Well, for one it’s a classic. For two, it was the first movie to mix animation and live action. For three, it brought back a focus on the Golden Age of cartoons.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is cartoon nostalgia at its finest. References to Roger Rabbit’s wife, Jessica Rabbit are still as popular as ever. But let’s take an in-depth look at why this film did so well, and it still considered a classic.
The movie was released in 1998 by Walt Disney and directed by Steven Spielberg. It stares Bob Hopkins as an alcoholic detective.
The backdrop is Los Angeles in the late 1940sw. When Roger Rabbit can’t see stars in the opening scene, his boss R.K. Maroon, head of Maroon Cartoons, sends in Eddie Valiant to investigate Roger’s wife, Jessica.
Who Is Jessica Rabbit?
At first, Valiant just doesn’t get it, why would humans go so crazy over a cartoon, that is until he sees Jessica for himself. He sees Marvin Acme in the crowd, waiting for the rabbit’s wife, and we get a glimpse of Betty Boop while Donald and Daffy Duck battle each other on the keys.
After Jessica Rabbit’s performance, Valiant catches her and Marvin Acme playing “patty-cake,” which was super creepy and confusing for me as a kid, and still is as an adult. Valiant takes photos for evidence and shares them with Maroon and Roger. Roger freaks out and leaves, and the next day Marvin Acme is found dead.
Then enters Judge Doom, the judge overseeing Toontown. At this point, everyone thought it was impossible to kill a toon, but Judge Doom invents something called the “dip” that makes the act not only possible but horrifying.
No Fair Trial for Toons
For Judge Doom, there’s no trial for Roger – he wants him dead – and he sends his goons the Weasels off to find him. And Doom almost catches Roger when he can’t resist the “shave and haircut” bid.
From there, it’s a race for Roger to escape the grasp of Judge Doom, and even though Valiant hates toons, he agrees to help Roger. Valiant is grumpy and hates toons ever since a toon killed his brother. The ending has a great twist, and when Valiant visits Toontown in search of Jessica Rabbit, we get to see Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and a host of other classic cartoons.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit reminds how important it is to not let go of our childlike wonder, and the big place that cartoons hold in our culture. It really is a classic, and I hope it’s around for years and years to come.