Posted in: Disc Reviews by Archive Authors on April 3rd, 2003
Originally released in 1988 this film received 4 Academy awards (Best film editing, best sound effects editing, best visual effects, special achievement in animation direction) and was the first film to feature a combination of live action and traditional cell drawn animation. Before any of the other big budget animation films of the 90’s (think the Little Mermaid, The Lion King, etc.) there was Roger Rabbit. This film spawned the animation revolution of the 90’s and there still to this day is nothing like it. One pa…t slap stick comedy and film noir equals a whole lot of fun for you and old as this is not your everyday kids cartoon. The computer animated film of today are great but, after watching Roger Rabbit and remembering just who well shot, directed, written and drawn this film is you can’t help but get nostalgic for the good old days of traditional animation.
Toon star Roger is worried that his wife Jessica is playing patty cake with someone else, in comes washed up detective Eddy Valant to spy on her. But the stakes are quickly raised when Marvin Acme is found dead and Roger is framed for his murder. On the way to redemption we uncover a sinister plot to wipe out all of toon town for good. A movie for young and old alike truly one of the best films to ever come out of Hollywood and Robert Zemekis.
Having received an Oscar for Sound effects in 1988 and sporting a brand new Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 audio track my expectations going into this where pretty high. I am happy to report I was not disappointed, the audio on this disc is reference quality the rear channels are well used with all kinds of cartoon effects, the sound is full and enveloping but, never over powering. Bass is full and punchy and the dialogue is flawless. Touchstone has done a first rate job with this audio transfer.
Seeing as this film is half cartoon and half film noir we have a perfect blend of bright happy colors and dark dreary settings. When we are in toon town everything is bright and bold, stepping into the seedy underworld we see muted colors and lots of dark shadows. As a film noir this transfer is again near perfect, there maybe lots of dark corners but we never loose the detail and when called for the colors are bright and lively just like the cartoon characters. Again this is a reference quality video transfer that Touchstone obviously spent a great deal of time on.
Where do we begin….this film comes on two discs, disc one contains a family friendly 1.33:1 full screen transfer and is missing the infamous baby Herman scene. On this disc there are also a number of kid friendly features like a fun and lively “Who made Roger Rabbit” featurette, three different shorts and a set-top DVD game for the kids.
Discs two is labeled as the enthusiast disc and contains a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer with the infamous baby Herman scene. As for extras, this disc has a commentary track with Robert Zemeckis, Frank Marshall, Jeffrey Price, Peter Seaman, Steve Starkey and Ken Ralston. There is also a second commentary of sorts called “Toontown Confidential” which is really a viewing option that gives intriguing and funny trivia almost like a closed caption at the bottom of the screen throughout the film.
There are four different “making of” featurettes as well, one showing how they rehearsed the live action sequences with stand-ins, another showing side by side comparisons with and without the animation, a step by step breakdown of a scene (how the animation and effects where added) and your run of the mill making of documentary. The menus on the discs are also of the animated variety featuring “Benny the Cab”.
This is a ground breaking film that helped to usher in a new standard for animation, it is a ton of fun for both adults and kids and should enjoyed by all. Not to mention the reference quality audio and video transfers, this is one of those films that reminds you just what it is that makes going to the movies so much fun.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- “Who Made Roger Rabbit” featuette
- “Behind the Ears: The True Story of Roger Rabbit” documentary
- Set-top game, “Trouble in Toontown”
- Deleted scene, “The Pig Head Sequence”
- “Toon Stand-Ins” featurette
- Toontown Confidential–pop-up style trivia viewing mode
- The Valiant Files–interactive set-top gallery
- Split screen comparison
- Roger Rabbit shorts: “Tummy Trouble,” “Rollercoaster Rabbit,” and “Trail Mix-Up”