Who Framed Roger Rabbit: A Favorite Since Childhood
I had Who Framed Roger Rabbit on VHS when I was younger and I would watch it repeatedly. I watched it so much I wore the tape out. The cover was ripped and losing color. It was a favorite of mine when I was younger and it's still one of my favorites now. I still own that old VHS to this day.
I mean how could a kid like me not love this film? An alcoholic Private Detective helps clear the name of a cartoon rabbit who's accused of murder? Okay that might be a bit odd but it was and still is my kind of film. I discussed before how I grew up loving the film noir genre so I easily gravitated towards Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
I love how this film takes the film noir tropes and twists them. There's the broken P.I. protagonist, a femme fatal, and a murder conspiracy. It's just, there are cartoon characters involved. I love the overall story and the mystery. It's very creative and fun!
Before I go any further I have to state that this is one of the most impressive films ever made. The way this film mixes live action and animation is fucking insane. The way they accomplished that is also impressive. I watched the behind the scenes and the filmmakers said that they drew on the film. THEY DREW THE ANIMATIONS ON THE FUCKING FILM! That's insane. They were able to move real life objects that the toons interact with and it looks so real. They obviously cared about this film and wanted to make art even if it was extremely difficult. They succeeded in spades and won a deserved Oscar for their achievement.
I can't believe that Bob Hoskins and a cartoon rabbit have such perfect chemistry. Bob Hoskins plays Eddie Valiant, an alcoholic P.I. who despises toons because his brother was killed by one. Hoskins is fantastic as Valiant. He takes the role seriously despite the silly concept. He plays the tough guy P.I. perfectly. I can feel his pain whenever he talks about his brother. I love love love the scene when Eddie is looking through old photos and comes across some with his brother. His eyes say it all as the beautiful score plays in the background. Such a perfect scene. What gets me is how convincing Hoskins is with talking and interacting with a cartoon rabbit. While filming, he was looking at nothing but he made it so convincing. It's insane! Hoskins delivers one of his best performances, right behind his performance in Mona Lisa an excellent film from 1986, and Eddie Valiant is one of my all time favorite film characters.
Charles Fleischer voices the iconic Roger Rabbit. A cartoon star who's accused of murdering Marvin Acme after he was shown pictures of his wife playing patty cake. Yeah, that's a real sentence you just read. I love how it's implied his wife had an affair but she literally just played patty cake with Acme. That's hilarious. The way this film sets up rules with the toons and sticks with them throughout is impressive and creative. Roger is the co-star of this film and he's an awesome character. He's hilarious, charming, and has a lot of heart. He feels like a real character in this world the film created. I care about him and his goals of clearing his name. Roger Rabbit is another favorite film character of mine.
In this world, the toons walk around and interact with humans. They even have their own city called Toontown. One of the main plot points of this film is Marvin Acme's will. Since he owned Toontown, it's vital to find the will to see who gets Toontown before a corrupted corporation buys them out. Again, the animation mixing with the real world is so goddamn impressive. I cannot emphasize that enough.
What I love about this film is how we see all of our favorite cartoon characters interact in one film. We get to see Warner Bros and Disney characters on screen together! That's so cool! The fact that Warner Bros and Disney worked together on this is awesome. Again, it shows how much care and passion went into making this film.
Judge Doom played by the awesome Christopher Lloyd is the main villain and he is riveting. I love his performance and the character. He's intimidating and a good foil to both protagonists. The final act battle between him and the protagonists is iconic.
Jessica Rabbit has to be one of the most famous film characters of all time. The fact that her final design was greenlit shows how ballsy Hollywood was back then. Her look & voice performance by Kathleen Turner are iconic for a reason. She is the perfect red herring for this film. I love how she comes off as the femme fatal but is really a good guy all along. What a character. “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.”
All the other side characters, cartoons and humans, are also awesome and add a lot to this film. I also love how this is a film the whole family can watch. Kids will love it but there's a lot of adult humor and dark things that happen in this film.
The score by Alan Silvestri is one of my all time favorite scores. The film noir inspired Jazz fits the film perfectly. I listen to it all the time. My favorite track is Valiant and Valiant.
Robert Zemeckis directed this film and I think it's his best work. There's a lot of energy behind the camera that really fits the film overall. He's a huge reason why this film succeeded. It also helps that Steven Spielberg was a producer. I know his creative talent added a lot to making this film work. What a team. Everyone who worked on this film deserves all the credit.
There will never be another film like Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It was made with a crew filled with passion at just the right time. It was a favorite when I was younger and I can’t wait to show it to my kids one day.