Sunday, August 12, 2012

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Robert Zemeckis, 1988) Review

With the recent retirement of Bob Hoskins, I thought it would be best to reminisce about his best film. I think we are all in agreement here that he was a great actor (Super Mario Bros. never happened) and it's a tragic loss to the move industry of his retirement. Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a revolutionary film for one reason: it did a good job of combining live action and cartoon together. Sure it had been done before but here, it really works which I guess is due to the context of it. Let's take a look to see why it was as revolutionary as it was.

Set in the fourties, toons live in the human world where they are actors working in cartoons (how else are cartoons made?) and one of the stars is Roger Rabbit (Charles Fleischer). When is wife, Jessica Rabbit (Kathleen Turner), is caught playing 'patty-cake' (trust me, that isn't a euphemism...but it's sure treated like one) with gag making entrepreneur Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye), Acme is killed and everyone blames the naturally jealous Roger. Roger enlists in a ton hating detective named Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) to try and clear his name while on the run from Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd), a man who has developed a way to kill toons for good. Eddie and Roger must know learn who framed Roger Rabbit (see what I did there?).

It's a crime/noir film yet it features cartoons and therefore appeals to kids as well as adults (although adults will probably enjoy it more). Normally I would shout "IDENTITY CRISIS" yet they manage to justify the mixed genre very well. The live action characters interact with the cartoons characters well and the animation on them really brings them to life and it fits in. The biggest compliment I can give is that the animation is fantastic and the acting combined with the animation makes this one hell of a memorable film. Everyone I talk to seems to remember Judge Doom the most and I can see why. He is incredibly evil and absolutely terrifying by the climax. Christopher Lloyd really went al out with the creepiness here.

This film is a kids dream come true. All of their favourite cartoon characters together in one film, kind of like what Wreck-It Ralph is doing for video game characters. It was very shocking to see Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny on the screen together...shocking in a good way. There are so many characters to recognise and some play roles in the film outside of a cameo (which there are a lot of). The new characters like Roger and Jessica (who is not a rabbit...not by a long shot...heh...heheh) are actually well developed and very likeable. They feel like they fit into the world of kids cartoons (well, maybe not Jessica...heheh).

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a celebration of cartoon history and it does incredibly well to embrace that. This is a film that everyone has seen and if you haven't then you're missing out. This film holds Bob Hoskins' best role in his career and it's sad that he's retired. Consider this a little tribute to your best role, Bob. The rest of the actors do well and the animation is top notch. A must see.

A fantastic mix of live action and cartoon. Great acting accompanied by great animation makes for an excellent, must-see film

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