Reviews for Who Framed Roger Rabbit
The movie it's self taught me a lot about having a sense of humor as a kid.
I remember Roger saying something important about it.
"If you don't have a good sense of humor, you're better off dead."
The voice acting was perfection, the concept, all of it was brilliance at it's finest.
A mixture of cartoons, and hints of Italian gangster movie elements, make it the perfect film to watch.
Writing a long review about it is pointless.
When a movie is this good, it seems like an elongated review is no different than giving the whole plot away to those who haven't seen it. (I say your life is not complete if you haven't)
It was perfect in every way.
End of story.
I must applaud Who Framed Roger Rabbit for not only clawing its way to the top here at Keyframe but for being one of the most important pop culture pieces of all time. Now to take it down a peg.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is more of a technical piece. The interaction between the human actors and the cartoon characters is astounding. This is the movie Space Jam wished it was. I remember a documentary talking about how the creators made sure the toons were believable and looked like they had some weight. You don't see this attention to detail in Space Jam.
The story is certainly more apt than the story in Space Jam, but it's a hyperactive whirlwind, set to the tune of Roger Rabbit's ramblings and buffooneries and populated with characters who were once important icons but now relegated to one-time jokes. At its core, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a parody of the "film noir" type of movie. On this level, it works. Eddie represents the stereotypical gumshoe--possessing a promising mind but too boozed up and hardened to give a dern. Judge Doom is the stereotypical, um, red-eyed evil entity gripped by greed. The villain is actually a weak point. The strength of this movie lies in the contrast between Eddie's grit and Roger Rabbit's lunacy, how the two interact, and how Eddie finally picks up some tricks from the toons he hates so much. But the movie is a strange concoction. Like somebody took your favorite sweet treat, put it in a blender, and accidently dumped in some Clorox. Seeing Disney characters share the screen with Warner Brothers characters is weird enough as it is, but cartoons represent innocence. At least they're supposed to. This movie subverts that, rather gleefully, with the presence of Baby Herman and Jessica Rabbit. The concept of Dip also gives the movie a strange chemical acidic flavor pretty similar to that seen in the live action Batman movie. You certainly can't fault this movie for being better entertainment in the "camp" department than Dick Tracy ever was.
This is a movie with everything you could want; comedy in the form of Roger Rabbit, drama in the murder mystery, romance in both the romance between Eddie Valiant and Dolores AND between Roger and wife Jessica, and cameos by every classic cartoon character ever. Throw in some nice noir music and settings, and this is hands down, one of the best films I've ever seen.
Roger Rabbit, the one live action/animation film that really did it right, and brought back animation's glory!
Unlike the sad attempts at adding Looney Tunes and such to their own live-action films, old cartoons stars make cameos in Roger Rabbit with all their original gusto, life and energy. It would be a treat to watch even if the live-action plot had been one of the lame afterthoughts we've seen in the wanna-bes. Roger Rabbit isn't just eye candy, though--it has the meat and potatoes to go with the view.
The film is based on the book "Who Censored Roger Rabbit" by Gary K. Wolf, science fiction author.
In the original book, the toon world produces comic books, toon models working with still photographers to produce frames. Toons can spawn off temporary doppelganger stuntmen for the dangerous shots. There is a lot of snobbery in the toon world between the people and the talking animal toons. If I recall correctly, Roger was believed guilty of a murder and suicide. One of Roger's doppelgangers is still around, though, to help get to the bottom of the crime.
The book is quite different from the movie, and worth a read...though this is one of the few cases where I think the movie was better. Or more fun, anyway.
Bob Hoskins is dead-on perfect as the drunk, down-on-his-luck crusty, cynical detective who animated-cartoon actor Roger comes to for help. (I understand they originally wanted to cast Harrison Ford or someone like that--sheesh!) He is the perfect foil to the manic, idealistic, goofy and innocent Roger. They are wonderful together. Add to that Eddie's own personal life and problems, and you have a strong background for any plot. And the plot is good, too. Roger has been accused of a murder, and there is no justice in Toontown--if Judge Doom catches him, he will be plunged into Dip (the wash used to clean off cartoon cels!) without a trial. Added to this, all of Toontown is in danger, and only by solving the case can Eddie save the toons. Judge Doom (played by--naturally--Christopher Lloyd) is a truly excellent villain, and very easy to loathe.
On every level, this movie satisfies. If I had any criticism, it would be that Eddie's song and dance routine is cringingly cheesy, but within the context of the movie, it's pardonable.
A true classic.
One of the most remarkable films ever made in any genre, and one of the most important animated films ever made.
I thought I'd get that said at the start, because there is so much I could say about 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit', this review is bound to ramble.
It's hard to imagine that virtually a generation has gone by since this film came out, but it hit me last week. Many people reading this don't remember what it was like before Roger Rabbit. Well. I've carried on about it numerous times before, but I think I can be excused for doing it again, because if ever there was an appropriate place, this is it.
WFRR did at least two important things. Firstly it kickstarted the animation industry into its second golden age - the first one back in the 40's to early 50's. Ever since then, the advent of television had dragged the animated form down, leading to cheap animation that just got worse through the 60's and 70's, the death of theatrical shorts, the death of just about everything worthwhile, the advent of toy commercials masquerading as TV shows. Though there were honourable exceptions, the state of animation was so dire by the mid 80's that Disney was seriously considering closing it's animation department.
Secondly, it is the film that floated the idea that it was ok for adults to like cartoons. Not 'Shame of the Jungle' low budget college titillation, but big budget films by academy award winners, with familiar characters. I mentioned once before when I first heard of WFRR. I was driving home from work through the bush at 1 AM in my old Datsun 1600, and something came on the radio about this new animated film that was causing such a stir in the US. "For the first time", the announcer told us, "members of the audience were being sexually aroused by a cartoon character". For the first time? Well, perhaps the copy writer's memory didn't stretch back 46 years to Tex Avery's 'Red Hot Riding Hood', but Zemeckis and Spielberg's obviously did, since the scene referred to was an obvious tribute to Avery's famous short.
This was the other thing. Sometime shortly after WW2, cartoons became 'for kids', and I don't care how much Chuck Jones insisted that the WB shorts were done for adults; they were (with a few exceptions like 'What's Opera Doc') shorts for kids that adults could enjoy. I'm sure they had great fun making them, but they were still marketed to kids. Ralph Bakshi took to this concept in the 70's, but with a flamethrower, resulting in a segregation of 'adult' and 'family' cartoons. WFRR instead was essentially a film for adults that you could safely take the kids to see. Yes, there are quite a few sexual innuendos in it, but nothing over the top.
Ok, the film.
There are a few cinema experiences which I'll never forget, and one of them is the first time I saw this movie. Firstly the opening Maroon Cartoon was a hilarious, mind-boggling feat of 2D animation which left you stunned after just a few minutes. Then it sequed into live action, and my jaw just hit the floor. Roger gets up and grabs the (human) director's jacket, and the thing gets physically wrenched around between them. And that's just the start. In fact, if there was any problem with the film on first viewing, it was trying to appreciate the film as a film, without wondering every 20 seconds, "How the hell did they DO that?"
Cartoon and live action characters don't just appear on the same screen in WFRR and they don't just 'interact'. I mean, in one scene Roger slides down a bar, knocking drinks and things flying, Eddie (a human character) smashes a bottle over an animated character's head, a huge brawl ensues. Toons get kicked through the air and land on tables, splintering them beneath their weight. Roger stands on a bed, and it moves perfectly under his weight. In one a toon plays with a human character's facial jowls, and they jiggle exactly as if they were being pulled about. Not to mention penguin waiters are walking about with real trays of drinks which people are picking up drinks from. A toon cab crashes through a real barrier fence... the list goes on. And not only do these interactions occur, but they seem real. Characters don't just touch each other, they manhandle each other. If you get the chance, watch the extras where you see the raw live footage before the animation is added. No wonder Bob Hoskins hallucinated for weeks after the end of shooting. Hoskins actually underwent physical training so that when he picked up Roger by the neck, his muscular reactions would be consistent with holding (an invisible) 60 pound rabbit.
My jaw was still on the floor when the closing credits were rolling.
The animation is nothing short of stupendous - and remember this is before 3D. These damn cels are all hand drawn and inked.
When I left the theatre I sensed that the roof had been blown off animation. Within a few years we had The Simpsons, The Little Mermaid, Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, Ren and Stimpy, the return of both WB and Disney to TV series, Beauty and the Beast... the renaissance of animation. This is what kickstarted it all and made cartoons cool and worthwhile making again.
I haven't said much about the movie itself, really. Well, it's a comedy/film noir mystery, In fact, after you've watched this, go rent 'Chinatown' with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, and you'll see a whole extra dimension to the movie.
A glorious film. One that introduced the fantasy of toons (whoever called them 'toons' before this movie?) as actors, living in the real world. How many things has that influenced? I watched it for the first time in years last week and was still blown away. My only very small criticism, common to so many movies, is that the climax is a bit drawn out - but the finals scenes make it all wortwhile. They're so feel-good, even I couldn't help grinning. Roger is absolutely lovable. Christopher Lloyd as Judge Doom is an all time great villain. Bob Hoskins, who has a broad cockney accent IRL somehow transforms himself into the classic American gumshoe.
The movie was a crazy gamble (and they got some pretty crazy people to work on it. Charles Flesicher, RR's voice, appeared in full costume every day just to do the voiceovers), took years to make, and cost a fortune, but doubled it's money at the box office. When it was over I seem to remember everyone important who was involved with it saying that it was like a dream come true, but there wouldn't be a sequel, because it was just so hard to make, they could never tackle something like it again.
I guess they didn't need to.
Hat's off to Speilberg, Hoskins, Zemeckis, Flesicher and Roger Rabbit. One of the absolute, all-time greats. Never been anything like it before or since. I love it.
The one, and only, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the perfect peek, the absolute pinnacle, the acme (sorry couldnít help myself) of the joining of life-action with animation. Yes it may have a goofy, film-noir plot, but what does that matter, the characters are so believable and wonderfully realized that the plot is simply a device and nothing more.
By removing the two big misconceptions that others had previously thought this type of film required, locking the camera and keeping any physical interaction to a minimum if at all, Spielberg and Zemeckis have created a stunningly realized world which continually amazes me.
The precision of the animation is immaculate, given the full motion of the camera movements this just seems to be the work of magicians rather than the dedicated love and toil of hard working animators. That scene with the moving light bulb alone must have been a nightmare in terms of tracking the shadow movement to match.
Bob Hoskins is perfect as the toon-hating Eddie Valiant, and the practically humorless characteristics that he portrays gives the film a much needed bitter edge in the mass of sweet toons. The relationship of Eddie and Roger is as chalk and cheese as they come, but the ever present fiction between them is just pure chemistry.
Lloydís Judge Doom is as terrifying a villain as you could want in a movie. Oozing with malice and a sharp, acidic tongue; his virtually emotionless being is chillingly polar to Eddie's lack of humor. Doom doesnít care for his charges, only about his own view of justice. Itís a strange and terrible irony that this body of complete calm and order is in charge of a world of inanity and looniness. The scene where he dips the toon shoe for no readily justifiable reason shows you just how callous he is.
Rogerís plight is strangely believable, and his upbeat point of view seems to give him a lot of strength for what must be immense mental aguish for the poor rabbit. Between given stories of his wifeís infidelity and accusations of murder, I think the toon gets through his ordeal with more mental stability that most would.
Speaking of toons, the vast number of characters and their pedigree in this film is and always will be unsurpassed; in what other movie can you see two of animations most famous ducks duke it out while playing Lisztís 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody. Or for that matter Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse sky-diving together, the rivalry of the studios just that, the studios. The films show that these toons have a life outside films, in fact, being that they are living beings here can delete the faults in history, and you could say that just maybe toons like Wile E. Coyote havenít yet been discovered.
Ignore the many anachronisms, theyíre meaningless (and besides they give animation historians something to smirk about). And while youíre at it ignore the more seedier aspects of its reputation, just enjoy it for what it is. A deserved masterpiece, truly worthy of the merit it has received and quite possibly unbeatable in its own genre, even with todayís computer technology. Revel in its detail, marvel at the technical achievements. Because I donít think itíll ever be beaten.