In 1981, a mystery novel called, “Who Censored Roger Rabbit” opened in bookstores. The novel is set in a world when humans & cartoon characters co-exist in our reality. The story is about a private detective named, Eddie Valiant who gets dragged into a case involving cartoon character, Roger Rabbit who’s framed for a murder he didn’t commit. Both human & rabbit must work together if the latter wants to clear his name.
The book caught the attention of Disney with special collaboration with Steven Spielberg’s production company, “Amblin Entertainment” to adapt it as a full-length motion picture developing test footage to bring Roger Rabbit to life with the help of cutting edge technology allowing cartoon characters to interact with humans in live action format. After a hectic production since 1983, the book was finally done under the title, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
Who Framed Roger Rabbit opened in theaters worldwide in 1988. It earned critical acclaim from critics and movie goers alike. In addition to positive reception, it also made money at the box office. Roger Rabbit won an Academy Award for “Best Visual Effects at “The 61st Academy Awards.” The film made a massive impact encouraging Disney to develop “The Little Mermaid” as the first film part of “The Disney Renaissance.” Other animated studios including Nickelodeon & Cartoon Network immediately produced their own cartoons. Thanks to the success of The Little Mermaid, Disney made more animated content ranging from full-length films, shorts & television shows.
Roger Rabbit also spawned three short films, video games, a Disneyland attraction called, “Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin” & costumed character you can meet if you want to visit Disneyland.
A sequel is currently in Development Hell after Bob Hoskins’ untimely death in 2012. Robert Zemeckis didn’t want to direct a sequel, due to a busy schedule. Disney decided to rewrite the sequel as a prequel set before the events of the original.
The reason why I wanted to watch and review this film, is because Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming film, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” is coming out on July, which is my birthday month. Before Quentin’s movie is released, I thought about watching a picture set in Hollywood based on The Film Industry whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. It can be a rag-to-riches story, a biopic, a murder mystery thriller etc.
The following review does not contain SPOILERS related to the narrative. Feel free to read my non-spoiler article.
Positive & Negative Elements
Positive: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Kathleen Turner, Joanna Cassidy & Charles Fleischer all did a fantastic job for their respective performances.
Fun Fact: Before the late Bob Hoskins was casted as Eddie Valiant, several high profile actors including Tom Hanks, Bill Murray, Harrison Ford, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Danny DeVito, Sylvester Stallone & Jack Nicholson were eligible candidates for the lead role.
The Animation mixed with Live Action, still holds up for a film that came out in 1988. Hear me out folks. This was way before Computer Animation revolutionized modern day Special Effects. All the cartoon characters were depicted in traditional hand drawn animation. I’m giving the animators and editor Bonus Points for all their hard work. Somebody give them a Christmas Bonus!
Humor features slapstick, memorable witty dialogue, visual gags obviously belonging to a cartoon.
Oscar winning director, Robert Zemeckis did an excellent job directing the film.
Alan Silvestri (Back To The Future Trilogy, Forrest Gump, The Avengers) did a decent job orchestrating the soundtrack.
Cinematography never suffered from any technical difficulties throughout.
Character Development involving Eddie. As the film progresses, his attitude changes.
Opening Scene sets up the world with cartoons co-existing with humans. For example, The Acme Corporation from Looney Tunes exist in our human world.
The film is set in 1947. The set decorators did a good job recreating the time period.
There’s a sole reason why Eddie is prejudice towards cartoon characters.
Mel Blanc, known as “The Man With A Thousand Voices, reprises his roles as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck among every Looney Tunes character he’s voiced until his death in 1989.
Wayne Allwine reprises his role as Mickey Mouse.
Roger is based on a combination of Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Porky Pig & Tex Avery cartoons.
Chemistry between Eddie & Roger served as the main highlight as they must work together and try to put their differences aside.
Many characters from Disney & Looney Tunes appear in cameos. Both intellectual properties are the closest thing for a crossover. Roger Rabbit remains as the only movie to put both Looney Tunes & Disney together.
Other cartoon characters outside Disney & Looney Tunes like Droopy The Dogg, Betty Boop & Woody Woodpecker make cameo appearances.
Despite being labeled as an animated film featuring Looney Tunes & Disney characters, the film has dark elements. Especially a death scene that’ll possibly give you night terrors.
Roger reveals he’s related to a Disney character, which is canon.
Racism is used as a metaphor for cartoons. Back then, segregation was around in The 40’s. Thank god nobody acted like a banned Looney Tunes cartoon. If my future kids see a shockingly dated cartoon from The 30’s-40’s, there will be a lot of explaining to do. Oh Fudge.
We get to learn about Eddie’s personal backstory prior to the events of the movie. He used to be a stand up guy. If you’re an aspiring screenwriter trying to make your lead character without saying too much about his/her past, watch Roger Rabbit as a perfect example of “Show, Don’t Tell.” I will give Eddie’s backstory an Extra Point for not shoving too much info in my face.
My favorite part of Roger Rabbit is when two iconic mascots appear in a “freefall scene.”
A Plot Twist reveals a character’s “true form.” I won’t tell you what he/she looks like.
The film’s final moments has got to be one of the best movie endings of all time. If you’ve seen the whole thing, you probably know what I mean.
Negative: To be honest with you guys & gals, I couldn’t find nothing wrong with this movie. I’m giving The Cast & Crew an Extra Point for making a film as flawless as possible.
The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!
In my opinion, Who Framed Roger Rabbit still remains as a groundbreaking motion picture combining animation & live action format as a perfectly balanced meal. If you’re very interested in this movie, I strongly recommend it.