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Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

DVD Cover (Touchstone Pictures)
Genres:
Animated Fantasy, Animated Feature Film, Animation, Comedy, Fantasy, Fantasy Comedy, Parody / Spoof
Director:
Robert Zemeckis Robert Zemeckis
Starring:
Bob Hoskins Bob Hoskins
Christopher Lloyd Christopher Lloyd
Joanna Cassidy Joanna Cassidy
Charles Fleischer Charles Fleischer
Stubby Kaye Stubby Kaye

7.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: May 06, 2014
Bob Hoskins was one of those actors that, while he was never a household name nor considered an A-list celebrity, had a tendency to steal every scene he was in. Unfortunately, he died last week, so I figured a memorial review of one of his more well-known films would be in order, and since I wouldn't dare disrespect him by dredging up Super Mario Bros., I fired up Who Framed Roger Rabbit instead.

Back in the day, brothers Eddie and Teddy Valiant were the best private eyes in the business. If you were a toon that is. You see, in this world, people and cartoon characters live side by side; the toons primarily live in a little spot called Toontown just next to Hollywood, but they're free to come and go as they please. Anyway, the Valiant brothers loved Toontown, and took all of their cases from toons in trouble. That is, until they were investigating a bank robbery and Teddy was killed by a toon. Years later, Eddie is a raging alcoholic just trying to make ends meet, and as you can imagine, harbors an intense hatred for toons. Still, money's money, so he takes a job by cartoon studio head R.K. Maroon to catch his star Roger Rabbit's wife cheating on him with Marvin Acme, the owner of Toontown. Naturally, Roger doesn't take the news that well and storms out, and when Maroon is murdered that night, he's obviously the prime suspect. With the ill-humored Judge of Toontown and his gang of weasels closing in, Roger turns to Valiant to help clear his name.

While it's ostensibly based on Gary Wolf's novel, Who Censored Roger Rabbit, it really just uses the names and relationships of the characters and wrote its own story. To it's credit, this story isn't exactly aimed at kids, despite the cartoon costars. In fact, it's a full blown homage to those 1950's film noirs, except half the characters are zany cartoon characters. It's a juxtaposition that works beautifully, and really bridges the age gap. The kids are gonna love the hilarious slapstick and appearances of all of the classic characters (Disney rented characters from all sorts of companies, and this is the only time Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse have shared the screen), while the adults can focus on the debauchery, the adult-themed jokes that's going over the kiddies' heads,and of course the sultry Jessica Rabbit. Even if it may be for different reasons, this movie will have people of all ages laughing.

Yes, I know this review is a tribute to Bob Hoskins, but that doesn't mean I'm going to sit here and claim he was Oscar-worthy in this movie, because frankly he wasn't, but he was still damned good. Eddie Valiant hasn't had much of a sense of humor since his brother's death; Hoskins plays his drunk irritability fantastically and his timing on his sarcastic retorts were dead on. Typecasts be damned, Christopher Lloyd is damned scary as villain Judge Doom. He's got that quiet malice thing down perfectly, and every moment he was on the screen he was practically dripping with evil. Hell, even in the big climax where things get a bit more cartooney, he's still terrifying. Not an easy feat there. The voice acting for the toon half of the cast was also well above par. First and foremost, Charles Fleischer has an absolute ball as Roger Rabbit. Consider the naievity of Tweety Bird fused with Daffy Duck's neuroticism. He's an absolutely hysterical character and carries the movie nicely. Also, Kathleen Turner nailed the femme fatale role that partly defines film noire.

I absolutely loved Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It's just as funny as an adult and as a kid, and I promise it's as good as you remember it. Plus, the DVDs include the three cartoon features Disney attached to other movies as well. These mirror the opening scene of the main presentation, with Baby Herman on a mission for cookies or bottles, obliviously escaping death time and time again as Roger gets slammed over and over. Nice icing for this cake. 9/10.

Rest in Peace: Bob Hoskins (10/26/1942- 04/29/2014)
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