Who Framed Roger Rabbit Movie Review

Anyone who thinks Andy Serkis broke new ground as the first real "animated actor" in 2003's The Two Towers needs to check their history books. Charles Fleischer appeared on camera as Roger Rabbit in the 1988 classic -- while wearing rubber rabbit ears and providing the voice of the character, too. He was later animated over in the studio, along with the rest of the animated characters in the film, which appear alongside the human actors and who accept them as perfectly real (only worthy of segregation in "Toon Town").

Its story is archetypal whodunit interlaced with comedy -- the hotshot toon in 1947 Hollywood is Maroon Cartoon superstar Roger Rabbit, who becomes suspect #1 when a local bigwig is found murdered, namely because bigwig is getting on with possibly the hottest cartoon of all time -- Jessica Rabbit (voiced by an uncredited Kathleen Turner), Roger's impossibly buxom wife.

What follows is an investigation as Roger enlists human P.I. Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins, really earning his paycheck here) to help find the real killer, all while Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) closes in on the bunny. Conspiracy follows and is uncovered.

But forget all that. The real joy of Roger Rabbit is its pioneering blending of live action and animation (roughly half of each -- this ain't no Mr. Limpet), an effect which still looks spectacular and has become as widely copied as the double-printing-of-every-other-frame effect made popular in Gladiator.

And then there's the toonery. This is a Disney film, so we expect Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. But how did Warner Brothers' Daffy and Porky get in the picture? In fact, just about every animated character under the sun (at least, every character around in 1947) makes a cameo in Roger Rabbit. After all, they live in Hollywood, so it's natural for them to appear in the film.

The answer is found on Roger's DVD (thank Steven Spielberg's power), a new two-disc blowout with lots of behind the scenes footage and countless trivia bits revealed during a lively commentary track. The packaging of the discs is clever -- disc one is the straight-up kids version, with animated menus and all, disc two is the "enthusiast" version, with commentary and behind-the-scenes stuff (like why there is no question mark in the movie's title). But both discs have the film itself. It's very interesting -- much moreso than the film's tired story line -- but far less amusing than the excellent sight gags, the clever dialogue, and one improbable waistline.

You gotta love it. And even if you don't, your kids will for sure.

Cast & Crew

Director :


Comments

Who Framed Roger Rabbit Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: PG, 1988

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