Sometimes Musings has to take a look back at some of the DVDs we’ve acquired over the years, and we might come across gems, and we might come across things like…. “When and why did we buy this?”
Such was the question when we found Dudley Do-Right in our stash. We do know why we bought it, simply because we were kids in the 60s when the old cartoon was part of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Brendan Fraser has also just come from a great success with The Mummy just before this movie was released, and was soon becoming one of the actors we enjoyed seeing, so the nostalgia from the 60s cartoon and the 20s adventure story reeled us in. As many a confuzzled Aussie might say when seeing this film, “Oi!”
The opening credits give us a little flash here and there from the old cartoon, and soon real life comes about, and we see our hero, Dudley Do_Right, our heroine, Nell Fenwick, and our villain, Snidley Whiplash as kids in some picturesque garden somewhere in western Canada during the summer, where they are all talking about what they will be when they grow up. Dudley has only one goal, to be a Mountie. Nell wants to travel the world, and Snidley wants to be “The Bad Guy”. Fast forward about twenty-five years, and everyone is doing exactly what they wanted to do. Snidley (Alfred Molina) is always the con-man, and Dudley (Brendan Fraser) is running a Mountie station under the command of Nell’s father, Inspector Fenwick (Robert Prosky). Nell (Sarah Jessica Parker) is back in town, and both the good guy and the bad guy are going for the chase. Snidley is also running a new con project, a new Canadian gold rush, which he starts by taking small amounts of gold dust and blasting it into local rocks and streams in the area.
While Snidley is being the melodramatic bad guy from a 1915 movie, Dudley has made a confession of love to Nell. She really does like Dudley, and agrees to go on a date to the Kumquat Nation Corn Festival. So, we get a show of Native Canadians in full feathery regalia doing Riverdance. So many 90s pop culture references in this movie, along with some 60s references as well. This restarts the war for Nell’s affections, and soon everything is Topsy-turvy, and Dudley learns how to beat Snidley at his own game with the help of the old prospector Kim J. Darling (Eric Idle).
So, Snidley brings new business to Semi-Happy Valley, and buys up the local farms and stores as he’s running his scam. He has a small army of goons working for him, and these guys aren’t very bright. Actually, the smartest character in the whole story is Horse. It is no wonder that a movie with a $70 million budget made only $9000 plus in the theaters. Talk about a limited run! Even Brendan mentioned at one time that he thinks his mother was the only person who saw it.
If you are feeling nostalgic for some 60s cartoons, then maybe the Scooby-Doo films might be a better choice, because those meddling kids were far more entertaining than this zany crew. While this movie has the old-fashioned Three Stooges-style slapstick that kids love and makes adult roll their eyes, this movie does have some pretty cool scenes, better than any in the old cartoon. Speaking of old cartoons, don’t forget the short Fractured Fairy Tale bonus. Those were really the best part of the Rocky and Bullwinkle show.
I give this film a Musing review of