Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of those perfect '80s movies that I could watch every day of my life and never get sick of. Combining the classic detective movie—e.g. The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, and Farewell My Lovely—with the best Walt Disney and Loony Toons cartoons of the 40s, 50s, and 60s, it was hilarious, creative, thrilling, and at some points even terrifying. But in a good way.
Robert Zemeckis, Roger Rabbit’s director, has wanted to make a sequel for decades. Now, according to Bob Hoskins, star of the original, Zemeckis is committed to bringing the Roger Rabbit sequel to the big screen via motion capture, not unlike his past three projects, The Polar Express, Beowulf, and A Christmas Carol—movies that aren’t exactly adored by the general viewing public.
According to the HeyUGuys’ Twitter feed, Hoskins said:
‘Zemekis said he's going to do it like a Christmas Carol, but I'm 67 years old! I'll look like a cartoon at that point! If they do it, I'm in!’
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a motion-capture Roger Rabbit sequel. Previously, Robert Zemeckis himself spoke about his desire to bring the movie to life using the lamented technology—not to animate Roger Rabbit and the other cartoon characters, but to animate the human characters, such as Bob Hoskins’ Eddy Valiant.
One of the more creative aspects of the original, to me, was the juxtaposition of of living, breathing, live-action characters next to animated ones. Does anyone, anywhere, want to see a typically boisterous Roger Rabbit alongside an unnaturally stiff and dead-eyed Eddy Valiant? Usually, I’d embrace a Roger Rabbit sequel in any form, just on the off-chance that it could bring back just a little bit of that whimsy and joy I felt in 1989, but Zemeckis’ prior motion-captured outings don’t exactly fill me with confidence.
Meanwhile, Cartoon Brew has a video clip of some unused CGI test footage for a Roger Rabbit 2 from way back in the dark ages of 1998. Check it out for an idea of what a computer-generated Roger Rabbit could look like:
Admittedly, it's not atrocious—and the fact that it's twelve years old gives me some comfort—but can you imagine that CGI Roger Rabbit next to a CGI Jessica Rabbit next to a CGI Bob Hoskins inside of a CGI 1950s Hollywood? I don't care how good the CGI and the motion-capture are, I can feel every bit of whimsy and joy being squeezed out of my soul as I write this.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit 2 is being written by the original film’s scribes, Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman (Shrek the Third). Robert Zemeckis is currently remaking Yellow Submarine using his favorite technology ever, so it’s anyone’s guess when he’ll get around to Roger Rabbit. When we know something, so will you.
Test footage via Cartoon Brew
Via Bleeding Cool