Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cartoon Network

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Director: Robert Zmeckis
Cast: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy
Voice Talent: Charles Fleischer, Kathleen Turner
Released: June 22, 1988

Oscar nominations:
Best Sound Effects Editing (won)
Best Visual Effects (won)
Best Editing (won)
Best Art Direction - Set Direction (lost to Dangerous Liaisons)
Best Cinematography (lost to Mississippi Burning)
Best Sound (lost to Bird) <----- What is that???

I remember seeing this movie with my family when I was in elementary school and I was probably bored with the parts that didn't have any cartoon characters (there are a few scenes) and I remember being terrified by Christohper Lloyd's villain, Judge Doom at the end of the movie.

I didn't like this movie as a kid and I still don't like it now nearly 25 years later with my first rewatch. I can appreciate what this movie did with combining real people and scenes with animation as it paved the way for....Space Jam....and other movies, I'm sure. Snide remark aside, it was pretty amazing seeing how they incorporated the two worlds and the mending of real world and animation holds up pretty well after all this time even though there were a few scenes where it looked a little fake.

I really hate the character of Roger Rabbit. He is really, really annoying. I think he has ADD or something. Bob Hoskins should thank his lucky stars that Roger Rabbit is not real and he didn't have to actually act with an insane, hyper animated rabbit, though I'm sure Charles Fleischer was in the room so he probably had to listen to that irritating voice. And let's be honest, I think Jessica Rabbit is the standout star from this movie. She was obviously drawn by a man. Her proportions would give Barbie body image problems! I was really surprised when they were listing the cast at the end of the movie and I didn't see Kathleen Turner's name since she voices one of the most popular characters in the movie and is a bigger name than Charles Fleischer, but when I looked it up on IMDb, she was listed as uncredited on that.

Another thing I can appreciate about this movie now that I couldn't appreciate as a kid was the licensing to get both Disney and Warner Brothers characters in the same movie. There's a scene where Eddie (the character played by Bob Hoskins) goes to Toon Town (a place I would never want to looked more scary and disturbing than warm and inviting) and he falls off a building and Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny are next to him with parachutes. They're both kind of douches, Mickey and Bugs. There's also another scene where both Donald Duck and Daffy Duck are playing dueling pianos at the club where Jessica Rabbit sings and get into a huge fight. It's Donald who is more vicious....funny, I always thought it would be Daffy who would be the meaner one. While at the same club, there are animated penguin waiters and Eddie asks one for scotch on the rocks and says, "And when I say rocks, I mean ice!" When he gets his drink, it's filled with small rocks. Obviously, that was a joke that totally went over my head when I was a kid, but it did get a smile out of me from rewatching it.

Roger is being framed for murdering the owner of Toon Town and Eddie is the detective who's investigating it. Roger thought his wife, Jessica, was having an affair with the murdered man which is why he is the number one suspect. The movie is set in the 1940s so it has a very film noir style to it.

As I mentioned earlier, Christopher Lloyd plays the evil Judge Doom who has come up with his own concoction of how to kill unruly toons....a vat of chemicals he calls The Dip (You think an eraser would do the trick!) This disturbed me greatly watching it as a kid, and it still did on rewatch. Obviously I know cartoons aren't real (and yes, even as a dumb kid, I knew that back then too!), but in the world of this movie, they are real, so when Judge Doom grabs an unsuspecting shoe and drops it into The Dip, it's a bit unnerving. And I felt bad for the other shoe that was a pair to this one! I'm glad it was just some random animated thing they "killed" and not a beloved animated figure like Dumbo, who has a small cameo at the beginning of the movie. (I don't think Dumbo could fit in the vat anyway...but you get what I mean). And it wasn't just shoes that were animated.... pretty much everything in this movie that is animated has a face and can move around. The cartoon gun Eddie picks up right before he enters Toon Town didn't have a face, but the bullets did! They have little faces. That was a little....odd.

Judge Doom has henchmen who are animated wolves, which is weird that animated characters would help some guy kill other animated characters and if Judge Doom hates cartoons so much, why are his only "friends" animated?

We learn that Eddie has a backstory where his brother was killed by a Toon...and it turns out the Toon that killed him was Judge Doom. That's right, Judge Doom is actually a cartoon, but when he is revealed to be a toon, it is still Christopher Lloyd, but with just crazy animated eyes. That's not a cartoon!  He scared me because  had  these really creepy, crazy cartoon eyes that were red and white swirls.

This movie is based on a book called "Who Censored Roger Rabbit". I can't imagine reading a book where humans and animated characters interact....that seems like it would be best done with film...which is probably why the movie is more well known than the book. I didn't know it was based on a book until quite recently.

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