Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pubbbleeeze! I'm Just a Toon!

Well, its been a strangely blah weekend with many ups and middles (no downs really...just spots where I wish I could have had more ups).  I finally started to cheer up yesterday, and then went to the Homecoming Dance to watch the kiddos.  That ended up being more fun that I thought it would be because I got partnered with one of the new math teachers and she was a lot of fun to talk to.  We told funny stories and chatted with our students all evening.  If it hadn't been for two fights (oh the drama) the night would have been super.  Then I slept like a baby, though I did notice that the house was getting chillier.  So I've got the heat on low today to help get me used to it.  Xander's been feeling a chill too, so I turned his heating pad on.  He was happy as a...well....snake, balled up under his log.  He got fed today too, which always makes him pleasant to be around.  You can't handle him for two days after a feeding, which always makes me sadish.  I am quite attached to him and like having him on my lap in the evenings.  I know he's not a dog, but he brings me comfort all the same.  Anyway, I'm gonna hop back in with an oldie and a goodie from the late 1980s...but its not one of those saturated present day tales that revels in 80s culture, rather it is a period piece mystery with a twist on the old formula.  Afterall, its not everyday that an intrepid detective gets to team up with a cartoon rabbit.  So lets head back in time to those glorious Hollywood days of the 40s and find out Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

 Its 1947 and Hollywood animation is in full swing.  All the big studios such as Warner Bros., Disney, and Tex Avery are churning out more and more shorts and features with their hot stars such as Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, and Droopy Dog.  Smaller studios are struggling to keep up, but Maroon Cartoons isn't doing to badly with their stars Roger Rabbit and Baby Herman.  However, R.K. Maroon is worried about his rabbit star, because he keeps blowing his lines and screwing up takes.  He believes that it is troubles at home that are messing up Roger's concentration...so he hires Detective Eddie Valiant to take some pictures of Roger's wife Jessica cheating on him with Marvin Acme, the head of ACME Industries.  Soon, Acme is dead and the police suspect Roger of the killing.  Judge Doom, the presiding Judge of Toontown,  is out to get Roger for the crime and intends to 'dip' him...which is the only way to kill a toon.  Roger, seeing Eddie as responsible for his predicament, goes to Eddie and annoys him into helping solve the crime and clear his good name.  Meanwhile, Eddie and Roger must keep dodging Jessica, Judge Doom, and the Weasel Gang since there's no one they can trust.

What a fun, entertaining, and exciting film.  Who knew that you could combine an old Hollywood-style film noir mystery with the Golden Age of animation and create one of the best-loved and widely-seen comedies of all time.  Roger Rabbit does so many things right that its hard to spot the elements that it does wrong...such as the mystery's denouncement or the illusion of there being suspects in the tale.  I mean, did any of us really doubt that Judge Doom was the villain behind everything?  However, so much is manic and believable about the story that we don't care at all.  Even the tacked on idea that Doom is the same toon that killed Eddie's brother fits in perfectly because the film has drawn us in so effectively.  By that point, they could have revealed that Doom was the shark from Jaws and we wouldn't have cared.  Special consideration must be given to Bob Hoskins who plays the worn-out detective Valiant and who must constantly act with cartoon characters who aren't really there.  Not only does he never falter at the task, but he is instrumental in making you believe that Roger and the others are there in the room.  Props also to the animators who not only had to create the animated characters for the film, but had to add elements that made the characters more 3-D in appearance by adding shadows and highlights all in separately photographed layers.  They make it all look so easy, but the truth is far from it.  Everyone should watch this one again and rediscover how good it really is.

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