Based on the 60's-era cartoon of the same name. Royal Canadian Mountie Dudley Do-right is busy keeping the peace in his small mountain town when his old rival, Snidely Whiplash, comes up with a plot to buy all the property in town, then start a phony gold rush by seeding the river with nuggets. Can this well-meaning (though completely incompetent) Mountie stop Whiplash's evil plan?Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
During his rise to stardom, Brendan Fraser had become quite the leading man when it came to films in the family and adventure genres. After getting his big break with Disney in Jay Ward's live-action George of the Jungle (1997) and landed in the smash hit movie reboot The Mummy (1999), he had the reputation as a solid bankable star. Which naturally led him back to participating in a film quite similar to that of George of the Jungle (1997). Stepping back into the cartoon live-action genre, Fraser landed the role of Dudley Do-Right (1999), another Jay Ward based cartoon. Sadly, this one didn't have the same appeal. While it does have its moments there are several problems too.
The Dudley Do-Right (1969) cartoon was a short lived show that didn't make it past 1 season and was very much similar in plot to that of Popeye. For this feature, it was kept the same where Dudley Do-Right (Brendan Fraser) the protagonist has been working to do his best to outsmart Snidely Whiplash (Alfred Molina), his childhood (now grown up) arch enemy. Together these two old foes square off for the affections of Nell Fenwick (Sarah Jessica Parker) who can't seem to make up her mind as to who is the better individual. As if it was hard to tell. The adaption was written and directed by Hugh Wilson, a veteran of many comedies in the past like Police Academy (1984) and Rhustler's Rhapsody (1985). The difference is, those were original works.
Here Wilson seems to struggle between what exactly is necessary and what isn't for a number of components. Right from the start, the movie begins with a Jay Ward Short under the "Fractured Fairy Tales" banner. Unlike George of the Jungle (1997) and even The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, which began as cartoons and led into the live action feature. Here the cartoon short is comical, but completely unrelated to the feature. What is the point? But that's not the only thing that drags, the pacing tends to feel overly drawn out for needless reasons too. There's a number of scenes where dance numbers take center stage over carrying the plot through. They are well choreographed, but that doesn't take away the pointlessness of having it.
There's also weak character development among the main characters. Nell really doesn't change and neither does Snidely. Really it's just Dudley who is shown this from a hobo played by Eric Idle. And while there are certain aspects to the supporting characters that can be important, most don't move the plot. There's also appearances from Robert Prosky as Nell's father. Alex Rocco plays the Chief of a Native American tribe and Jack Kehler plays one of Snidely's right hand henchmen. Lastly there's Corey Burton who oddly enough sounds like Keith Scott's impression of the narrator from George of the Jungle (1997) and The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000). All in all, the actors act okay. It's just the script that stilts them in making their characters any more likable.
Cinematography on the other hand was well shot by Donald E. Thorin, cameraman of Lock Up (1989), Tango & Cash (1989) and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995). Again, while some scenes were not crucial to have in the picture, they were all competently filmed with a wide angle lens. As for music, Steve Dorff served as composer to the film. And while an official soundtrack nor score was released, the music matches the scenes at hand and the TV show theme is revisited. Out of the three cartoon movies mentioned, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000) was the only film to get its own score released. So weird.
This cartoon live-action adaptation isn't as bad as the score says it is, but it is not that great either. There are some funny moments, the actors try, the camerawork is well done and the music fits. Yet there are several over padded scenes, little character development and unneeded characters.
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