Who Framed Roger Rabbit DVD: Review By stevegibbs

  • OVERALL
    4.0
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE FEATURE
The year is 1947, and private detective Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) has a murder to solve. Seems that a Hollywood cartoon mogul by the name of Maroon has been whacked... by a jealous rabbit. This rabbit, who goes by the name of Roger, happens to be a toon. But Eddie, he don't like toons; it was a toon that killed his brother.

Reluctantly, Eddie teams up with his loony suspect as they try to find the real killer and a motive. Along the way they cross paths with gun-toting gangster weasels, Roger's dubious and curvaceous wife Jessica, and the sinister Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd). Even if the story doesn't grab you, you'll enjoy the barrage of cameos from such cartoon greats as Bugs and Daffy, Donald and Mickey, Dumbo and even Betty Boop.
THE EXTRAS
Two discs: one family-friendly, one for the enthusiast.

This is a nice feature. Disk one contains the fullscreen version of the movie, three other Roger Rabbit shorts, a trivia game and a short, kid-friendly "Who Made Roger Rabbit" featurette. Disk two has the widescreen version, commentary, more in-depth featurettes and a gallery of production stills.

Commentary Track

"Behind the Ears: The True Story of Roger Rabbit" new doc*mentary

This doc*mentary goes much further than the brief "Who Made Roger Rabbit". We get to see more of the whole complex process of combining live action and animation in an age before computer graphics. It is fascinating to see the live effects and tricks used to combine these two worlds. I was surprised at the ingenuity involved in accomplishing things that would now be done digitally.

"Trouble in Toontown" Game

A fun little game. Save Toontown from being 'dipped' by answering a series of trivia questions.

"The Pig Head Sequence" Deleted Scene

While the cutting of this scene from the movie was no great loss, it is good to see what might have been.

"Toon Stand-Ins" featurette

Just a brief glimpse of Charles Fleischer, who voiced Roger Rabbit in his Roger suit on the set, and a collection of rubber place marker dolls which were later replaced with their animated counterparts. Mildly amusing.

"Toontown Confidential": pop-up style trivia viewing mode

For those of us used to VH1's Pop-Up Video, this feature gives the same treatment to the movie. More than you ever wanted to know about Roger Rabbit. If nothing else, you will be able to astound friends with useless facts.

"The Valiant Files": interactive set-top gallery

A gallery of production stills with a few hidden surprises thrown in. (Be sure to open the safe. You'll find the combination hidden somewhere in the virtual room. He he!)

Split screen comparison

The same scenes with and without the toons.

Roger Rabbit shorts: "Tummy Trouble," "Rollercoaster Rabbit" and "Trail Mix-Up"

These were the shorts made exclusively as previews to several of Disney's theatrical releases following Roger Rabbit. They haven't seen the light of day in years, but now you can savor them over and over...
THE VIDEO
Presented in 1:85:1 Widescreen and Fullscreen. The Disney folks have done a great job in remastering the original negative; cleaning and sharpening the picture. Even though it was made prior to the digital age, you would hardly know it. The primary cartoon colors are wonderfully bright.
THE AUDIO
Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. The soundtrack has also been updated for the home theater generation. Both tracks are good, although I tend to lean towards the DTS track as being a slightly smoother mix between the various channels. Most of the time you won't notice much difference, but there are those occasional surround sound moments to be enjoyed to the full.
THE FINAL WORD
Appearances can be most deceiving. Not only is the murder mystery more complicated than it first seems, but this movie is really an adults movie in kiddy clothing. You wouldn't think it was possible to mix a live action film noir with a wacky pen-and-ink cartoon, but Producer Steven Spielberg and director Robert Zemeckis have done it - and done it brilliantly!

Thankfully, Disney realized it had a classic on its hands and has given it the royal treatment for this re-release. The extra features are a blast, but the movie is undoubtedly the main attraction. Every time I watch it, I'm amazed at how well the live actors are able to perform alongside - and react to - their animated costars. Once again, Bob Hoskins proves his acting prowess, and allows us to enjoy his great comic timing. I feel the withdrawal symptoms coming on; time for another dose of the rabbit...

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