Bobs Hoskins,Christopher Lloyd,Joanna Cassidy,CharlesFleischer, Stubby Kaye,Alan Tilvern and a super multitude of Voice Actors, Artists and Technicians.Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Lord! What a crazy premise for a film!
When we were kids, we often asked some of the most outlandish questions, like: Who's stronger, Superman or Captain Marvel? Who'd win in a fight, King Kong or Mighty Joe Young? Did Adam and Eve have Belly Buttons? Kids don't realize that different characters belong to different companies and couldn't and wouldn't appear together, or would they?
Director Zemeckis, Author Gary K. Wolf and the immense crew, all try to ask and answer a similarly "impossible" situational occurrence. Just what if all of Hollywood's animated Cartoon characters were really live creatures called "Toons", and what would happen if they had scandals like their human counterparts?
Our old suspension of disbelief is supposed to bring us to a Post World War II Hollywood, where we find that the animated cartoon characters that we know from the local movie house, are really living, breathing creatures! Well, after e see the opening, Director Robert Zemeckis has us won over to his side.
Private Investigator, Eddie Valiant, is summoned by Movie Mogul R.K. Maroon to his Studio to take a job. Because the subject of the case is their Star Cartoon Character, Roger Rabbit, the Detective balks at accepting the assignment because, "I don't work for Toons!"(A Toon being one of these "living" cartoon characters.)
The economic situation at The Valiant Detective Agency dictates otherwise and Eddie is off. The Game's afoot!
As the story unfolds we learn of previous happenings in Valiant's life. We find out that his brother and partner in the Private I business was killed by a Toon in Toon Town, apparently the name for their section of Hollywood/L.A.
The story unfolds like an artichoke, revealing a secretive world of crime, illicit sex and political corruption that would be the envy of Dashiel Hammett's Sam Spade, Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe or the Robert Towne/Roman Polanski collaboration on CHINATOWN(1974).
Like the meandering of a great river, the plot twists and turns wherein we finally have the answer to the Roger Rabbit's accused whodunnit, but also to the killing of Eddie Valiant's brother, who was_______________! No, that would definitely be a spoiler!
The film succeeds on several levels. Obviously it is a great animated feature, and one surely unlike any that have gone before. Chances are there will be other efforts (like the very enjoyable Warner Brother/Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies production of SPACE JAM(1996)starring Michael Jordan, Wayne Knight, Bill Murray, Charles Barkley, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester, Tweety, Taz Devil, Foghorn Leghorn, et al......)
It is also a very good spoof of the Hard Boiled Detective story or even the Film Noir genre that had gotten so popular during and (especially) after World War II. The sets, the costuming, hair styles,the fashions and the vintage autos made it very much of a period piece.
So, no matter what, this WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? was nothing special, I mean there's no deep meaning, no symbolism, no message-right? Well, I'm not so sure. Please, indulge me and check out what follows.
Well, to begin with Eddie Valiant expresses a deep dislike for this certain group, these TOONS. His brother was killed by a TOON. The two brothers had been cops in TOON TOWN. And when the mention was made of that INK AND PAINT Club, followed by the caveat,"Humans Only!"
Now, can you think of any real life situation that would put you to thinking about this situation? Where did we have sections of a city that were occupied by one group but had entertainment establishments that catered to those from outsider their local community? Was there or is there still sections of a city referred to as being (Blank!)Town? Maybe it's just my overactive imagination!
But, I don't think so.