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WSR Detailed DVD Review
Who Framed Roger Rabbit

VISTA Series
Genre: Animation/Live Action

Reviewed In Issue 70 (Mar 2003) Of Widescreen Review®

Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Stubby Kaye, Joanna Cassidy And The Voice Talent Of Charles Fleischer

WSR Review Scores
WSR Picture Rating: 4
DD Sound Rating: 3.5
DTS Sound Rating: 4
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score: 5
Internet Links

Special Features
This new two-disc VISTA Series edition of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" includes a wealth of bonus material. The first disc likely will appeal to younger viewers while enthusiasts may find Disc Two more engaging. Benny the Cab hosts the menus which viewers will find to be either highly entertaining or patience-testing. Disc One's menu options include Movie Theatre, Valiant's Office, ACME Warehouse, Ink & Paint Club, and Maroon Cartoon Studio. The Movie Theatre section leads to a modified 1.33:1 presentation of the movie (with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio). Valiant's Office offers access to audio and subtitle set-up. ACME Warehouse leads to the three long sought-after "Roger Rabbit" animated shorts that were produced following the original movie production: "Tummy Trouble" (shown theatrically with "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids" in 1989), "Roller Coaster Rabbit" ("Dick Tracy" in 1990), and "Trail Mix-Up" (1993; "A Far Off Place"). The shorts are presented in anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1. Also included in the ACME Warehouse section are an eleven-minute "Who Made Roger Rabbit" featurette hosted by voice talent artist Charles Fleischer and a "Trouble In Toontown" game which includes hidden content. The Ink & Paint Club is nothing more than bonus trailers for "Schoolhouse Rock" and "Ultimate X" (in widescreen, even though the "Ultimate X" DVD is scheduled to be full screen) and the Maroon Cartoon Studio instructs viewers to go to Disc Two for additional bonus material. Moving over to Disc Two finds Benny the Cab leading viewers to many options: The Movie, Set Up, Toontown Confidential, On Set!, Behind The Ears, Commentary, Deleted Scene, Valiant Files, Before & After, and Toon Stand-Ins. The Movie allows access to...the movie. This time an original theatrical aspect ratio presentation with Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 audio options. Set Up is just that; access to the audio and subtitle options. Toontown Confidential offers an option to view the film with a subtitle track present that provides an enlightening assortment of trivia and background information on the actors and production. The track includes a wealth of information not only on the "Roger Rabbit" film itself but the numerous animation characters that appear in the film. On Set! is a five-minute featurette focusing on the production of one of the Benny the Cab sequences from the film incorporating footage from the set. Viewers may find Behind The Ears to be the most engaging bonus feature on the DVD. This is a 37-minute documentary, "The True Story Of Roger Rabbit," which includes an abundance of new interview material with many of the actors and key members of the production team as well as footage originally shot on set during the production. The Commentary section lends access to a screen-specific audio commentary recording that aficionados may remember appearing on the 1998 LaserDisc. The track participants are director Robert Zemeckis, producer Frank Marshall, associate producer Steve Starkey, visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston, and screenwriters Jeffrey Price and Peter Seaman. The gang relay their fond memories of working on the film as well as highlighting many of the immense challenges of the project. The Deleted Scene section shows off the Pig Head Sequence that was not included in the final cut of the film. Valiant Files offers through the still-step function of your player's remote control an assortment of original character sketches, background paintings, and promotional posters. The archive is divided into sections on character development, art of Roger Rabbit, production, promotional, and theme parks. The Before & After feature includes a revealing three minutes of split screen material allowing one to simultaneously see a raw principal photography element and the final composited image. And finally, Toon Stand-Ins is a three-minute featurette on the process of using Toon "stand-ins" during the production of the movie. The disc is THX-certified and includes Optimizer test signals. Also note that the movie is the modified/revised version incorporating minor changes to selected frames that the original animation team had fun with, including bits with Baby Herman in Chapter 1 and Jessica Rabbit in Chapter 14, leading one to wonder if the movie should have retained the title of the book on which it was based. (Michael Coate)

 DVD General Information

(Studio/Distributor): Touchstone Home Entertainment
(Catalog Number): 24398
(MPAA Rating): PG
(Rating Reason):

(Retail Price): $29.99
(DVD Type): Two-Disc Set/DVD-9 x 2
(Widescreen Edition): Yes
(Full Screen Edition): Yes
(Anamorphic Widescreen): Yes
(Running Time In Minutes): 104
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Regional Coding): 1
(Theatrical Year): 1988
(Theatrical Release): Yes
(Direct-To-Video Release): No
(DVD Release Date): 03/25/03
(THX® Digitally Mastered): Yes

 Credits Information

(Director): Robert Zemeckis
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  DVD Picture Information

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  WSR Narrative Review
Special Notes:
This is a modified

Story Synopsis:
Based on the book

DVD Picture:
The anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 DVD picture found on Disc Two offers a noticeably cleaner picture when compared to the previously released, non-anamorphic DVD (reviewed in Issue 35). Finer details and definition are immediately apparent on this new DVD. There are some variations in color fidelity between the two versions, with the new DVD occasionally appearing slightly pale in some scenes when compared to the previous. However, the color scheme can also be very similar, with rich, nicely balanced colors, vibrant hues, and deep blacks. Edge enhancement is still apparent on the new version, though its presence is not terribly obtrusive. Source element artifacts and film grain are expectedly amplified in the many live-action/animation composite shots, but this new transfer is considerably cleaner with fewer artifacts. (Suzanne Hodges) A modified 1.33:1 aspect ratio version is included on Disc One (not reviewed).

The 5.1-channel soundtracks are both the result of repurposing the original audio, probably from the original six-channel master. In comparison to the previous DVD, the Dolby Digital audio for this release sounds slightly more refined in terms of spatial and midrange rendition. There's sometimes quite considerable spatiality, though there is also a noticeable balance of the soundstage toward the screen channels. Furthermore, the surrounds seems to be mono, having little or no stereo separation (which would be consistent with the film's original mix). The original recording's aged character is present, with a slight limitation in the natural tonality of voices and some tendency toward stridence. The animated music score nicely fills the listening space at times with a palpable sense of immersion. The low-end, though enhanced to some extent for the soundtrack remastering, sounds somewhat reserved. The DTS Digital Surround version exhibits just a slightly more pronounced low-end presence as well as little more refinement in midrange and spatial clarity. (Perry Sun)

This Disc Contains The Following WSR-Rated Superb Qualities:
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