Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

ROBERT ZEMECKIS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

USA, 1988Touchstone Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Silver Screen Partners III.  Screenplay by , based on the novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

An absolute classic, this is the best marriage of live action and animation on film and one of the best detective stories in recent years. Films have tried to make the technologies mix since this classic was released but have failed miserably (Space Jam anyone?) A tale that blends the Looney Tunes with Raymond Chandler, it stars a terrific as a burned-out Los Angeles private investigator who no longer has the will to live a decent life since his brother died in a toon-related accident. When he is hired by an animation studio boss to spy on Jessica Rabbit (voiced by ), a sexy femme fatale who might be stepping out on her beloved husband Roger, he initially resists because he no longer “does toons”. When Jessica’s friend Marvin Acme () winds up dead, Roger (a cartoon rabbit) is instantly fingered as the murderer and begs Hoskins to help clear his name. Thanks to magical visual effects, cartoon characters (from both the Warners and Disney studios, a first) interact with live humans quite naturally on studio backlots and throughout the city of 1940s L.A., while a trip to Toontown later on finds Hoskins as the minority resident surrounded by nothing but animated characters and sets. The effects (which utilize no computer graphics) are absolutely seamless, but the screenplay backing them up is also fantastic.  The detective story is convoluted and complex, perfectly Maltese Falcon-ish in the best of ways, featuring good-time gals, murky bars and has-been acts dishing the dirt to the bitter detective. Great acting by Hoskins and a lovely  as his girlfriend, and marvelous voice work by the actors playing the toons (that’s doing Jessica’s singing, by the way).

Academy Awards:  Best Visual Effects; Best Film Editing; Best Sound Effects Editing; Special Achievement in animation direction
Nominations: Best Cinematography; Best Art Direction; Best Sound

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Bob Hoskins)

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