Who Framed Roger Rabbit

A Hollywood entertainment that lived up to its hype, this zany detective story (1988), set in Tinseltown 1947, follows the efforts of gumshoe Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) to clear the name of cartoon character Roger Rabbit when he becomes the main suspect in a murder case. The movie, which combines live action and animation with breathtaking wizardry, was coproduced by the studios of Disney and Steven Spielberg; Robert Zemeckis is the director, and the script is by Jeffrey Price and Peter Seaman (based on a novel by Gary K. Wolf). As a labor of love it’s deeply moving: cartoon characters are treated as a repressed minority threatened by genocide, and gumshoes out of Raymond Chandler (or even Robert Towne) are almost equally archaic. Giving them all one last, delirious fling, the filmmakers create a densely upholstered universe where the denizens of both worlds mingle and learn from one another; a villain from the days of silent movies (Christopher Lloyd’s Judge Doom) is thrown in for good measure. Alternately hilarious, frightening, and awesome. PG, 103 min. (JR)

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