Disney was on top of the animated world up until Sleeping Beauty flopped. They changed their style up in animated movies to be rougher for the sake of money. With competition like Don Bluth in the 80’s, Disney was no longer on top, until the golden age was reborn with the style of Roger Rabbit.
Five reasons to see Disney’s animated movie: Roger Rabbit
- D.I.P. (Turpentine, Acetone, Benzene) kills Toons
- Special FX and smooth animation, especially Jessica Rabbit (growl)
- What Wreck-It Ralph does for 80’s video games, this does for 40’s animation
- An emphasis on the animated short
- Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg create a Chinatown -esque noir comedy
The Disney golden age of animation
In the 1920’s and 30’s, Disney dominated animation with a slew of ground breaking shorts. In 1937, they went further with Snow White and started feature length animated movies . In the 50’s and 60’s, Disney cut corners to save money using Xerographic animation techniques in 101 Dalmatians . This rough style was dominant in Disney animated movies until Roger Rabbit came out.
Disney animation had several flops in the 80’s, whereas Don Bluth and Steven Spielberg were doing great things such as An American Tail. Steven and Disney got into a partnership, and his job was to get other animation studios on board for the ultimate animation crossover. All of the characters would be animated by Disney, thus giving that boost they needed. One of which was going back to that classic smooth style of the Disney golden age.
Roger Rabbit’s impact on Disney animated movies
The style of the Disney animated movies changed after Roger Rabbit , and continued with hits into the 90’s like The Lion King. The character of Roger Rabbit helped inspire a section of Disney parks with Toontown , and he appeared in three animated shorts with Disney films, just like back in the golden age. There were some risqué scenes of Jessica Rabbit appearing nude, like animators did with Betty Boop years ago. This Disney tradition continued like the phallic VHS cover on The Little Mermaid, the message of sex in the Lion King and a line in Aladdin to “take off your clothes.”
Final Thoughts on Roger Rabbit
This film is probably one of my top ten favorite movies due to its humor, charm and animation. Finally speaking about Zemeckis and animation, he really pioneered a film making technique using motion-capture and computer generated images. The Polar Express , Beowulf and Disney’s A Christmas Carol a ll have effects that make it difficult to tell the difference between the animated and an actor. Roger Rabbit helped boost Zemeckis’ career and it brought Disney animated movies to a new generation.