Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Who Framed Roger Rabbit


I would have sworn there was a question mark at the end of this title, but there isn’t. That got me to wondering, why not. It’s based on a novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf: who knows how to punctuate? I came up with three possible explanations:
1. It’s not a question, it’s the solution. Roger Rabbit was framed by Who. You know, Who, the first baseman in Abbott and Costello’s classic “Who’s on First” routine.
2. Same as above, but it’s a mispeling. Roger was framed by Hu Jintao, the President of China. Hu Framed Roger Rabbit. The damn Red Chinese, that’s hu.
3. My own choice: It’s the poster art. When talking about the movie to their friends, they knew people weren’t going to say “Did you see Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” They would say, “Did you see Roger Rabbit.” When you look at the poster, that’s what you see. It’s only on second glance that you realize it is
Who Framed
Roger Rabbit
Aren’t you glad to have that finally explained.
Movies don’t get much better than this. It’s 22 years old now, and it’s astonishing how they did all this with no computers. (Well, not during the principle photography and the addition of animation, though Industrial Light and Magic did some SFX tinkering later involving light and shadowing and layering of textures to make the toons more 3D.) You could probably watch it 20 times and still see things you missed when you watched it the 21st time. It is jammed full of insider jokes, references to other movies and other cartoons, and it contains appearances from just about every toon who ever graced a cel at the Walt Disney Studios and the Warner Brothers’ Termite Terrace, as well as cameos by stars like Betty Boop (out of work since cartoons went to color) and Woody Woodpecker. I didn’t see Tom and Jerry from the MGM animation department, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out they were there. Droopy Dog had a small role, and he was created by Tex Avery at MGM. Avery strongly influenced all the kinetic action scenes, particularly the business he would do with bulging eyeballs when a character was frightened or astonished. The story is strong, and so are the production values, such as the creation of the old Red Cars, which Cloverleaf Corporation is buying up so they can tear them out and replace them with freeways.
There has been talk for years about a sequel, and everyone involved seemed to be interested at one point or another, but nothing has happened. I guess it’s in development hell. I’m ambivalent. I’d like to see more, but that’s so often a bad idea. The DVD contains a “making of” featurette and three Maroon Cartoons: “Tummy Trouble,” “Roller Coaster Rabbit,” and “Trail Mix-up.”