Director: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Fleischer
Writers: Gary K. Wolf, Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman
Budget: $70 000 000
Worldwide Gross: $350 000 000
Hey guys, sorry I’m a little late. I had a hell of a time picking a movie that was my favourite of 1988…not because I was overwhelmed with great choices, quite the opposite. It came down to three, Beetlejuice, Twins, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I’m sure most people who will read this would prefer Beetlejuice or Twins and admittedly I would prefer Twins nowadays as an adult but as a kid I couldn’t get enough of Roger Rabbit and Beetlejuice always kinda creeped me out.
Down on his luck private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) gets hired to investigate the potential adultery of Jessica Rabbit, the sultry wife of Roger Rabbit (Charles Fleischer). But when the owner of Toontown, Jessica’s alleged lover Marvin Acme, is found murdered, the villainous Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) vows to catch and destroy Roger.
With a budget of $70 million, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was the most expensive film produced in the 1980’s which is really crazy when you think about other movies that were released in the 80’s like Aliens (1986), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983). One hundred percent Roger Rabbi can’t compare with those previously mentioned movies scope or special effects but from what I read it was very difficult adding the animation so seamlessly to a predominately live action movie. The budget was crazy for the time and was the most expensive animated movie at it’s time of release but it was so well received that it ushered in Disney’s renaissance era of animated films.
Bob Hoskins added so much clout to a movie that was really lacking stars. He acted his butt off and it showed, with all of the cartoons on the screen he wasn’t overshadowed and was able to capture most scenes he was in…sometimes he was chewing the scenery but for a movie like this it’s almost called for. Eddie Murphy was also asked to play Valiant but turned it down for whatever reason, it’s a decision that he would end up regretting once he saw the finished product. I guess that would be a hard sell asking a comedian and up and coming actor to act across from cartoon characters, one can’t really blame him for declining and as perfect of a role it seems to be for him in hindsight i’m glad Bob Hoskins got the job.
I believe it was the first time and perhaps the last time Disney and a Warner Bros characters appeared on the same screen together. With Disney paying a portion of the movie WB was concerned that Disney’s Toons would be getting the majority of the screen time so in the contract they had drawn up required equal amounts of screen time between Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny as well as Donald and Daffy Duck. Imagine how rad it could potentially be if something like this was done today…Batman and Captain America, Superman and Hulk. DC wins…fact 😛
There are some very adult situations, not to mention how sexy Jessica Rabbit was drawn and how animated her breasts are it’s not a wonder how a young me enjoyed the movie. Christopher Lloyd as Judge Doom was pretty scary and creepy and the way he would kill Toons was very disturbing also the way he met his maker forced to me not so bravely look away haha. His weasel henchmen were I think my favourite characters of this film, I don’t know how many times I drew them on my desk at school.
Do I recommend it? I suppose, if you don’t have much else to watch or were always curious about it give it a shot, but now almost thirty years later there isn’t really much left here. Unfortunately it doesn’t stand the test of time very well.