How many movies can boast that they feature a scene with Mickey Mouse cracking jokes with Bugs Bunny? Only one, Robert Zemeckis’ “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” Zemeckis, with the help of Steven Spielberg, made a landmark film in 1988 that brought visual effects to a new level and entertained audiences both young and old. Fifteen years later, “Roger Rabbit” hits DVD in a feature filled special edition.
A film noir story set in a 1950s where humans live side-by-side with cartoons, “Roger Rabbit” focuses on the relationship between private detective Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins, “Super Mario Bros.”) and the framed titular character Roger (voiced by Charles Fleischer). The plot serves as a device to enable the ludicrous and vivid world of cartoons into a real world setting. Jessica Rabbit (voiced by Kathleen Turner) still walks that fine line between reality and animation and all of the characters in Roger’s universe, from Baby Herman to Bennie the Cab, provide laughs and originality.
The DVD is loaded with extras and stands as an example of what a great DVD release should be. The picture is clear and the colors are vivid on both discs. The first, labeled “family friendly,” features the full-screen version, while the second disc, labeled “for the enthusiast,” has the wide-screen edition.
The Dolby Digital sound is available in several languages and multiple commentary tracks, which are interesting considering the effects and those involved, are included. The “family friendly” disc has the “Roger Rabbit” short cartoons that were featured before a few Disney movies back in the late ’80s. Disc two has an hour-long documentary behind the making of the film, which thrives because of the intricacies of the special effects in 1988, done without any computer animation.
While some DVDs provide a plethora of deleted scenes, “Roger Rabbit” features only one, but it is a fully done sequence that is interesting, but enhances the film with its deletion. Also present is running trivia boxes similar to those on the VH1 show “Pop-up Video.”
“Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” still stands as one of the most visually stunning films of the past 20 years. The special edition DVD set is a great way to watch “Roger Rabbit” and to understand the incredible work that went into making this revolutionary film.
Movie: 4 Stars
Picture/Sound: 4 Stars
Bonus Features: 5 Stars