Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy
When I was a kid, I HATED this movie. That’s right, I’ve always been a bitter old asshole. However, I think in this case the main reason I didn’t like it was because a friend and I always tried to play the tie-in NES game and god damn is that the most frustrating thing you can possibly try to do when you’re seven. Anyway, I figured I’d give it another chance now that I’m nearly 30 and I haven’t played that game in, oh, about a year or so. Still can’t beat the damn thing.
An alcoholic detective down on his luck (Hoskins) gets embroiled in a scheme way over his head, a la Chinatown. Only this scandal is about Christopher Lloyd wanting to build a highway through the town where cartoon characters live, and oh yes also cartoon characters are real and they live on Earth and nobody minds that it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
Okay, here’s the reason this movie exists in the pop culture conciousness at all: Technically speaking, the way they combined live action and animation is amazing. It’s still clearly very rough, but this is 1988 we’re talking about here. And hell, they do a better job in Roger Rabbit than they do in The Phantom Menace. Also, Bob Hoskins plays the role of the loser detective/ex-circus clown to a T, and it’s hard to imagine many other people being able to pull of an oddball character like that. The faults are a little more major, in my opinion. With all the effort spent on the effects, the story takes a far back seat, and it reads like the most generic possible detective story you can imagine. It’s like an episode of Police Squad! without the comedy. Also, Roger Rabbit is the most fucking obnoxious character and you can’t help but root for his death in every scene. But maybe that’s just me, I know I have a much lower tolerance for the “funny” annoying guy archetype than most.