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Why the live-action animations in Who Framed Roger Rabbit hold up so well

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Always bump the lamp

I recently rediscovered Robert Zemeckis’ film Who Framed Roger Rabbit after picking the film up on Blu-ray. It was a childhood favorite, and watching it all these years later, I found that it holds up incredibly well. Video essayist KaptainKristian seems to have found the same thing, because his latest video delves into what makes the movie great.

Kristian points out three elements that make Who Framed Roger Rabbit particularly stand out from similar blended films. The first is that the filmmakers made sure to include Roger in the sight lines, making it seem as though the actors were looking directly at the character, including him as part of the scenes, making it less obvious that they’re two distinct parts stuck together.

The second point is how the production made sure that the animated characters physically interacted with the real world. Roger spits out real water, while Jessica Rabbit plays with Eddie’s clothing, actions that give the cartoons equal weight in the film.

Finally, the animators made sure to deepen this interaction with the real world by playing with shadows. The animations were drawn in layers, and like the efforts to make the characters react to the environment around them, animators made sure that the light would play realistically across the cartoons.

What these three points boil down to is that the film’s creators went above and beyond to create a film that looks spectacular, even almost three decades later.