A detective (Bob Hoskins) with a long-held grudge against cartoons, gets drawn into Toontown when popular actor Roger Rabbit (Charles Fleischer), who stars as himself in cartoon serials, is set up for the murder of businessman Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye), last seen playing patty-cake with Roger’s wife Jessica (Kathleen Turner).
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? succeeds as both a send-up of cartoons and a loving homage, in the most brightly coloured film noir ever created. Produced by the House of Mouse, Roger Rabbit’s ridiculously over-the-top antics seem designed to lampoon the Looney Tunes style, but thanks to producer Steven Spielberg’s considerable clout, the Tunes pop up alongside well-known Disney characters in what can only be described as The Expendables of Golden Age toonery.
It succeeds in every way that Space Jam fails, with excellent animation, ingenious melding of 2D characters with a 3D world, and the benefit of a superb central performance from a professional actor. Christopher Lloyd is also brilliant as human villain Judge Doom, managing to hold his own against his super-human co-stars. It even features voicework from the legendary Mel Blanc, just before his death in 1988.
While it’s certainly taking the Mickey, it nonetheless features plenty of genuinely entertaining cartoon antics, and pulls no punches with some surprisingly adult themes. Clearly made with oodles of imagination, it’s a finely-tooned effort which has stood the test of time. Welease woger!