Cast: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy
Writers: Jeffrey Price,Peter S. Seaman(Screenplay) Gary K Wolf(Book: Who Censored Roger Rabbit)
Director: Robert Zemeckis.
As I write this, I am a bit saddened. I went to go pick this up on BlueRay, and noticed after I paid money. The DVD was not in the right aspect ratio and was missing special features. Now this wouldn’t have been a huge issue with me since I most likely would never play the DVD. Yet I wanted to give that copy to family members or friends without appearing to be too much like a cheap skate. Still, I want to write about this feature because in my mind it never seems dated. Even with CG animated flicks dominating the market. “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” still feels as fresh as when it was first made.
Eddie Valiant(Bob Hoskins) is a low rent private eye. In that if you have the cash he will do some pretty low things. He gets hired by the head of Maroon studios to spy on their biggest star’s wife who is accused of having an affair with Marvin Acme(Stubby Kaye). Yes the same Acme that gives the coyote all those wonderful toys . The big star R.K. Maroon(Alvin Tilvern) was refering to was Roger Rabbit(Charles Flecther) star of famous shorts. When Eddie shows him the pictures, he becomes quite angry and storms out the door. Well actually it was the window, but you get the idea. Next morning Mr. Acme is found dead and Roger is the culprit. With nowhere else to go , he turns to the one guy who may help him. Thing is, Eddie don’t like toons much anymore.
From a technical standpoint the movie is a complete marvel. Yes I know that now we see tons of movies where people act with computer generated characters. There are even some titles where actors are placed in front of entire computer generated landscapes. The reason why this feels more practical is that they are acting on a real soundstage versus a green screen or blue screen. The filmmakers have to not only light the actors, but they also have to light their animated co-stars too. That feat can be very challenging. Especially when no one can see them until after the film is shot. When Roger or any other toon interacts with everyday stuff. The person controlling that device has to be spot on with the timing, otherwise the magic is lost.
I have not read the book by Gary K Wolf, but I heard it is way more mature than the movie is. Infact I’m still kind of surprised and amazed that Disney would take a chance on a story that does feature topics like murder, sex, adultery, alcoholism, torture into a mainstream movie. But whoa am I glad they did. Besides most of that material will go over a lot of kids’ heads,like it did for me when I first saw it. Although, I will admit my first cinematic lust was for Jessica Rabbit. I swear I went through puberty really quick when she sang that number at the Ink and Paint Club. “Who Framed..”pays a lot of homage to other great Film Noir classics,and would be a good introduction to get into the genre. It also features every classic animated character available. Where else can you have Daffy Duck and Donald Duck dueling on pianos. Or go sky jumping with Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. I grew up with many of these characters and seeing them interact with live people made me feel like I could.
Will kids now enjoy this movie? Hmm, I’m not too sure. I think they would, but I do hope that parents reading this will want to watch this with their kids. This is a family movie, which means there will be some material that is more suitable for kids, and other moments more suitable for adults. I do hope Disney fixes the problem on their BlueRays so I can watch this again.