All Time Classics: Who Framed Roger Rabbit. 1988

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

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.

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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.

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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.

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About The Vern

I love movies and I enjoy writing about them too. They both go pretty much hand in hand with each other and it's fun to discover new classics. I co host the podcasts The Film Pasture, ScreenTrax, and soon Cinema Recall. While also contributing reviews and articles to other great sites when I can.
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11 Responses to All Time Classics: Who Framed Roger Rabbit. 1988

  1. filmhipster says:

    Yeah, I watched this a few months ago and boy does it look old. Really doesn’t hold up very well and my daughter had no interest in it.

    • The Vern says:

      Who Framed Roger Rabbit mixes in two older genres together. 40’s film noir, and 40’s animated cartoons. If your not familiar with these styles it’s difficult to get into it. Especially with CG animation dominating the film market. I’m glad this movie came out when it did because if it got made now, it would have flopped. Still it’s a technical wonder,and one has done live action mixed with animation so well. Thanks for the comment

  2. ninvoid99 says:

    I’m always wary about DVD/Blu-Ray releases unless it’s from the Criterion Collection. It’s not about how the film is presented but what features are in there. I often check what is in the DVD/Blu-Ray before I buy it. Even if it’s a blind-buy from Criterion.

  3. cinematiccatharsis says:

    I remember catching this at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, back when I lived in California. It’s still a lot of fun seeing so many cartoon characters from competing studios in one movie.

    For the record, I’ve watched this with my kids several times, and they seem to really dig it.

    • The Vern says:

      Thanks for the comnment. I almost doubt the same kind of thing could happen today. I can almost imagine that if this movie were to be made today . Disney, Warner Bros, and MGM would be at the front of the picture

  4. Nostra says:

    Really want to watch this one again. I showed the trailer of it to the kids and they actually weren’t very excited to check it out. Will show it to them though, because it is such a cool film.

    • The Vern says:

      If your kids don’t know about old school cartoons from the 40’s. It might be tough to get them interested in it. I would start with a few shorts to get them familiar and then show them the movie. Thanks for the comment

  5. mistylayne says:

    I ADORED this movie as a kid – haven’t seen it in forever!

  6. I absolutely adore this movie. Everything about it was hilarious and nostalgic to me. It’s one of the funniest movies ever made IMO. I may be a bit biased, seeing as I was raised with this movie and the lovable antics of Roger Rabbit.

    • The Vern says:

      I was raised with this movie too. Not only that I was also raised with the old skool cartoons that are shown in this feature. A lot of kids now are getting the water downed version of things. It’s one that is good revisiting too. Thank you for the comments everybody.

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