Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Imagine a movie filled with mystery, sexual allure, intrigue, and conspiracy. Now imagine if that movie had Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse in it. Now imagine if the movie was live action, but also animated. Does your head hurt yet? Good, because that’s part of the fun of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Combining the intrigue and mystery of Raymond Chandler with the inane lunacy and comedy of Looney Tunes, Roger Rabbit is what happens when you combine the hilarity of classic cartoons with the mystery thrill of classic private detective stories. That’s actually the entire premise right there. Set in Los Angeles in 1947, the story pairs a hardboiled detective and a cartoon rabbit to solve a murder mystery, and the thrills and laughs continue from there.

The movie is just more than a romping display of animation. It in fact brought animation out of an age when it was considered just for children, proving that cartoons could be not just adult oriented, but as captivating and serious as full live action. Granted the animation stands out given when the movie was made, but that’s just part of the movie’s charm.

The movie itself is loosely based on a novel, loosely being the operative word. The novel came out in 1981, and the movie came out in 1988, which is pretty darn impressive when you watch the movie and see how well the two genres are blended given the time.

The movie is well regarded, with a 97% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Considering how vicious the Tomato folks can be, that really says something about the movie right there. If you’re a fan of film noir, detective stories, cartoon hilarity, and any combination thereof, this movie is definitely worth a look.

The ‘80’s were a strange time, and this movie can be a bit trippy itself, but that’s just to be expected from combining animation and live action. Few other mixed mediums can bring together the serious nature of noir and the hilarity of cartoon shenanigans without breaking the flow or tone of the story. Such endeavors were repeated in the ‘90’s with movies like Space Jam, but they are few and far between. This is a shame, because these sorts of movies are great for both how inane they are and how seriously they take themselves while being utterly ridiculous. Somehow, the two genres blend together to create an experience like no other. There’s just something about the mix of live action and animation that creates a world of fun and engagement regardless of the movie itself.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a delightful romp of cartoon hilarity and detective noir blended together to create an experience like no other. Only the mixed medium of live action and animation can allow such inanity to be taken seriously. The movie is definitely worth a watch for fans of classic animation, those nostalgic for the 1980’s, and fans of noir alike. There’s something for fans of all those genres to enjoy.