When it was released to the cinemas, in 1988, this film had queues literally around the block. It was, as they say, a genuine block buster.
The plot is quite simple. It’s a period private eye story, with Eddie Valiant employed by the motion picture company Maroon Cartoons to keep an eye on big star Roger Rabbit and to investigate Roger’s wife Jessica.
There’s a strong cast. Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy, Kathleen Turner. Oh yes, and a cast of animated stars from all eras.
“Roger Rabbit” was hailed for its mix of live and animated charaters who interact. As we know, it had been done before. “Mary Poppins” had done it, but of course it was being done one hundred years ago. What made this film better than the rest was partly the quality of the animation, produced by the Richard Williams studios in London. The animated characters interact with real objects, not like “Mary Poppins” where all the props are animated. All hand drawn animation too.
The film starts with a Roger Rabbit short which parodies so many of the mainly 1940s shorts, especially ones produced by Warners, and is hilariously funny.
Hoskins plays it straight. Many great animated stars make an appearance, including Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, various ducks and even Betty Boop.
It may have animation but it’s not a story for children.
It seems to be somewhat forgotten these days, and is rarely shown on tv, in the UK at least. But there is a newish 4K edition that shows it is still entertaining and funny. You forget just how good this film is. You have to be impressed with the skill and effort that went into the making of this film.
And the original book by Gary K. Wolf is good too.