Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Survey of Animation, Film Response, Writing

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was directed by Robert Zemeckis and produced by Jeffrey Price and Robert Watts in 1988. It is categorized as an American fantasy comedy film, meaning the film was made for humorous purposes; this film was based on the novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf. In 1981, Walt Disney Productions bought the film rights to this story and started hiring new people, changing the script, moving the filming, and setting a larger budget. When released on June 22, 1988 the film was a success and received a multitude of positive reviews; this film received four Academy Awards and was one of the top grossing films of the year.

The technical work on this film combined ink-and-paint cartoon characters with live actors making it unforgettable. Although companies have attempted to combine hand drawn cartoons and live action (Disney’s Song of the South and Mary Poppins), they have not been as successful as Who Framed Roger Rabbit. To produce this film, they drew the animations and placed after the live photography was shot. The film used light in a new way to create realistic 3D effects on the cartoons to give a realistic feeling. Also the cartoons seemed to interact perfectly with the live actors and objects because they placed the animations after the photographs.

Prior to this film, films with cartoons and actors did not run as smooth or become as successful because the animation did not fit  with the live actors as well. Disney’s Mary Poppins was mostly a live action movie with animated sequences, but was mostly all live action instead of animation. After Who Framed Roger Rabbit premiered, other animated and live-action films started releasing including Space Jam just a year later. Warner Brothers produced Space Jam with mostly all of animation with live action using the new technology of the time: computers. Warner Brothers made the life action film on a green screen and uploaded it to the computer and made the animation and colored it on the computer and combined the films.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is unique and well known because of the perfectly combined live-action and animation, the way Disney used light to create 3D effects, and the camera movement to reduce the static look. These animation techniques created a new effect that cartoons and live-action could be together in films giving cartoons a real-life feeling that it could happen but with all the antics cartoons have.

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