92 of 101 people found the following review helpful
The Rabbit Gets Some Justice,
This review is from: Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Vista Series) (DVD)
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
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 23, 2014 1:03:19 PM PST
Robert A. Slivatz says:
Read the negative reviews before reading this one, and on the basis of this one, bought the DVD as the "fun" is worth the price. Thanks for the review, well written and informative. :-)
Posted on Jun 13, 2014 11:18:03 AM PDT
Jim LaRegina says:
Gary, I saw WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? at the movies in 1988 and vaguely remember at least one Roger Rabbit-Baby Herman short preceding the feature film. As much as I liked it, I don't think I got around to seeing the movie again until the sad news of Bob Hoskins' death had me check my movie streaming service. WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? was available, and I had a great time on the long overdue second time around.
The first time I noticed Eddie Valiant's comment about Los Angeles having a good mass transportation system but didn't realize WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? is an allegory for this country putting business profits over people's needs until this second viewing. It is interesting to note that the 1982 film THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY, another '80s gem about a man caught up in a society rapidly changing to benefit the few at the expense of the many, also stars Bob Hoskins.
Posted on Apr 2, 2015 10:31:54 AM PDT
J. Lovelace says:
One of the most thorough and well-informed reviews I've read on this site. Very much appreciated! Love this movie and you provided a great synopsis and analysis of the film itself as well as the issues portrayed. Thanks for that!
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