Friday, January 23, 2015

Favorite Scene Friday! Who Framed Roger Rabbit?: Badly Drawn Girl

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is one of those movies, along with the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Terminator 2, where I still can't quite fathom how it was made when it was. It was released in 1988, and there isn't a moment when I think about this and it doesn't boggle my mind. The seamless integration of animation with live action would be impressive today, 27 years later, and there are times in this film that I'm still not quite sure how they did it.

The scene I'm looking at today is not one such moment, but it's still a great scene that uses the mixture of mediums very well. We've already met Jessica Rabbit (voiced by Kathleen Turner, body provided with thanks from my adolescent dreams) with her song-and-dance number (which is worthy of a Favorite Scene Friday in its own right) but here she truly takes on the role of the film noir femme fatale, visiting our heroic gumshoe Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins, who apparently never actually met Kathleen Turner) in his rundown office and a state of undress, coaxing him further into the film's plot.

First off, let's get it out the way, the animation of Jessica is stunning, Her character design is the epitome of, well, teenage boner causing, helped of course by Turner's sultry voice, that jello-on-springs saunter and the heavy use of double entendres ("My offer stands firm, think about it."). As much as I'm a fan of Jessica, what really makes the scene is Hoskins. He has no shame in essentially looking like a pudgy gorilla, dressed in just his unbelted trousers and a tie, dangling loose over his hairy chest. The last thing he expects is to have a woman looking like Jessica Rabbit come into his office. The bit with the mirror, which Jessica is holding but shows Hoskins' reflection, is perfectly framed, visually iconic and technically impressive, as is Eddie's head bouncing off Jessica's ample bosom as he stands up, caught in the act by his girlfriend, accusing him of dabbling in watercolors.

Robert Zemeckis used to direct amazing, crowd-pleasing, genre-hopping films, but the last great one he made was back in 1994 with Forrest Gump. Sure, he's made some good movies since - Contact and Cast Away, for example -  but nothing has reached the heady heights of the likes of Gump, Roger Rabbit and, of course, Back to the Future. I'm glad he's no longer dabbling in exclusively motion-capture stuff, but Flight was underwhelming and the upcoming The Walk looks about the same. I need Zemeckis to find his fun side again, and I hope it happens soon. He was always great at pushing the boundaries of the medium, as shown in today's scene, but it's been a long time since he's done so whilst still producing a highly entertaining movie.

What's your favorite scene from Who Framed Roger Rabbit

 AND do you think Robert Zemeckis can make another great movie?

1 comment:

  1. I feel like I should love this movie more than I do. I have nothing against it, but I don't consider it a favorite or anything. But I love Zemeckis and the tone/style/plot.

    My favorite scene (this one's good - in fact, anything with Jessica is good :)) has gotta be the stuff at the end. I'm pretty sure I have nightmares about Christopher Lloyd every now and then.

    You know how I feel about Contact and Cast Away is excellent IMO. But yeah, nothing can quite touch Gump for me. Flight was better than I was expecting. The Walk seems unnecessary. Man On Wire was enough. I hope he does something great again. Hopeful yes on that second question.