In a time when VHS is out of style and DVD is in, it’s not enough to make a good movie. It’s a necessity to put out a good DVD. Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which does both, is a brilliantly made feature, where actors and cartoons live in the same world, and the DVD contains enough extra features for an entirely new movie. They inform, entertain and provide any Roger Rabbit fan with enough trivia to surprise even the most knowledgeable.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a story of a cartoon character falsely accused of murder. That’s right, in case you forgot the story, the late 1940s was an era when Hollywood wasn’t meant just for the live performing stars. There was a section of old Los Angeles reserved for cartoons. In that long forgotten town, the toons were a big part of the industry. They were highly valued for being an eccentric and integral part of film.
But something is happening to Toontown’s main star, Roger Rabbit. His boss suspects that he’s down because Roger’s wife Jessica Rabbit, a toon bombshell, has been less than faithful. He hires detective Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) to prove Jessica and Toontown owner Marvin Acme are frequently seen together.
But when Acme is found murdered, Roger is the only reasonable suspect. He claims he’s innocent. Somehow, Roger manages to convince Eddie to investigate the murder. This leads Eddie to discover secrets about Hollywood’s most notorious individuals.
The film, a winner of four Academy Awards in 1988, is one of the first feature-length films to incorporate animation and live action.
The two-disc DVD set contains both the enthusiast widescreen and the family friendly fullscreen versions of the film. Both discs include special features, however the widescreen disc overflows with them.
Compellingly designed, the features vary from an audio commentary with the filmmakers to an interactive gallery of sketches and information.
The second DVD also contains the only deleted scene of the film (which deserves neither inclusion nor cutting — it just is) where Eddie gets a toon head drawn on him. The scene is accompanied by filmmaker commentary.
There are also features that help the viewer understand how the movie was made.
They showcase how the actors trained with stand-ins for toons and then the real shots without animation.
“Before and After” concentrates on the way the film looked with and without the drawn-in animation.
Another feature shows the screen test for the movie.
“The Valiant Files” lets the viewer explore Eddie’s office and look through his personal belongings to gather more information about how the movie was made, the preliminary sketches, the final drawings and the models of the set.
Possibly the most entertaining way to watch the movie is the “Toontown Confidential” version where the bottom of the screen is host to surprising and interesting trivia about the way the movie was made. It talks about the elements included in the film and seems much like a movie adaptation of VH1’s Pop-up video.
The fullscreen disc includes Roger Rabbit shorts and a short documentary about how Who Framed Roger Rabbit was created.
The DVD features complement the movie well. It is engaging and it contains enough features to allow the viewer to watch something new every time they pop the disc back in the player.
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