By: Corey Lack
The movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released in 1988 and starred Bob Hoskins. It focused on a plot akin to the ones in noir films, but extremely parodied. It focuses on having Hoskins starring as the alcoholic private investigator in a different version of 1947 Los Angeles where regular humans live and work alongside cartoons, known as “toons” to everyone else. Eddie Valiant (Hoskins) avoids anything to do with toons as his brother was apparently killed by one. However, he finds himself drawn into a case of a toon woman supposedly being unfaithful to her toon husband, but it turns out the case is much more complicated than it seems at first glance.
The plot isn’t overly complicated, but at the same time, it is pretty entertaining as it blends serious topics like crimes and vicious murder with zany and looney comedy of the toons. Also, a number of familiar faces make cameos throughout the movie, like Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Tweety, Dumbo, Betty Boop, and Droopy the Dog. There are so many well-known characters from multiple different companies that this movie would be impossible to be made nowadays.
What makes this movie important is that it can be considered to be the source of many of the special effects that are now used in movies. Everything from Space Jam to the Avengers movies can track their effects back to this movie. This is due to the fact that Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was the first movie to have the idea of using animated characters in the same frame and scene as live action characters and interact with each other. Thanks to this movie, things like Andy Serkis’s Gollum and Josh Brolin’s Thanos are possible as the effects eventually developed from the ones done in this movie. In fact, this movie was considered important enough that it even got preserved in the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress.
Beyond its cultural importance, it is a very entertaining movie and one would be remised in passing it up.