I've never read Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, the novel on which the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was based, nor do I have much interest in reading it. How was this meant for anything other than a blend of live-action and animation? Good thing this was done well, the first time. All of the characters, regardless of how they were conceived, look like they belong in the single setting of 1940s Los Angeles, bordering Toontown, home to all of the toons. It's such an aesthetical delight, and with the film noir-style of storytelling, there's an edge of darkness that allows Who Framed Roger Rabbit to be enjoyable for all ages. Heck, children may be the most inappropriate audience; not like the Looney Tunes were intended for children, anyway. If you have ever seen a film noir -- my most recent excursions were The Third Man and Chinatown -- you will surely see influences riddled throughout the plot and characters. Not exactly the best, but, for a movie whose main gimmick is live-action and cartoons together, it holds up exceptionally well. And gosh, is it funny. The writers and animators deserve most of the credit for that, recreating the many beloved characters of the golden age of animation AND their jokes. The best jokes. The ones not beholden to their era. Bugs Bunny, as an example, may be modeled after Groucho Marx, but he would also do impersonations of other famous contemporary celebrities. This film avoids that altogether (with the exception of the Singing Sword, as played by Frank Sinatra), instead opting for non-stop lunacy. For standout acting, Bob Hoskins as Detective Eddie Valiant and Charles Fleischer as seasoned actor Roger Rabbit rank highest for their on-screen chemistry, despite never actually being on screen together, as well as the emotional heights they explore without ever forgetting how much fun they can have in a world full of toons.
I leave you with a personal vendetta: However you might feel about Space Jam, Who Framed Roger Rabbit beats it in every respect. The animation is crisper and more delightful here. Bob Hoskins is a MUCH better actor than Michael Jordan, especially when looking like he's genuinely interacting with the cartoons. Roger and Jessica Rabbit have a sweet and silly romance worth caring about, unlike the perversion of Bugs towards Lola Bunny. And the stakes are so much higher in Who Framed Roger Rabbit! Toontown might get destroyed by the corporate world! NO! Only one person can solve the case: a man whose brother was killed by a toon. SPOILER: Drinking problem goes away, once Eddie happily works with a toon again. No surprises here, other than quality cinema.