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Who Framed Roger Rabbit (SE)
DVD disk
10.07.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (SE) order
Robert Zemeckis

Bob Hoskins
Christopher Lloyd
Charles Fleischer


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In ole time Hollywood, real life actors interact with their cartoon counterparts. Toon-hating detective Eddie Valiant (Hoskins) is hired to snoop on the sexpot wife of an animated bunny, but when a studio big shot is found dead, all eyes turn to Roger Rabbit as the prime suspect. Desperate to avoid the cruel judge (Lloyd), Roger turns to Eddie in the hope of having his skin saved.
I hadn't seen this flick in a long time and the first thing I noticed when I hit "play" on this DVD was just how deep it was in terms of little details that you eventually forget, but that crack you up when you first see them. Released in 1988, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT was revolutionary at the time with its mix of live action and cell animation and still manages to outdo many of the computer enhanced cartoons of today. Hoskins was simply fantastic as a booze-swilling, cartoon-hating detective who takes on a simple job that snowballs into a full-fledged Toon invasion. He's also got the tough job of dealing with the goofiest Rabbit since, well.. ever! Voice actor Charles Fleischer and the animation crew impart their alter ego with so much character that you almost forget that he's just a cartoon at times! (and to be perfectly honest, I spent great parts of my teenage years wishing in fact that Jessica Rabbit, cartoon or not, would knock on my door and... anyway, I digress...)

But aside from the fact that this is a cartoon/live mix, there's a lot more to this film as well. Zemeckis decided early on that he was going to shoot this just like he would any other film and his attention to details, as well as a fun story and a great script, made sure that it would truly be a fun movie to watch rather than just a novelty. As far as the novelty aspect of it goes, some major kudos have to go out here to the technical crew who took care of both the actual animation, but also of coaching and helping the actors act against characters that weren't there at the time. And even though that had been done before and has been done since...the scale of this project is just otherworldly.

I'd also feel bad if I didn't mention Christopher Lloyd who plays the nasty villain Judge Doom. This guy can play pretty much any type of character and is constantly entertaining. Once again, he appears under a different form here and delivers some chills to any kid who's taken to Roger and the other Toons such as the poor little shoe who meets his end at his hands. The selection of credible actors is definitely an added plus to a movie that has some great overall qualities and that has aged like fine wine.

The Roger Rabbit Shorts (25 minutes): The Roger Rabbit Shorts is a set of three animated films lasting about 8 minutes each that were made after the film became such a huge success. They were featured before other films for a little while until the Roger-mania finally died down. They're definitely worth the watch, especially if you're a fan of old school cartoons where falling anvils and pulsing thumbs are the norm (read: Looney Tunes). Pretty funny, very well made and a great way to start the DVD tour.

Who Made Roger Rabbit (11 minutes): Hosted by Charles Fleischer (the voice of Mr. Rabbit), the feature is a rundown on the beginnings of WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT and before long goes into great detail regarding the difficult task of incorporating the animated characters into the film alongside human actors.

"Trouble in Toontown" Game: This is a nifty little game in which you have to hit weasels with pies, use your memory and some dodging skills in order to save Toontown from being sprayed with deadly dip. Pretty good as far as DVD games go, but you might want to skip over it if you're older than say... five.


Audio Commentary featuring filmmakers Robert Zemeckis, Frank Marshall, Jeffery Price, Peter Seaman, Steve Starkey and Ken Ralston: I sort of expected this track to be solely technical, but even though I was partially right, I did enjoy it a lot more than I would expect. This is, after all, a special effects based film and even though commentaries associated to this type of film are usually far from being my favorite, this one went down rather well. I guess it was mostly the relaxed attitude of all involved as well as the constant, yet natural flow of the conversation. They also touch on various topics and share their deep knowledge in a way anyone can understand. Thumbs up, guys!

Deleted Scene (6 minutes): While I was hoping to see that infamous scene that was reportedly snuck into the film by a cheeky animator which revealed Jessica Rabbit's aversion to underpants, I was turned away at the door. The DVD features only one deleted scene entitled "Pig Head Sequence" that comes with an introduction by director Bob Zemeckis explaining why it was cut. The scene itself is pretty cool (very cool actually), but considering that I was banking on checking out Jessica Rabbit's bare ass...it was a letdown nonetheless.

Valiant Files: The "Valiant Files" is basically a photo gallery containing pics of anyone and anything in the film. Included are conceptual artworks of the characters, deleted titles, set photos and all kinds of other stuff. You can access them by either playing some weird game in which you move your cursor around and try to locate them, or if your ass is as lazy as mine, the "cheat sheet" which shortcuts you right to the crux of the matter.

Before & After (3 minutes): Easily one of the coolest things on the DVD (and yet so simple), this is a split screen comparison of some scenes with and without the animation. It's amazing how much of the stuff in the film you'd be wrong about if you sat there guessing on "real" or "fake". I guess in a way it just pays tribute to the people who made this film.

Toon Stand-Ins (3 minutes): During the shoot, some life size rubber "dolls" of each animated character was built in order to give the live actors a frame of reference for their eyes and movement. This piece shows how they were used on set. Informative for a few seconds, but not really anything fascinating enough to watch for 3 full minutes.

Behind the Ears: The True Story of Roger Rabbit (35 minutes): Featuring input from all its participants, including executive producer Steven Spielberg, this in-depth documentary is the complete "making of" reference for this film. With a natural focus on the animation work, the documentary provides some very good information on a concept that was brand new at the time and that has very rarely been attempted since.

On Set! (5 minutes): This is a short, on-set feature showing footage from the film shoot (without any Toons obviously) and once again emphasizing the difficulty of acting without any actors to act against (did that make sense?).

Toontown Confidential (feature length): This confidential feature allows you to watch the film with a running band at the bottom displaying various facts and trivia. As with anything of this type, what really matters is the quantity and quality of the content and this delivers on both with many facts about the films, the actors, the shoot, the production and everything else your cartoony carcass can wish for. Fun stuff!
A fun movie for young and old, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT is a great addition to any collection. Packaged in this great Vista Series DVD that includes a pretty nice case to boot, it's a worthwhile purchase with fun stuff for the whole family.
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