WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT [1988/2013] [25th Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] It’s the story of a Man, a Woman, and a Rabbit in a triangle trouble! Everything About This Movie is Magical!
On Blu-ray for the first time ever, this digitally re-mastered edition of `Who Framed Roger Rabbit' practically jumps off the screen with its brilliant picture, rich sound and dangerous curves.
Its 1947 Hollywood and Eddie Valiant [Bob Hoskins], a down-on-his-luck detective is hired to find proof that Marvin Acme, gag factory mogul and owner of “Toontown,” is playing hanky-panky with femme fatale Jessica Rabbit, wife of Maroon Cartoon superstar, Roger Rabbit. When Acme is found murdered all fingers point to Roger, who begs the Toon-hating Valiant to find the real evildoer. Complete with hours of bonus features and including three digitally restored Roger Rabbit Shorts, this multi OSCAR® winner (Best Film Editing, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Visual Effects, Special Achievement In Animation Direction; 1988) is pure magic in hi-definition Blu-ray.
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: Academy Awards®: Win: Best Sound Editing for Charles L. Campbell and Louis Edemann. Win: Best Visual Effects and Best Film Editing. Nominated: Best Art Direction for Elliot Scott and Peter Howitt. Nominated: Best Cinematography and Best Sound for Robert Knudson, John Boyd, Don Digirolamo and Tony Dawe. Special Achievement Award for Richard Williams "for animation direction and creation of the cartoon characters." Saturn Award: Won: Best Fantasy Film. Won: Best Direction for Robert Zemeckis. Won: Special Visual Effects. Nominated: Bob Hoskins for his performance. Nominated: Christopher Lloyd for his performance. Nominated: Joanna Cassidy for her performance. 42nd British Academy Film Awards: Won: Best Visual Effects. Nominated: Best Screenplay for Jeffrey Price and Peter Seaman. Nominated: Best Cinematography for Dean Cundey. Nominated: Best Editing for Arthur Schmidt. Nominated: Best Production Design for Elliot Scott. Golden Globe® Awards: Nominated: Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy). Nominated: Bob Hoskins for his performance. Hugo Award: Won: Best Dramatic Presentation.
Cast/Voice Cast: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy, Charles Fleischer (voice), Stubby Kaye, Alan Tilvern, Richard LeParmentier, Lou Hirsch (voice), Betsy Brantley, Joel Silver, Paul Springer, Richard Ridings, Edwin Craig, Lindsay Holiday, Mike Edmonds, Morgan Deare, Laura Frances, Joel Cutrara, Billy J. Mitchell, Eric B. Sindon, Ed Herlihy, James O'Connell, Eugene Gutierrez, April Winchell (voice), Mae Questel (voice), Mel Blanc (voice), Tony Anselmo (voice), Mary T. Radford (voice), Joe Alaskey (voice), David L. Lander (voice), Fred Newman (voice), June Foray (voice), Russi Taylor (voice), Les Perkins Russi Taylor (voice), Richard Williams (voice), Wayne Allwine (voice), Pat Buttram (voice), Jim Cummings (voice), Jim Gallant (voice), Frank Sinatra (voice) (archive sound), Tony Pope (voice), Peter Westy (voice), Cherry Davis (voice), Jack Angel (voice) (uncredited), Jeff Arbaugh (uncredited), Nancy Cartwright (voice) (uncredited), Sadie Corre (uncredited), Christine Hewett (uncredited), Kit Hillier (uncredited), Lane Leavitt (uncredited), Derek Lyons (uncredited), Philip O'Brien (uncredited), Ken Ralston (uncredited), Kathleen Turner (voice) (uncredited) and Frank Welker (voice) (uncredited)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Producers: Alan Dewhurst (uncredited), Don Hahn, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Robert Watts, Steve Starkey and Steven Spielberg
Screenplay: Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman and Gary K. Wolf (novel)
Composer: Alan Silvestri
Cinematography: Dean Cundey
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: 5.1 DTS-HD High Resolutions, Italian: 5.1 Dolby Digital, German: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Suomi and Nederland
Running Time: 103 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Touchstone Home Entertainment
Andrew's Bu-ray Review: Among the summer blockbusters of the 1980s, ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’  stands out as a true original and audacious in concept, and bursting with ideas and innovation. Robert Zemeckis' film felt like something entirely new upon release, and because of the painstaking, hand-crafted animation and effects employed, and the unheard-of cooperation between studios, it remains a unique movie experience to this day.
Shortly after its publication, Walt Disney Pictures bought the film rights to the 1981 novel, “Who Censored Roger Rabbit?” by Gary K. Wolf. The book is set in modern day, and Roger is the star of a newspaper comic strip. He and his comic strip friends exist three-dimensionally in the real world, their word balloons visible above their heads when they speak. Early in Walt Disney Pictures script development, the concept was changed to cartoon characters living amongst humans. Director Robert Zemeckis was shown a draft of the script in 1982; he was enthusiastic, but the Disney regime of the time backed off due to budgetary concerns. Steven Spielberg later saw the script and arranged for his production company, Amblin Entertainment, to co-produce the film with Walt Disney Pictures, and bring Robert Zemeckis in as director. Robert Zemeckis turned the story into a period piece, specifically setting it in 1947. As he told Animation Magazine, "I had three reasons for that change: First, that it would make it timeless, second, it would help suspend the disbelief that this was happening in a “Once upon a time” era; and third, I couldn't figure out how you could mix the different styles of animation, so I felt we had to draw the line before the era of television."
'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' has aged remarkably well. 25 years after its release, in a time when mixing live-action with CGI creations is commonplace, 'Roger Rabbit' is still relevant. The way the live-action characters like Bob Hoskins specifically, interact with the animated characters is just as believable as modern day movies that are working with exponentially more technology than Robert Zemeckis had in 1988.
It wasn't the first time that animation and live-action were mixed, but it was the best. Robert Zemeckis recently gave an interview, in which he discussed how they were able to create the illusion so effectively. One aspect that he mentions is the fact that the camera actually moves around the animated characters, with the living actors still in frame. This was an extremely difficult job since up until then animations had simply been placed flat on the frame with the actors trying to act like they were really there. The technical wizardry applied here still astounds me. However, its technical savvy isn't the only reason to admire 'Roger Rabbit,' it's pretty damn funny too.
The world Robert Zemeckis developed here is one of the most immersive movie settings I've ever experienced. He creates a living breathing world in which humans and cartoons share the same space. Nothing ever feels forced or out of place. Instead, the entire experience is so completely integrated that you believe it implicitly. There's no need for strenuous, overdrawn exposition about why the Toons exist along with humans. All you need to know is that they do.
Roger Rabbit [Charles Fleischer] is the most famous Toon in Toontown. He was born... I mean drawn, to make people laugh. Sadly, he's fallen on hard times. His smokin' hot wife Jessica Rabbit [Kathleen Turner] may be cheating on him, and to top it all off, somebody has framed him for murder. Thrown into the mix is lonely private eye Eddie Valiant [Bob Hoskins]. Eddie hates Toons, "A Toon killed my brother," he sneers. But, Eddie also loves money, so he takes a job spying on Roger Rabbit's wife to see if she's up to no good.
What makes 'Roger Rabbit' so successful, other than the deftly executed technicalities of it all is the fact that the movie is wholly self-aware. It understands why Toons are funny and plays with the clichés. You get a sense of that awareness at the very beginning when Roger Rabbit, acting in an animated short, is unable to conjure up floating stars after being smashed by a fridge. Instead, tiny birds pop up and start flying around his noggin. "Stars, Roger! Stars!" the director yells. The movie is replete with this type of scene, moments that embrace the wackiness of a bygone era, when animated shorts involved little more than an anvil being dropped on someone's head.
'Roger Rabbit' is refreshingly adult. It doesn't shy away from cartoons cursing. It's also strange to see Mickey Mouse inhabiting the same screen as Baby Herman, but it happens here. Not to mention the fact that this is one of the only places you'll be able to see a brightly coloured clash of the imaginations of Walt Disney and Chuck Jones. Watching a Donald Duck and Daffy Duck duelling piano show is one of the many delights of the film. 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' is a true classic in terms of technical prowess and storytelling. Hoskins work here is more believable than many modern day actors can pull off with CGI helping them out. This is still, arguably, Robert Zemeckis' most inventive. Finally having it on Blu-ray is a treat. ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ is a landmark animation film to those in the animation industry. It came as a much-needed shot in the arm at a time when TV cartoons had reached a low point and feature-length animated films were bombing at the box office.
Blu-ray Video Quality – 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p presentation. You'll notice inconsistent blacks, wavering grain structures, flickering animation, and a line of other oddities as the film progresses. What you won't notice is any sign of extreme age or wear and tear. A lot of love has gone into bringing this movie to Blu-ray, yet the source material holds it back from becoming perfect. The good news is that most of the movie looks great. Whenever the stage is lit well the live-action and animation both shine. Detail is rich, giving us uninterrupted views of Bob Hoskins' inhuman amount of shoulder hair. Each hair is well-defined, as are the textures of Eddie's stereotypical private eye getup. I've never seen Jessica Rabbit's dress look so clear and gorgeously rendered. The moment she walks out on stage is a wow moment. Not just because of her well-endowed features, but because this is where you can tell the finer resolution is really giving this movie more visual oomph than it's ever had.
Blu-ray Video Quality – The Touchstone Entertainment 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix also features some troubling aspects that cropped up as a result of the tricky way in which the film was filmed. You'll most likely notice quite a few scenes, particularly the first time Eddie and Roger visit the bar, where some instances when inconsistent and muffled voices stick out like a sore thumb. In that scene, a few voices sound otherworldly, and a few instances remain where sound doesn't sync up to the moving lips. Alan Silvestri's memorable score, which not so coincidentally has a ton in common with the score to 'Back to the Future,' holds up very well here. His rousing strings and booming drums are given ample room to spread out and keep the movie tense. Rear channels are filled with ambient sound. The busy streets of Los Angeles feature cars driving by in the background and people milling about, whereas the zany streets of Toontown are an all-out riot in the rear channels. It really adds to the overall enjoyment of the movie. It's like you're being surrounded by Toons. Aside from a few dialogue missteps here and there, most of it comes across as being clearly intelligible. Cartoon-inspired sound effects have a decent depth to them and is deep and well-resolved. I found the Touchstone Entertainment audio mix to be a playful, immersive experience.
Blu-ray Special features and extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary Director Robert Zemeckis, producer Frank Marshall, associate producer Steve Starkey, visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston and co-writers Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman: They methodically inch their way through the film, discussing the genesis of the project, developing and writing the story and script, the creation of the animated characters, the design, animation and voice work, and Steven Speilberg's personal wrangling of multiple studios and licensing departments, the innovative techniques used to blend Roger Rabbit's animation and live-action footage more seamlessly than had been seen on screen before, and everything from the film's casting to its editing, music and reception.
Special Feature: The Roger Rabbit Shorts [Digitally Restored] [1080p] [25:00] Three Maroon Cartoons from Roger's past and includes Tummy Trouble, Roller Coaster Rabbit and Trail Mix-Up. Digitally restored and presented in high definition with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround.
Special Feature: Who Made Roger Rabbit [480i] [11.00] Mini-documentary hosted by Charles Fleischer, the voice of Roger Rabbit. Hosts this brief behind-the-scenes documentary, which, like most every other special feature on the disc, has been ported over from the previously released DVD edition of the film. Special guest appearance by the Roger Rabbit himself.
Deleted Scene: The Pig Head Sequence [6.00] "The Pig Head Sequence" with an introduction by the filmmakers.
Special Feature: Before and After [1080p] [3.00] Split screen comparison with and without animation. Compare raw production footage with final live-action/animation shots.
Special Feature: Toons Stand-Ins Documentary [3.00] Rehearsing with stand-ins for the Toons. This is a short documentary explaining the rubber models and the people they used to stand in for the animation that would be added in later.
Special Feature: Behind The Ears: The True Story of Roger Rabbit [37.00] An exclusive, in-depth, behind-the-scene documentary. An extensive, far more worthwhile documentary, complete with revealing on-set footage and dailies, countless interviews with key members of the cast and crew, and a thoroughly candid overview of the production.
Special Feature: On Set! Benny the Cab [5.00] The making of a scene from the film with: Director Robert Zemeckis and company go about their business as cameras capture their process.
Finally, there are so many reasons to love 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' It's an innovative idea that was taken to a whole new level by Robert Zemeckis and his crew. He truly had a vision of what the movie could be like if done right and they succeeded by any measure. Not only is the technical side of the movie impressive, but the entire world created here is completely overpowering. It sucks you into a strange alternate reality where cartoons inhabit the same world as people. Disney has done an admirable job restoring the animation film for HD treatment. The video has a few problems here and there, but should, on the whole, make fans happy. The audio mix sounds great though, barring a few minor glitches. 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' is highly recommended and ever since I viewed this at the cinema and on an inferior Region 1 DVD I have loved the film, as it was at the time so ahead of its time in combining Actors and Cartoon Characters with Disney and the M-G-M Musicals, which has been always successful, but with today's computer technology the process of putting Actors with Cartoon Characters is so much easier, whereas when this film was made, the logistics were so much of a headache. But despite this, this is a fantastic beautiful Blu-ray and it has now gone pride of place in my ever increasing Steven Spielberg Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom