You youngsters who’ve been spoiled over the last three decades with amazing animated movies—Disney’s 1990s resurgence with Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King; Pixar’s pioneering CG work starting with Toy Story; DreamWorks’ Shrek; Aardman’s stop-motion Wallace and Gromit and Laika’s Coraline, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox and Isle of Dogs; not to mention anime’s increasing global reach—might not believe that there was ever a time where feature animation was a washout. Those a little bit older might remember the grim days of the 1980s. Sure, live-action blockbusters were alive and well, but cartoons? No chance.
Then there came a little movie called Who Framed Roger Rabbit. And while you’d be hard-pressed to prove that the rabbit single-handedly re-energized the feature animation industry, it’s also undeniable, given the ground-breaking merging of animation and live-action, not to mention its vibrant energy, humour and fun, that the movie redefined the animated feature’s potential. But thirty years later, it’s not the technological innovation one marvels at, it’s the storytelling invention—this is the mark of a true classic.
A video essay for Fandor, original link is here: