Twenty-five years after its release, it’s still a wonder that “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” was ever made. Not only did it combine a live action period detective film with an animated film and a special effects film, but it also brought classic Disney and Warner Brothers characters together on the big screen for the first, and likely last, time. It was an astounding feat by executive producer Steven Spielberg and director Robert Zemeckis to see this timeless classic to completion where today’s it’s still lauded as a milestone in filmmaking history.
Now available on Blu-ray, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” finally reaches home audiences in high-definition and the blend of real-life actors and sets with animated characters still looks as perfect and seamless as ever, even by today’s standards. Credit goes to a talented team of artists who did not employ the use of a single computer generated image in creating the film’s 80,000+ hand-drawn frames of carefully shaded and composited animation.
Anyone who loves this film as much as I do will not be disappointed by its HD presentation, looking like it’s fresh out of Toontown. From Jessica’s sparkling dress to the weasels’ maniacal fits of laughter, every moment appears to believably be on set alongside Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, and the rest of the perfectly fitting cast. And Charles Fleischer’s immediately recognizable voice alongside an animated cast of hundreds all sound great too.
It’s disappointing that in the last 25 years Disney and Amblin Entertainment haven’t found a way to continue Roger Rabbit’s legacy. Other than a recent rare appearance at Disneyland (along with a wild ride in the park), fans won’t find much Roger around. Fortunately, this new Blu-ray release does offer three classic shorts, available in high-definition for the first time: Tummy Trouble, Roller Coaster Rabbit, and Trail Mix-Up. With Disney and Pixar so successfully creating new animated shorts over the last 15 years or so, Roger is just begging to “p-p-p-please” have another turn.
Those wanting to dive deeper into the creation of this technological marvel of a film will only find bonus features brought back from past releases. They’re still informative and entertaining, particularly the “Behind the Ears” making-of featurette, but all are presented in standard-definition with nothing new shot for this Blu-ray version.
Though the recently-released “Wreck-It Ralph” drew comparisons for its use of licensed video game characters across multiple gaming companies, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” is so much more than a good animated film with carefully written legal agreements. “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” lives on as the ultimate example of a perfect combination of mediums to create a movie with a great story, lots of heart, and certainly endless laughs.
“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” is now available on Blu-ray from Amazon and other major retailers.
(This Blu-ray was originally scheduled to be released on March 12, 2013 but a production error caused the delay of many copies and subsequently this review.)