Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Movie Vault Review: Who Framed Roger Rabbit [1988]

Year Of Release: 1988
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
Written By: Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman, Gary K. Wolf
Starring: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lyold, Charles Fleischer (voice), Kathleen Turner (voice), Joanna Cassidy, Mel Blanc (voice), Stubby Kaye
Running Time: 104 minutes
In A Nutshell:
Set in 1947 where cartoon characters also known as "Toons" are living beings and they interact freely with normal humans. One Toon star, Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer) is having concerns that his wife Jessica (voiced by Kathleen Turner) is having an affair. The head of Maroon Cartoon Studios where Roger works hires detective Eddie Valiant (played by Bob Hoskins) to investigate Jessica. When Eddie shows Roger photos of Jessica playing patty-cake with the owner of Acme Corporation and also Toontown, Marvin Acme (played by Stubby Kaye), Roger is distraught and runs away. When Acme is found dead the next day, Roger is made the prime suspect.
Thumbs Up:
+ Nice crossover between cartoon characters from different studios: Disney, Looney Toons, and etc.
+ Nice old fashioned slapstick and physical comedy, and not just from the cartoon characters
Thumb Down:
- Doesn't stand up well against time and as the audience grows older
- Lacking any real "Wow" factor from the story
- No genuine laugh-out-loud moments

Selected Quote:
"Is he always this funny, or only on days when he's wanted for murder?"
The Verdict Is In:
I mostly remember film this from my early childhood, and what drew me to it during those early years wasn't so much the combination of live action and animation (that had already been done before in movies such as Marry Poppins [1964] ) but its assembly of every important (well, as perceived by a kid) characters in the cartoon world. I don't think until this very day that there has been any other time the likes of Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse or Donald and Daffy Duck has appeared on screen together. I also remember being entertained while watching it during those times but unlike most other movies from the 80s, I don't recall much of going back for repeated viewings for this one. So when it was shown on my local telly recently, I was interested in taking a look back at something I haven't seen in a very long while.

Unfortunately I found out why there hasn't been many revisits. While I'm sure kids nowadays can still find this movie entertaining, it lacks any spark to really captivate an adult viewer. There are still some amusing moments and nice throwbacks at old school humour, but nothing that can be considered hilarious or memorable. Yes, I've enjoyed it during its day, and in fact it can still be used to occupy some free time in the present day, but it seems that I've largely outgrown this one. With another birthday coming up at the end of the month perhaps I've just turned cranky and outgrown all of the old school animations? Well I'm able still say that I enjoy those classics films from Disney, so no, I don't think so. Plus the way I geeked out at a bunch of comic book characters on screen last week (you might have heard of them, they're in a movie called The Avengers [2012] ) pretty much proves there's still a huge child trapped in this adult body.
5.5 out of 10


  1. I will never get tired watching this movie. It reminds me of a film noir that was directed by Tex Avery and Chuck Jones. The live action animation still blows me away, and I love the relationship between Roger Rabbit and Eddie Valliant. Gotta give credit to Bob Hoskins for acting in front of nobody. The original book this was based on is supposed to be very dark. I can't fault you with your reasons, but I loved it regardless

  2. The old school comedy is probably is main strength, but I don't know, after not seeing for so many years, it didn't excite me as it used to.

  3. No offense, but this review is off. I enjoy this as an adult WAAAAY more than I did as a child. Siskel and Ebert themselves said that adults would like this more than kids. Great film, a masterpiece, and one of my personal favorites.


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