<I>Roger Rabbit</I> Disc Is a Classic Tribute6 Feb, 2003 By: Joan Villa
Without the possibility of a sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, producer Frank Marshall went full-throttle to assemble the features-laden, two-disc Vista series DVD set due March 25 from Buena Vista Home Entertainment.
“We talked about a sequel, but it's cost-prohibitive,” Marshall admitted from California's Santa Anita race track, where he was filming his next project, Seabiscuit. “So this is going to be one of those films like E.T. that will be one of a kind.”
Recognizing Roger Rabbit's broad appeal as the first and arguably the most successful blend of hand-drawn animation and fast-paced live-action, the $29.99 Vista set will be divided into two distinct discs. The first, titled “Family Friendly,” will contain the film's full-frame version, three Roger Rabbit shorts, a “Who Made Roger Rabbit” featurette hosted by Roger's real-life voice Charles Fleischer, and an interactive game, “Trouble in Toontown.” The second disc, “For the Enthusiast,” contains the film in widescreen, audio commentary by director Robert Zemeckis and other key filmmakers, a “Behind the Ears” in-depth look at how the film was made, the deleted scene “The Pig Head Sequence” narrated by Zemeckis, a split-screen comparison showing a film scene before and after the animation was added, and detailed rehearsals showing the unique approach of utilizing big rubber dolls as stand-ins for the animated characters.
Fleischer, a stand-up comedian who voiced Benny the Cab and two weasels in addition to Roger, said, “Nothing since has ever achieved that blending of expertise.” He approached the role as an actor, recording his voice live on the set each day while dressed in a rabbit suit to bring the scenes to life for Hoskins and enable the animators to begin work immediately.
Amazingly, all the animation was hand-drawn in the days before digital, so the filmmakers did not have today's computer technology. The DVD is a tribute to that painstaking process, Marshall added.
“It gives us as filmmakers an opportunity to explain the complexity of what we went through,” he noted.