It’s been decades since Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
came out and in a very real way, Robert Zemeckis
has yet to push beyond the vision the writer-director showed in this 1988 wonder. The exquisite balance he achieves here is between animation and film noir, the latter element anchored by Bob Hoskins
’ cartoon-bigoted private investigator, and in the balance, he finds a radical idea and conveys it with tremendous humor, inventiveness, and a clever way with story structure. In making Hoskins’ character the lead investigator in the case of a cuckolded cartoon and the murder of a studio head, Zemeckis essentially relates film noir, often considered a more adult and artful type of filmmaking, to animation, often passed off as little more than children’s entertainment. Of course, both film noir and animation have just as much likeliness towards whatever art is, and in mixing the two into a strong cocktail of lunatic creativity, with talking taxi cabs, Looney Tunes, and weasel-hoodlums in tow, the writer-director pushes his own film beyond mere entertainment to a kind of ecstatic, inspirational art. – Chris Cabin