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Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

By Patrick Samuel • May 31st, 2012
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
Touchstone Pictures

Original release: June 22nd, 1988
Running time: 104 minutes

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writers: Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman, Gary K. Wolf

Cast: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Fleischer (voice), Kathleen Turner (voice).

Growing up on a steady diet of cartoons in the 80’s, there was no way I wanted to miss the one all the kids at school were talking about, Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

It’s a film I still enjoy; especially now I’m able to look back on it as an adult and see how it mixed animation with live action in way that I hadn’t really seen since two of my other favourite films, Anchors Aweigh (1945) and Mary Poppins (1964).

The story also recalls elements of film noir from the days of Gilda (1946) and The Big Sleep (1946) and it’s no coincidence it’s set in that era too. Yet it’s not 1947 as we might know it. Instead, this is a world where “toons” live and work among humans in the movie business in Toontown.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) is a private investigator who’s hired by R. K. Maroon, the owner of Maroon Cartoon studios, to find out if the wife of one of his biggest stars, Roger Rabbit, is having an affair. Lately Roger hasn’t been on his game; he’s been fluffing his lines and showing up to work depressed and it’s having an effect on production.

The problem for Eddie though is he hates toons. He can’t stand to be around them; their crazy faces, their insane antics and their constant cheery moods don’t fool him – his brother was killed by one and since then he’s harboured a grudge against them. However, when he sees what Roger’s wife, Jessica (voiced by Kathleen Turner), looks like – hubba bubba!

With her perfect hourglass figure, legs up to there, long red hair and sensuous voice, she’s a toon like no other and a femme fatale to rival even Rita Hayworth. However, when Eddie finds out Jessica’s been playing patty-cake with another man, it crushes Roger. The next day, the man turns up dead after a piano was dropped on him, and all suspicion falls on the rabbit.

When the sinister Gestapo-looking Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) arrives on the scene, he demonstrates to Eddie his new concoction called The Dip, consisting of turpentine, acetone, and paint thinner, which can kill an otherwise indestructible toon – and he’s ready to dispose of the murdering Roger.

The thing is, Roger might actually be innocent. Eddie starts to uncover clues and realises someone else might have wanted the dead man…well, dead – and Judge Doom might not be as he appears. Who Framed Roger RabbitEddie finds himself attached to Roger, literally, as he tries to prove his innocence, and by the end he’s let go of his prejudices against these fun-loving toons and regains his sense of humour.

As a 10-year-old I remember being absolutely dazzled by this movie and soaking up every scene Roger was in, as well as the cameos from many of my other favourites like Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse – who share a scene together for the first time – and Donald and Daffy Duck, who appear in a piano playing stand-off. We also get to hear Betty Boop lamenting over her career since colour cartoons came in. Poor gal.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit lovingly recreated all what I’ve come to love in film noir in later years while also assembling a bunch of crazy and unforgettable characters. There’s so much to appreciate in it and no matter how many times I watch it, it never fails to raise a smile, and who can ever forget Jessica’s line, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way”?

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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