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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Who Framed Roger Rabbit, (1988) - A Visual Marvel

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5 Stars)

Released 06-22-1988

Watched 05-19-2024

Reviewed 05-27-2024

Watched on Disney+

"P-p-please, Eddie! Don't throw me out. Don't you realize you're making a big mistake? I didn't kill anybody. I swear! The whole thing's a set up. A scam, a frame job. Ow! Eddie, I could never hurt anybody. Oow! My whole purpose in life is to make... people... laugh!"

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” directed by Robert Zemeckis and released in 1988, is a landmark film that ingeniously blends live-action with animation. Based on Gary K. Wolf’s novel “Who Censored Roger Rabbit?”, this Disney classic offers a whimsical yet thrilling experience that captivates audiences of all ages.

Set in 1940s Hollywood, where cartoons (referred to as “Toons”) coexist with humans, the story follows private detective Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) as he investigates the murder of Marvin Acme, the owner of Toontown. Roger Rabbit, a zany and endearing Toon, becomes the prime suspect in the case. What unfolds is a roller-coaster mystery filled with humor, heart, and groundbreaking visual effects.

The film’s animation, overseen by Richard Williams, is nothing short of revolutionary. The seamless integration of animated characters with live-action environments remains a technical marvel, even by today’s standards. The Toons, including iconic characters like Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit, and Baby Herman, are vividly brought to life, interacting believably with their human counterparts.

Bob Hoskins delivers a masterful performance as Eddie Valiant. His ability to convincingly interact with animated characters is a testament to his talent and dedication. Hoskins infuses Eddie with a gritty, world-weary demeanor that slowly melts away as he bonds with Roger, revealing a softer, more compassionate side. Roger Rabbit, voiced by Charles Fleischer, is a lovable, hyperactive character whose innocence and loyalty drive the film’s emotional core.

Christopher Lloyd’s portrayal of Judge Doom is unforgettable. His menacing presence and eerie transformation scenes give the film its darker, suspenseful edge. Thanks to a sharp script by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, the film cleverly balances this darker tone with plenty of humor. The humor ranges from slapstick to clever wordplay, ensuring that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Alan Silvestri’s musical score perfectly complements the film’s tone, blending a nostalgic 1940s jazz vibe with more whimsical, cartoonish elements. The production design, capturing the essence of both gritty film noir and colorful animation, is another standout aspect of the film.

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” is a cinematic masterpiece that transcends genres. It’s a tribute to the golden age of animation while pushing the boundaries of what film could achieve. The movie’s enduring appeal lies in its ability to tell a compelling, heartfelt story while showcasing groundbreaking visual effects. It’s no wonder that this film has remained a beloved classic for decades.

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