      • Tom

        A good many irritating types whined about the Popeye clip. The same irritating types that insist that every element of their favorite book, comic or cartoon be rolled into every new take on the property therein. “SUPERMAN MUST HAVE A SPIT CURL!”, “WHERE IS MICKEY’S ORIGINAL CAR?”, and so on. Ignore these people.

        • Why I oughta!

          ‘…every new take on the property’

          The property!!!????

          Since you are thinking like the business men (who should keep their beaks out of the creative process) how’s about this? You take the badge from a Ferrari and stick it on a cow. You tell yourself it’s a ‘new take’ on a classic car. No one buys it and you’ve no idea what went wrong. Next, Ignore all feedback from Ferrari lovers. Welcome to Headupyerbum city, enjoy your stay

  • Anon

    The short was animated at DreamWorks Dedicated Unit in Bangalore, India.

    • Pedro Nakama

      That could be the problem. They have no idea what Rocky and Bullwinkle is or what it is about.

    • Rusty

      most of this was animated in the US.. for your information

  • Willie Okendo

    The animation and the voice acting are fantastic, but how the hell did the director of Beauty and the Beast ruin the moose and squirrel we know and love! The gags go WAY TOO FAST (is that what you call fast pace? It’s TOO MUCH!), like come on The Lego Movie did better than this! If I was working for Dreamworks Animation, I would make it better by matching the feel of the original show.

  • Kris Åsard

    Well, this is the climax, but without the preceding buildup, right?
    I hardly think the entire short is paced like that.

  • otterhead

    I’m with Billy, this is so badly paced that I had to keep rewinding. I did appreciate the look at Fearless Leader’s rumpus room.

  • DangerMaus

    I’ve seen worse.

    • StephaneDumas

      +1, I agree, case in point with the 3rd Fairly Oddparents live-action movie “Fairly Odd Summer”.
      http://youtu.be/7QiAorbWXc8

      • idiot

        I’m mad they didn’t have the dog fairy in it!!!!

    • jonhanson

      Talk about damning with faint praise.

  • ituri

    Wow, it’s nearly impossible to follow. Why did they have to 3D it? :(

  • cartoonkirk

    Slugger was not paid scale …… again

  • Roberto Severino

    What the hell did I just watch? The pacing in this is really really clunky I might say and just really awkward to watch. I’m gonna forget that I even saw this but just wow. I’m amazed at how bad this is.

  • Ronin

    Totally agree. It looks like a trailer. Too fast. Too many things in screen at the same time. Without giving time to understand what’s happening.

  • Ject Toons

    Doesn’t have the spirit? Please. It tried to maintain the same pace as the cartoons did.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHqy-chPMnM

    • Nathan

      The old shorts are entirely more watchable, though, because the framing and action in 2d cartoons are just plain more readable at a faster pace. It all comes down to using easy to read symbols–which are essential in hand drawn animation. Compile on that a largely stationary backdrop, and you have a much easier to watch cartoon.

    • bob

      i can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not… the dreamworks version is at a TOTALLY different pace… it’s far faster….

      • Gerry

        I can’t tell if it was sarcasm either. The DreamWorks clip seems like 2-4 times the tempo. The two aren’t even comparable.

    • Ryoku240

      The old cartoons had quick witty dialogue, the Dreamworks clip is just sloppy slapstick with too much visual clutter.

  • Mike Sgroi

    it wasn’t terrible but it did lack the essence of R&BW. Most modern versions of the classics lack that essence because they feel the old versions won’t sell today. They mainstream it. The pacing is too fast in modern cartoons as if it is a parody of old cartoons. I give it a D.

  • Ray

    I don’t understand, is there supposed to be a link to the clip in this article?

    • http://sobieniak.blogspot.com/ Chris Sobieniak

      Perhaps it got yanked already.

  • d. harry

    Can you spell “Writedown”?? No wonder JK is selling all of his own stock at the moment. Goodbye Dreamworks.

  • Ron Wittie

    Sorry, that was not unwatchable. There were actual jokes in it, it made me laugh, and it DIDN’T STAR JOSH ROGEN AND JAMES FRANCO.

  • ReindeerFlotilla

    1. The clip was in the tradition of the Jay Ward productions mediocre animation standards.
    2. The clip was also in the tradition of the Jay Ward humor standards. I laughed out loud at the Fearless Leader’s game room joke and found the clip, on a “yuck per second” basis better than anything in, say, Hotel Transylvania.

  • http://tresportfolio.tumblr.com/ Tres Swygert

    This isn’t the worst I’ve seen for a Rocky & Bullwinkle clip. I think they could’ve done a better job designing Boris Badenov, it just didn’t feel spot on in 3D. Natascha was done well though.

  • TheAverageGuyTAG

    This was actually okay, though.

  • Pedro Nakama

    For me Rocky and Bullwinkle was more like a lightly animated comic strip. It worked great in 2D with backgrounds that were always out of continuity. Go CG and it’s now an engineered mess. This really makes me shutter on how the CG Peanuts movie will turn out.

  • Tom

    So the clip shows the ending? Crazy.

    Eliminating the unnecessary camera bullshit and the background clutter might have helped this, but the music also sort of smothers the fun too. The Ward stuff is like a soap bubble. If you mess with it too much it can just break.

  • nico

    they got their money’s worth – cheap, cheap

  • jhalpernkitcat

    Having happily watched Rocky and Bullwinkle on NIckelodeon and Cartoon Network as a child, and having all the dvds to the series–I can only conclude–this just didn’t work. The robotic female moose bomb worked better in the story line “Banana Formula” Some of the character’s simplistic designs such as Boris and Captain Peter Wrongway Peachfuzz just look downright unappealing when transformed into 3-d characters.

    However, the cutaway gag of Fearless Leader’s room with all those heads was hilarious.

  • http://the-animatorium.blogspot.com/ Natalie Belton

    Is Dreamworks hoping to release a full length Rocky & Bullwinkle film? They’ve got the asthetics down I guess, but I couldn’t imagine watching much more of anything moving at such a break neck speed.

  • Joshua Marchant

    Frankly, Dreamworks is the wrong place for Jay Ward.

  • http://mattdeanart.com Matt Dean

    I mean yeah, the clip went by too fast, but as far as retro cartoon adaptations go, this is a lot more faithful than most. The character designs are spot on (that Captain Peachfuzz!) and the voices aren’t too shabby either; of course June Foray never went anywhere and whoever played Boris did a fine job! And that Fearless Leader scene seriously made me chuckle.

    My only complaint is that the stylized 50′s era Jay Ward characters look completely out of place next to standard Dreamworks Animation character models. They also could’ve hired a better sounding narrator. Everything else was good. I want to see the whole short now!

    • white vader

      Character designs spot on? Did you see Boris?!

  • mrstupes

    Why does Dudley Do Right look like a zombie

  • Jax

    Not bad, the animation looked great. I have a feeling this is a test for a movie or a new TV show.

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    I’ve learned by now that these reboots are not for the audiences who grew up with the original.

    I think I saw Fred’s (Super Chicken’s butler’s) head in Fearless leader’s trophy room

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    Sharp fast witty satirical writing.
    Funny minimalistic animation and cartooning.
    That’s Rocky & Bullwinkle.
    They’ve reversed both here; fast animation, minimalistic writing.

  • Harrison

    I don’t what to be more shocked about. How overly fast paced this was, or the fact that the director of Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame made it like that.

  • Oliver_C

    I’ve seen ‘Rule 34′ of Rocky & Bullwinkle that’s more endearing than this.

  • Doz Hewson

    Moose / Squirrel now are totally cognizant of the bad guys’ extance.
    That’s the only good thing about this clip.

  • ohwell

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  • Gerry

    Wow, what a mess. With like 2 or three jokes per second you’d think at least one of them would have been funny.

  • Oliver_C

    I was thinking of Taral Wayne’s stuff, but that works too.

    • http://sobieniak.blogspot.com/ Chris Sobieniak

      At least something that did came out back in the day. (often saw it listed in comic book ads)

  • destiny

    The excessive amount of camera moves makes the characters actions hard to read.

  • T.

    Agreed with most commenters here! It wasn’t terrible, I got a laught out of the Fearless Leader’s room, and one or two other gags. But the pacing was downright insane, I felt a little nauseous from motion sickness trying to digest this clip.

  • Bobby Bickert

    I think someone else is voicing Natasha now. (And June isn’t happy about it.)

  • Ryoku240

    Between this and the Popeye short I must ask, why do these CGI animations have to have spastic non-violent fights going on the whole time?

    Even Tom and Jerry cartoons would take a break once in a while.

  • Ryoku240

    Anyone remember that short bit of 2D animation at the start of the Rocky and Bullwinkle CGI film? That was better than this, the CGI Rocky and Bullwinkle in that were better too. No faux-realism textures and better structure to the models.

    Heck even the bottom budget dollar animation of the original was better than this, ditto the writing. I think that todays kids can stomach a little 2D in their lives.

  • LOLWUT

    The director of Beauty and the Beast-one of Disney’s best movies-made this? WTF?

  • http://sedonna.wix.com/claireamber Claire Amber

    Animation and voice acting were just brilliant! And I actually found myself chuckling a bit when I saw the clip of the fearless leader in his trophy room listening to opera (btw was that Pagliacci??), but the rest… the rest was just… I couldn’t make any of it out. The pace was WAY too fast.

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    She looks like Natasha. That’s the way she was and is. And I’ve always surmised she (her face especially) was originally a swipe of Charles Addams’ cartoon female (who would become Morticia) after I saw some early Ward studio sketches in a book.
    They’re all on-Model here.

  • Pennyjpie

    I don’t mind it being done in 3D, the medium has little to nothing to do with capturing the “feel” of an old show. Look at the 3d Popeye animated test short by Sony, that captured a lot of how the original show felt. I think the biggest issue with this short is the humor and the timing is way off. They went with the formula of fast-paced-random-funny-stuff-getting-thrown-at-you instead of Rocky and Bullwinkle’s laid back watch and listen humor. A lot of these jokes don’t feel like they’d be in a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon (at least not to me).

    I don’t know, it seemed like a good idea that went in a kinda awkward direction.

  • Kristen Ramirez

    All I ask for is that they make it faithful and close to the original without the need to add pop culture references, potty humor, and “modern” dialogue.

  • http://joecorrao.blogspot.com/ Joe Corrao

    I liked it

  • https://vimeo.com/channels/wharton Brett Wharton

    No comparison to what Tartakovsky is pulling off with Popeye. I wonder how this happened…

  • Luke Thomas Langenberg Courney

    this is not bad..hope they do a movie in 3d someday.