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This movie won Oscars for Best Editing; Sound Effects Editing; and Visual Effects Editing.

‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ (PG)

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 24, 1988

IF YOU DON'T like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," have your pulse checked. Robert Zemeckis' multi-dimensional free-for-all, where cartoon figures bump, quip and cavort with flesh-and-blood characters, is not only a technical tour de force, it crackles with entertainment.

Zemeckis, who brought you "Romancing the Stone" and "Back to the Future," has outdone himself. The cartoon characters (and we're talking practically everyone you grew up with) grip real coffee cups that rattle. They cause real dust to fly when they sit in chairs. A cartoon-gorilla bouncer picks up human intruders by their pants then sends them crashing into back-alley trash cans. All Goofy and the gang lack are Social Security numbers.

It didn't hurt Zemeckis to have Walt Disney Pictures' enthusiastic backing, producer Steven Spielberg's pull, Warner Bros.'s blessing (for most of those household personalities), British animator Richard Williams' ink and paint, Mel Blanc's voice (Daffy, Bugs, Porky Pig, etc.), Jeffrey Price's and Peter S. Seaman's witty, frenetic screenplay, George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic, and Bob Hoskins' comical performance as the burliest, shaggiest private eye that ever overdrank his way through a movie.

It's 1947. We're in Hollywood and its suburb of Toontown, where those sketched two-dimensioneers, known as Toons, live. They ply their animated trade at the real-life studios, including the Maroon Studios of R. K. Maroon. There's a decidedly dark strain to this world of movie moguls, hoods, drunks and power-hungry people like Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd), who wants to rid the world of Toons with a noxious "Dip" mixture that kills the inked-in types. Betty Boop's waiting on tables (work is slow for black-and-white characters these days), Goofy has been cleared on spy charges, and a Toon called Roger Rabbit is in serious trouble.

A costar in the Baby Herman cartoons, Roger, an eager-to-please lapin, keeps bungling his part because his curvaceous wife Jessica's saucy reputation is distracting him. R. K. Maroon hires gumshoe Eddie Valiant (Hoskins) to spy on Jessica and before you can say "Uh-ba-dee, Uh-ba-dee, uh-ba-dee -- dat's all folks," Roger's accused of murder and Eddie's got to help him out. There are ar chases (in Toon cars), bar-scrapping at the Terminal Station Bar and one-liners everywhere: "I'm not bad," insists Jessica, who puts new buoyancy into the word voluptuous; "I was just drawn that way." In the Ink and Paint club, Daffy and Donald Duck play pianos back to back with vindictive rivalry. "This is the lascht time I work with schomeone with a schpeetcch impediment," complains Daffy.

These are but some of the joys of "Roger Rabbit." You'll forget yourself right through to the end when Porky Pig, dressed as a cop, says "M-move along, there's n-nothing more to s-see folks."

WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (PG) -- At area theaters.

Copyright The Washington Post

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