82 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rabbit Gets Some Justice
Filmmakers have been combining animation and live action since the days of silent film--but 1988's WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT not only bested everything done previously, it set a standard that is unlikely to be surpassed. Although it has been available on VHS and in a mediocre DVD release for quite a few years, the film finally gets the star treatment in this "Vista Series"...
Published on March 15, 2003 by Gary F. Taylor
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pl-pl-pl-pl-EEZE!! I wanted MORE!!
First of all, sorry to contradict you, Luis Arturo Gutierrez Calv, but "...Roger Rabbit" does NOT have CGI effects! While I was living in Los Angeles shortly after the film was released, one of the animation directors for the film was a speaker at a special "...Roger Rabbit" symposium at an animation festival. He directly answered a question from the audience about CGI...
Published on January 26, 2003 by John D. Hooper
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82 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rabbit Gets Some Justice,
Filmmakers have been combining animation and live action since the days of silent film--but 1988's WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT not only bested everything done previously, it set a standard that is unlikely to be surpassed. Although it has been available on VHS and in a mediocre DVD release for quite a few years, the film finally gets the star treatment in this "Vista Series" double DVD release, which includes the film in both pan-and-scan and letterbox formats and an assortment of extras, many of which are quite interesting.
The concept and story are well known: cartoon characters are not drawings, but are living entities who work in the film industry, and when Maroon Cartoon star Roger Rabbit is accused of murdering Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye), he turns to private detective Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) for help. Trouble is, Eddie hates "Toons." After all, one of them offed his brother, and Eddie hasn't been sober since. The concept is a clever one, and the story could have gone in any number of directions--but ROGER RABBIT hops down a completely unexpected trail. Set in 1947 Los Angeles, the film uses classic "noir" elements (and references everything from THE MALTESE FALCON to CHINATOWN); it also makes considerable sly social commentary on racism, with the "Toons" performing in a Cotton Club-like nightclub, literally working for peanuts at the studios, and more or less confined to living in "Toontown," which might easily be read as social ghettoization. And all of these sidelights are interesting and entertaining. But the most attractive thing about ROGER RABBIT is that it is just plain fun to watch.
Part of that fun comes from the marvelous performances of Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd (as the evil Judge Doom), and Joanna Cassidy (Valiant's sidekick Delores), who lead the live action cast. Another chunk of the fun is the way in which the film cameos a host of famous cartoon characters, ranging from Betty Boop to Bugs Bunny and the Warner Bro.s gang to Dumbo--and animation buffs will love the fact that Betty Boop and Bugs Bunny, to name but two, are voiced by the artists (Mae Questel and Mel Blanc) who created the character voices in the first place. But the big deal here is the extremely believable way in which the "Toons" fit into the real world. They rendered with astonishing detail and remarkable three dimensionality. It's just an amazing thing to watch.
The overall DVD package is a bit odd, for it offers less in the way of bonuses than one might expect. The first disk includes a pan-and-scan version of the film, three Roger Rabbit/Baby Herman shorts, a kid-friendly documentary, and a CD-ROM game; the second disk offers the letterbox film with extras that will appeal to more mature viewers, most particularly on-set shots and a nifty documentary called "Behind the Ears." The upshot is really a one-disk release that has been expanded to two by the trick of cramming both pan-and-scan and letterbox versions into a single package. That's annoying--but even so, this is easily the best release of this film to date. It at gives the rabbit some justice at last, and I give it five stars on that basis.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer
43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That's what I call one seriously disturbed Toon......,
One of the great joys of movie-going is to see a concept, that on-the-face-of-it is so goofy and off-beat that it should never work, but, in the end, does work and works in spades! So it was for me with Who Framed Roger Rabbit. This Vista Series DVD brings the film to us with a crisp & clean picture, THX sound, and a beautifully packaged set of extras that include a very clever interactive menu, plus loads of goodies presented smartly, with humor and surprises.
Seeing the film again reminded me how impressed I was with the audacity and accomplishment of Bob Zemeckis and his collaborators on bringing off with care and intelligence, a sharp & funny film that plays to both children & adults. Who would have thunk it?
Taking a Chinatown-like story of early Los Angeles with some basis in fact (destroying the Red Line to make way for freeways) complete with murder & intrigue & marrying it to the screwy conceit that cartoon figures, aka Toons, actually lived and worked as live actors and inhabited a section of LA called Toontown is such a manifestly dopey idea that it would take enormous inspiration, intelligence and attention to detail to make it even nominally work. All of those qualities were present, as the extras demonstrate, in abundance here, and the result was movie magic.
Made prior to CGI coming into its own, the characters were brought to the screen brilliantly. As one of the animators pointed out, even early CGI was rejected because the film-makers wanted the characters to maintain their cartoon look, only brought into 3 dimensions. The hows and whys of what they did to achieve this magic are worth a look.
Anchored by the great casting of Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd and Joanna Cassidy and Charles Fleischer, brilliant technical work, and a clever story strung through with great good humor, dialogue and jokes for kids and adults, this film has some cherished, favorite lines, from Baby Herman's "That's my problem, I've got a 50 year-old lust, and a 3 year-old dinky.", to Jessica Rabbit's: "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way.", to Eddie on the wayward bullets "Eh, Dum Dums!" This is great stuff.
"Toons, gets em every time!" Some kind of classic here, and well worth your while.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pl-pl-pl-pl-EEZE!! I wanted MORE!!,
First of all, sorry to contradict you, Luis Arturo Gutierrez Calv, but "...Roger Rabbit" does NOT have CGI effects! While I was living in Los Angeles shortly after the film was released, one of the animation directors for the film was a speaker at a special "...Roger Rabbit" symposium at an animation festival. He directly answered a question from the audience about CGI in the film by stating that even though some effects LOOK computer-generated (specifically, the reflective kitchen floor in the opening cartoon segment), everything (even the sequins on Jessica Rabbit's show gown reflecting light like minature flashbulbs) was done the old-fashioned way, by HAND!! Yes, Richard Williams (main animation director) is JUST THAT GOOD!!! As the speaker (whose name escapes me for now) put it: (and I'm paraphrasing by memory here) "the only time the animators used their computers was in figuring out equations" for camera angles and such!
That same director also mentioned three scenes that were cut. Namely, the "Aaah! I'm a pig!!" scene (which was in commercials for the movie during its theatrical run!) that has since been shown on network television (and is included on this dvd), the scene leading up to that one: Eddie Valiant being caught...in Jessica Rabbit's dressing room, I think...by Jessica, Judge Doom, the Weasels and the Gorilla Bouncer, and gag tycoon Marvin Acme's funeral, featuring Forhorn Leghorn delivering the eulogy (which are not!)!!
Also, I was fortunate enough to be acquainted with voice-over actress Norma MacMillan who recorded lines for "...Roger Rabbit" as Casper, The Friendly Ghost!! But where WAS the little guy?? Perhaps at the aforementioned funeral?? Why isn't this scene included?? Even a 'rough' animated pencil test of it would be MORE than welcome!!
We were also treated, that evening, to seing the ENTIRE 'Bob Hoskins in Toontown' sequence WITHOUT the animation!! It was simultaneously fascinating and hysterically funny seeing the brilliantly talented actor (who truly deserved an Academy Award nomination for his under-rated work in this movie!) reacting to such devices as wooden sticks with 'x's taped to them, representing Bugs and Mickey!!
Well, the movie itself is still a classic, but why weren't these truly special 'extras' included?? Hopefully, this will be rectified by an 'anniversary', or 'SPECIAL-special' edition.
But THIS version's lack of goodies which I KNOW are out there (such as footage of Joe Pantoliano...remember Ralphie from 'The Sopranos'?....playing Eddie Valiant (!) in a VERY early animation test!) will cause me to hesitate from buying this dvd on March 25th. And for someone like me....for whom animation and cartooning are pretty much my LIFE!!...that's a hard thing to admit, indeed!
49 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Top film, very poor DVD,
I have loved this film ever since it was first made, but this DVD really does not do it justice.
Despite being called a 'special edition', it contains not a single extra feature. The widescreen format is not anamorphic, which means that the MPEG aspect ratio is 4:3 and the picture resolution of the viewable area is lower than it should be. The quality of the film print used is poor and contains scratches and white speckling. The film has also had some bits edited out, so I suppose you could say it contains a negative number of special features: i.e. some normal features taken out. This is a shocking misuse of the format because the DVD standard contains the possibility for having optional scenes which can be shielded from young viewers, so why wasn't this used?
I doubt it will be long before the next version comes out, the 'collector's special edition' or whatever they will call it, so my advice would be to wait for that.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The DVD is a disappointment,
I want to give the movie 5 stars because it is one of my favorites, and I was so looking forward to this DVD coming out (it was actually a huge surprise for me when I learned that this movie was going to be released on DVD the next day!). I bought it the day it came out (I guess that would be today). On the cover of the DVD it says that the trailer from the movie is on here. Well, it's not. As for the picture & sound quality, very nice, but it would have been nicer if Touchstone had slipped in those "bonus scenes" that we only got to see once on TV.If I were behind the DVD version I would have included all the extra scenes, the behind-the-scenes special, as well as the trailer. A movie this good deserves better treatment.
67 of 86 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An Awful DVD of an incredible movie,
This is one of my favorite movies ever; there's not a moment that I don't believe that toons and humans are interacting...but this version is a censored version of the film. They cut parts without the consent of the director, and for this reason, I beg you not to buy this version. Wait until they correct the bowdlerization of this masterpiece
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VISTA SERIES DVD well worth the wait!! Fabulous fun!,
"Who Framed Roger Rabbit" was a huge hit when it was released in 1988 and made Bob Hoskins a star. It successfully combined live action with animation and featured a strong and funny cast of characters and an entertaining storyline.
To best describe this film to the uninitiated would probably require a comparison with "L.A. Confidential" (with PG-friendly/cartoon violence) and a Looney Tunes movie. It is fun, boisterous and entertaining with memorable performances by Bob Hoskins (as Eddie Valiant), Christopher Lloyd (as Judge Doom), Roger Rabbit (as himself) and that sultry scene-stealer Jessica Rabbit (as herself and voiced by Kathleen Turner). A veritable who's who in animation, this film features cameos by Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, Goofy and Betty Boop, to name a few.
The VISTA SERIES is especially impressive given the many, many special features that are included. The packaging alone - with a case that looks like a detective's portfolio/folder - is a treat. Add to that the following:
1) Audio commentary by the filmmakers led by director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump)
2) Facts and trivia
3) "The Pig Head Sequence" deleted scene
4) "Before and After" split-screen comparisons
5) 2 behind-the-scenes documentaries, including an new, exclusive in-depth featurette
6) A DVD game
7) 3 animated shorts
The film itself is well worth the price of the DVD. Add to that the wealth of special features and this promises to be one of the best DVDs of the year. Animation, action/adventure and comedy fans will find this a special treat and I highly recommend this family-friendly (PG) film to everyone!
25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tonsa 'toon fun!,
I was 10 when "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" came out and it is just as much fun to watch now, maybe funnier because I missed some of the humor back then. Roger's a riot and his wife, Jessica Rabbit ("I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way"), is truly a toon vixen. Bob Hoskin's Eddie Valiant is sent to find out the truth when the owner of Toon Town is murdered after playing patty-cake (literally) with Jessica. Everyone assumes a jealous Roger did it and that washed-up detective Eddie can't hack it anymore. There is lots of subtle humor, like when Eddie asks for a scotch on the rocks in a 'toon bar and instead of ice he gets actual rocks. Eddie seriously hates Toon Town because his brother had a piano dropped on his head, but he eventually becomes pals with Roger, overcomes his hatred of Toon Town and clears Roger's name. Christopher Lloyd's Judge Doom is perfectly creepy and his squad of weasels are funny as they try to stop Eddie and Roger from discovering the truth.
The interaction between the live actors and the toons is seamless, probably why the movie won four Oscars. The behind the scenes features and commentaries are great, the entire 2-disc set is incredibly well-thought out and packaged, making it a must-have for the fan.
38 of 48 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware - censored version of movie!,
By A Customer
Caveat emptor -- this DVD release contains a censored version of the movie, different from the previous Laserdisc and VHS releases. It was apparently altered without the director's approval.
48 of 62 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dashed Potential,
By A Customer
This is one of the more disappointing DVDs I've purchased. Contrary to what Greg Lovern believes (below), the censorship is indeed a big deal--even if we're only talking about a few frames of film. It's the principle of the thing. This kind of censorship is akin to blacking out words in a literary classic. You wouldn't stand for that, right? Well, we shouldn't stand for it in film. Frankly, I'm somewhat alarmed by some studios' efforts to alter their films in later incarnations. For example, George Lucas not only "enhanced" his famous "Star Wars" film with new digital footage; he also removed extra-violent frames of stormtrooper deaths. A few frames here and there don't matter, right? Wrong. Art doesn't work that way. And I believe this influential film qualifies as art.
On top of the censorship (which alone should convince you to avoid this disc), Disney has released "Roger Rabbit" with absolutely no supplemental features--including the great theatrical trailer promised on the cover. Imagine the special edition DVD this could have been! Zemeckis and Hoskins commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, featurettes, pre-production animation footage--oh, and the promised trailer.
You're better off finding a beat-up VHS copy at a used-tape sale. At least that copy won't have censored scenes.
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Who Framed Roger Rabbit: 25th Anniversary Edition (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging) by Robert Zemeckis (Blu-ray - 2013)