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When you see Bob Hoskins drive into Toon-Town and seamlessly enter a new world of crazed toons and never ending skyscrapers, your hairs will suddenly stand on end. It's a realisation that over 40,000 hand-drawn animation cells, hours and hours of endless acting to imaginary characters, and the back-up of real special effects props have been combined to create one of the greatest cinematic achievements ever, that would inevitably set the benchmark for other acting/technology hybrid films, such as Terminator 2 in 1992.

The basis of this film shouldn't be over-looked though; it's a classic case of 1940's detective work, hosted by a moody and slightly alcoholic Bob Hoskins who has never been a complete man since his brother was killed by a Toon... Thats right - Toons and Humans both live together in society. But further weight is put on Hoskins shoulders as he's put into a trap, and is left with having to protect an eccentric Toon called Roger Rabbit, who like all great toons, has an over-whelming sense of humour!

Once a mysterious murder is uncovered down at the ACME (The film is endorsed by Warner Brothers and Disney amazingly!) factory, it's up to Hoskins to discover why Roger is being put in the frame for the murder... And who the murderer 'really' is...

Prior to buying this DVD, I had a rather worn out TV-Copy of this film that simply needed replacing. Low and behold, the DVD is sitting their at my local Oxfam shop for a mere two quid! So I got it and was amazed at the picture quality. The colours have really been brought out, and although it hasn't been "stated" to have been remastered, the transfer to digital is crisp enough, with very few speckles/white spots.

Their are also some extras, though I was put off by the annoying and long menu system. Theirs a particularly short documentary on the making of this film, though I believe for a film of this stature, is really too short. But never the less, it's very interesting, and I was suprised to see Steven Speilberg was a Co-Producer! Though you realise when looking at the film, many of his trademark camera angles and shots are right there.

This is where a funny hybrid in the film exists.... Speilberg and Zemakis have created a totally original filming style combines tricky, and some how gravity defying camera angles in Toon Town (particularly the skyscraper scenes) yet in the real world, the actors and animation-equipment blend seamlessly - a feat which has yet to have been surpassed so seamlessly. To have the knowledge and perfection of knowing how to shoot a scene in just the right way that will leave the animation to come in precisely is often mesmerising; something which yes, a computer could do, but would it have the same impact knowing that a PC took over the jobs of hundreds of artists and technicians?

The documentary goes into detail on how the artwork was created, and how George Lucas rather generously (As we all know, his wallet is rather bulky these days after 6 Star Wars films...) completed the films animation by applying textures and shadowing through a special machine, where workers applied shadow effects to all the animation cells. This is one of the beauties of the film - it feels and looks 3-D, all thanks to this process.

But what about the input of the actors? To be fair, I've never seen Hoskins as a 'dynamic' actor by any means. After all, anyone who would even attempt to take on the role of a certain video games character called Mario must be crazy. However, his performance in this movie is undeniably strong, which proved me wrong that most actors do have their strengths/weaknesses. And for anyone to even try and imagine the co-actor being a hand drawn bunny rabbit... Well, that takes some beating. Yet it has to be said, he takes it off perfectly, with all his gestures, body language, and eye contact freakishly brilliant. Its as if he was almost made for the part!

I feel that for what this film has accomplished when combining acting, art-work, and animotronics, we will never see anything like it. It was filmed at the end of a special era; when the input of humans and the process surrounding it was appreciated, and companies didn't hesitate on spending the money to this effect. Now though, producers take the easy route; slap some CGI here and there, get the actors to work "tirelessly" in front of a Green Screen for a month, theirs quick few million.


Who Framed Roger Rabbit is an absolute classic that reminds me not just of my youth, but what film makers can achieve with effort and precision. It really has sent a bench-mark for the industry, but if only for a short period. This should be in your collection!
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on 14 November 2005
Brilliant film and at an amazing price. My children (ages 8,6 and 3) absolutely adore this film. Bob Hoskins is amazing and the cartoons just look so real!
There's lots in this film for adults to see- over and over again.
One word of warning my children had previously only seen this film on video recorded from T.V. and that had had 2 or three bits cut out. Beware the 'dipping of the shoe' is in this version and they might get a bit upset.
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on 7 November 2008
The plot has been well-summarised in other reviews, but hats off first to animator Richard Williams, the man who not only created the cartoon characters but made them interact so convincingly with the humans. Nowadays we take computer animation so much for granted it would be easy to underestimate the complexity and painstaking detail involved in not only reproducing so many well-loved cartoon characters but integrating them, and the original toon characters of the movie, frame by frame, 14 to the second, for the full 99 minutes. You only have to compare this with previous attempts like Gene Kelly's dance with Jerry the Mouse in "Anchors Aweigh" Anchors Aweigh [1945] (REGION 1) (NTSC)], or the Sinbad sequence in "Invitation to the Dance" (currently unavailable), or Disney efforts like "The Three Caballeros" [[ASIN:B00005U1XY The Three Caballeros [1944] to see that this is in another class altogether. For all our gadgetry now, it's never been equalled.

Thanks too to Gary Wolf, who came up with the concept in the original novel. The film butchers the novel, but in a good way, because concepts only work if they are worked out down to the last frame and line of dialogue.

That's down to Jeffery Price and Peter Seaman, who wrote such a brilliant parody of film noir that operated on all levels, for children and adults, creating both a plot which would do credit to Raymond Chandler and dozens of references for movie buffs, while throwing in a hard left hook at the contemporary concrete squalor that is Los Angeles. Best line in the movie is Jessica Rabbit's: "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way."

Hats off too to Bob Hoskins who has to carry most of the movie. Not only is his Eddie Valiant a notable addition to the canon that includes Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, he never for a moment looks like he's acting to thin air, which he must have been for most of the time.

I've seen this movie at least ten times, and never tire of it. You can mine it for deeper meanings about the nature of love and loyalty, but really it's a perfect pick-me-up when you're feeling a bit depressed. And that's one of the things movies are for.
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on 26 December 2000
Who framed Roger Rabbit was hailed as a giant leap for animation. It blended the world of live action and cartoon seamlessly. It is a film that has never been bettered even though some have tried. But more than this it is one of the funniest animated films ever created. It has very engaging characters, superb plot and a plethora of cartoon cameos. All in all a fantastic cinematic treat!
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on 9 October 2013
25 years ago Roger Rabbit dazzled with it's groundbreaking mash up of live action and animation and while, by todays standards, the technology can look a little dated it's still a great film for all ages. Though, I must note, having viewed the movie again today for the first time since I was a nipper I was struck by just how far it goes in the violence stakes. Obviously, being a Disney movie, Im not talking gore here but there are a couple of scenes where I thought, 'Wow, I doubt you'd get away with that today'. Of course this never occurred to my 12 year old self when I saw the film. I loved it. And I still do. However it maybe worth considering for very young uns.

So, I love the film and, again, watching it now I much more fully appreciate the film noir-ishness which makes it an even better experience from my adult viewpoint. Indeed it reminds me very much of 'Chinatown' by Roman Polanski. A noir masterpiece.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit has been given a 21st century makeover in this new 25th anniversary Blu ray and its a little beauty.
The image stands up very well to scrutiny in HD and any lingering niggles are purely down to the source material and visual effects techniques. And remember we're talking live action mixed with animation on film here from 1988. Regardless, this is a nice looking Blu and seeing 'through' some of the animation techniques thanks to HD is surely all part of the charm.
The sound too is more than adequate to my ears.

As for extras, well, again this is a nice little package with some very worthwhile extra material. We get a very busy audio commentary track which is a great listen. 3 Roger Rabbit short cartoons, a slightly annoying but thankfully brief making of presented by Charles Fleischer, who voiced the Rabbit and is unfortunately the reason this featurette grates on my brain as his presenting style is ever so saccharine sweet and cheesy. More worthy is the 'Behind the Ears' making of documentary as it does what it says on the tin and goes behind the scenes with many of those involved. And does it for an entertaining 37 minutes. Toontown Confidential is a trivia track to play along with the movie or even better, listening to the commentary. There's a deleted scene, a brief before and after comparison segment and a couple of other bits n bobs making this a most worthwhile addition to peoples collections.

Just dont expect supreme Hi Definition picture.
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on 15 May 2013
Still fantastic after all these years. Maybe it's because it was still real cinema and real animation, no digital, no computer gfx, just manual. It's outrageous that Zemeckis didn't win an oscar for best direction: when it comes to such big project (see Avatar and Spielberg's movies) it's mostly about having a great director who can stay on top of things. And he succeeded even without digital previsualization. All in his mind! The blu ray is top like the movie
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on 4 January 2011
Who would have thought of a situation where Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny, two of animation's most quirky characters, would be helping each other on the same screen together? That was exactly what happened in Robert Zemekis' wacky live-action family adventure WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (1988) which made a crucial breakthrough in film with the idea of combining live acclaimed actors with lovable cartoon characters and changed the motive of combining these two different species together. It blends comedy, film noir, romance, drama, horror, and any other style you can think of into one, leaving you gripped. The plot is very reminiscent of the classic 1940s/50s film noirs of suspicious detectives and seductive femme-fatales that was most superbly done in Roman Polanski's acclaimed if slightly overrated masterpiece CHINATOWN (1974). However when this film opens, we are introduced to a simple and over-the-top cartoon involving the main character, a rabbit named Roger (voiced by Charles Fleischer) and an adult-talking baby named Herman (voiced by Lou Hirsch) participating in the cartoon which is being filmed by a crew similarly to any other film set-up. We then find ourselves in the year 1947, where the humans occupy the brass and colourful world of Los Angeles. However the only difference here is that Toons (combined of Disney and Warner Bros characters are living, breathing creations, that interact with the humans. The Toons live in Toon Town (obviously) but also come out to play in our world, and also to make a living in the glitzy world of showbiz. Roger Rabbit though is the focus, being the main star of Maroon Cartoons but things aren't going well for him as he is suspicious about his sexy and large-breasted wife Jessica (voiced by Kathleen Turner) getting involved with singing and dancing at a nightclub with owner Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye). Hard nosed private detective Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) is hired by Maroon Cartoons owner R.K Maroon (Alan Tilvern) to try and take pictures of Jessica and Marvin's infidelity (or patty caking as Roger would put it) and reveal them to Roger. Valiant is an alcoholic who since the murder of his detective partner/brother has become bitter towards the Toons as one of them was responsible for the death. Valiant's approach to the situation takes shape when he is stunned by Jessica's seductive beauty but he still decided to do his job in taking the pictures. After they are revealed to him, Roger is devastated and in typically hysterical fashion runs off determined to be 'happy' again with Jessica.

Valiant's belief that his job is complete doesn't work out as hoped for as he is called to Acme Warehouse the next morning to investigate Acme's death by piano (similarly to Eddie's brother), with all the fingers being pointed to Roger. However Valiant finds himself competing with the mysterious but cynical Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd), who along with his dastardly weasels wants to prove a point to the Toons who commit crimes what the consequences could be for them with the use of a deadly source. Valiant however is forced into the case properly when Roger hides out in his office and the detective relucantly is forced to help Roger with discovering what could have happened to Acme. More suspicions are made from Valiant when it emerges that Acme left a will leaving Toon Town to the Toons themselves, but it has gone missing. With the help of Valiant's former lover Dolores (Joanna Cassidy), she keeps Roger safe but only briefly when Doom almost gets his man (or Toon) which eventually leads to both Valiant and the cartoon rabbit going on the run together. As Valiant and Roger try to unravel the case, they realise that Jessica was set up, and Doom has some diabolical plans up his sleeve. The pair attempt to work quickly together (when Roger isn't getting himself into trouble, that is) to try and save Toon Town before Doom's shocking plans become reality.

The succession of Roger Rabbit as a film is not just the cleverness of combining live-action with animation but with a slapstick script that mixed comedy and action with drama together brilliantly. Zemeckis who also made the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy (1985-90) and the Oscar winning FORREST GUMP (1994) proves his credentials as an all round director well again here in a film that adds originality to its adaptation of a typical detective story which adds satire and farcical humour very well. Its blend of characters provide the catalyst for the plot and is driven well by its impressive cast. Bob Hoskins, pulls off his booming American accent sublimely and provides a sour man struggling to overcome his personal tragedy and attempt to work with the Toons in solving the case, even leading to cartoonish antics from himself. Christopher Lloyd, best known as wacky but supportive Doc Emmet Brown in Back to the Future, plays another wacky character here but much more sinister and terrifying (his climactic scenes are the ones that will stay with you long after the film has ended) and works well to make an impact in each scene he's in. Joanna Cassidy is underused but adds warmth to Valiant's love interest Dolores while the rest of the support cast do the odd job they need. However the main applause goes to the vocal performances particuarly Roger and Jessica, both voiced well by Fleischer and Turner. Fleischer turns Roger into a manical character who has a good heart but fails to always do as he is told, while Turner's contribution to Jessica is speaking sexually to the main characters especially Eddie and Roger and (with the assistant of the cartoon makers) turned her into an unlikely sex symbol, even being named in FHM's 500 Sexiest Women of All Time in 2004. Her "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way" line adds irony to how certain characters are made to be how they speak or through their body language and Jessica Rabbit certainly deserves that accolade.

As earlier noted, the mixture of characters and actors is well orchestrated, as well as Valiant and Roger's lines together; Mickey, Bugs, Goofy and the rest of the cartoon clan are used to good effect as well such as Daffy Duck and Donald Duck having a piano face-off in the nightclub and Tweety-Pie treating Valiant badly when he is hanging from the pole of a skyscraper. The scene of Valiant's journey into Toon Town is mixed in well, in such a crucial part of the film with how the setting is edited with such careful precision (particularly with its Oscar winning special effects), it's a thing that many young audiences had waited to see for many years to see humans and cartoons in the same shot. The scenery for 1940s Los Angeles is also well made with the right props similar to Chinatown and the Toon's appearance together in the final scene of the film plays up to a fitting finale. To criticise the film in my usual manner would be to highlight the surprise use of innuendo and dark humour in a PG based film which probably would have been a 12A if released now. The sexual references including Jessica's appearance and Dolore's joke to Eddie involving Roger hiding in his raincoat is funny but shocking for a family film while supposed urban myths involving Jessica as well as the possible use of a racist word in the Duck piano face-off takes away the delight of the film and leaves something a little distasteful when watching those particular scenes over and over again (damn those DVDs controls haha). But to conclude the film however, despite that slight controversy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a family classic, which has been loved by many over the last 20 or so years, visual effects superbly used to clever effect with how we could watch a film with humans and cartoons appearing together and mixing various genres and characters old and new to the maximum. As Porky Pig would say "That's all folks!"
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on 7 April 2013
Saw this movie yesterday and after 25 years it's still one of my favorite animated/live action flicks. Since everybody probably knows what it's about i'll skip the in-depth review and go straight for the technical bits;

Keeping in mind that it is a quarter of a century old I think they did a really good job restoring it. Picture is sharp without too much noise, some can be seen in darker areas of course but not enough to annoy. Compared to a deluxe edition DVD I also own it's much better, well worth the upgrade. The sound is DTS-HD MA 5.1, unfortunately not much of a difference from the DVD. Minimum usage of the surround speakers and subwoofer made it a bit of a dissapointment, but was compensated by excellent separation of the front and center speakers. The speech and Jessica's song was coming clean from the center and the sound effects from the front speakers, with some of it from the center without making the dialogue difficult to hear.

A highly recommended classic to everyone!
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on 25 April 2013
The film itself is a 5-star, endlessly entertaining, and loving tribute
to the cartoon industry, and the cherished American cartoons-
from Droopy and Mickey Mouse to Woody Woodpecker and Goofy.
The mediocre rating reflects a comparison of the Blu-ray with the
DVD edition:
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Special Edition) [DVD] [1988]
For the benefit of a marginal improvement in image clarity-
and that at some shots-the color balance of the cartoons has been
compromised. A case in point: The Ink & Paint Club scene, where
Jessica Parker makes her entrance, singing "Why don't you do right?".
When Bob Hoskins enters the place through the back door, shadows
become a dark smudge. When Jessica Rabbit turns her back to the
floodlights, her face momentarily becomes a dark smudge.
I watched this on a 46" LCD screen, and I switched several times
between the DVD and the Blu-ray. The problems I mention are far
more pronounced in the Blu-ray edition of the film.
In the Blu-ray edition there are more extras about the making of
the film, but this doesn't make it better than the DVD edition.
None of the extras are subtitled in English or English SDH.
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on 19 April 2013
I was obsessed with this film when it came out because I had not seen anything like it! I've seen it many times through the years and it hasn't lost the magic for me.

At first glance I was disappointed with the picture quality of the blu-ray edition, but in truth I think it looks very much like the intended original idea. It's not incredibly sharp and clear but it is the best it ever looked. Wires, see through animation are more apparent than before because every thing was done optically back then, but it does not detract from the viewing experience at all!

Even without a jaw dropping remaster this film is a classic and is worth the upgrade.

I owned the single disc DVD so I didn't have access to some of the bonus features that are included here (which were in the Vista Series 2 DVD Edition)

The bonus features are great and comprehensive but I would love a retrospective documentary with the filmmakers.
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