Saturday, 17 December 2011

Who Framed Roger Rabbit [film]

WARNING: REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

What's not to love about this film? Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of my all-time favourites, one I can't find fault with. I suppose if there is no whimsy in your heart you might just find it nonsense, but to me it's a magical, if slightly sad, film.

Bob Hoskins plays seedy private eye Eddie Valiant. In the world of WFRR?, cartoon characters - 'toons' - are real, acting in studios just like human stars, with their own little district in town, Toon Town. Eddie hasn't worked for toons since one dropped a piano on his brother, killing him. He's hired by RK Maroon, boss of one of the big film studios, to spy on the wife of Roger Rabbit, one of his big stars. (Jessica Rabbit has become possibly the most famous character of all from the film.) Valiant photographs her playing pattycake with Toon Town's landlord, who ends up murdered, and Roger is the logical suspect... but did he do it? The plot is strong and hold together well; I know that sounds odd when we're talking about someone setting up a cartoon rabbit, but it really is a fun story for adults as well as kids.

I love the cameos from famous cartoon characters in this film. No one big studio dominates: Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse appear in one scene, while in a nightclub Daffy Duck and Donald Duck attempt to out-perform each other on grand pianos. Betty Boop pops up as a nightclub hostess (she's black and white and her career went downhill after cartoons went into colour). Even the scenes where Eddie drives into Toon Town remind me of animations from the 1930s, although I couldn't say whether they are directly based on any.

I also love the look of this film (according to Wikipedia it's set in 1947). Bob Hoskins has the perfect seedy PI outfit, with fedora, loud tie and disshevelled suit. Dolores, his human girlfriend, has some fab suits and hats when she's not working in the diner. The nightclub and Maroon Studios are wonderfully deco.

WFRR? does make me a little sad, because it's such a lovely world, and in the real world the Cloverleaf vision of massive freeways and service stations, with none of the colour and chaos of Toon Town is what really comes to be. It's always a shame that the film ends and dumps us back in the world of motorways, billboards and no magic. Still, it's on DVD, so returning to Toon Town is as easy as playing a disc.

7 comments :

  1. You've just been watching this on BBC1, haven't you? ;-) Me too! Great review, I agree with pretty much everything you say.

    Christopher Lloyd as Judge Doom still gives me the jitters though, especially after what happens to him at the end!

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  2. Tis a good film, absolutely! X

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  3. We watched on bbc1 today too. It always reminds me of a Weird reaction I had to a specially baked herbal brownie at Lampy, but that's another story.
    Lovely review.

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  4. Bruce and Sweet Without Sugar, I had been watching on BBC1, but I own it on DVD too.

    Christopher Lloyd is excellent as Judge Doom. I get quite upset when he Dips the squeaky shoe :(

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  5. I can understand why people like it, but it just gives me the creeps!

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  6. A classic. I watched it recently on DVD and was surprised at how well the special effects hold up after all thses years. And still very, very funny!

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  7. I love Roger Rabbit. I saw it at the cinema when it first came out and I so wanted to be Jessica Rabbit!

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