DVD Review: The good and bad news about 'Roger Rabbit'

First the good news: Robert Zemeckis' "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" is finally available on Blu-ray in a combo pack that also includes a DVD version.

Now the bad news (part one): Some early runs of the release include the full screen DVD (i.e., cropped) rather than the widescreen (original aspect ratio); to its credit, Disney belatedly added a sticker on the cover, explaining the problem and how to get a replacement.

Now more bad news (part two): While there are some good extras, fans who already have an earlier DVD copy will be disappointed to see that all of them — except perhaps the optional “Toontown Confidential” trivia pop-ups — are simply repeated from the 15th Anniversary edition (released 10 years ago, almost to the day). These include three Roger Rabbit cartoon shorts, a 40-minute “making of,” a deleted scene, and several shorter “featurettes” focused on specific subjects.

Now even more bad news (part three): Shortly into the film's home video history, Disney removed or altered a number of amusingly “obscene” shots — usually just a few frames and thus essentially impossible to see in the theater — inserted by frisky animators. Given home video's freeze-frame powers and the young audience “Roger Rabbit” is partly directed toward, this is unwelcome, but understandable. They made a few more changes later — including at least one excised line that sets up a very funny joke — that had no possible child-unfriendly content. The new edition has none of this reinstated. “Roger Rabbit” has a huge adult audience. Will there ever be an unrated, complete version?

All of this is particularly disappointing, given Disney's history of lavish DVD and Blu-ray editions for the biggest films. If you don't have an earlier DVD, this may be worth getting, given its relatively low (by Disney standards) price. Otherwise, take a pass.

"Who Framed Roger Rabbit: 25th Anniversary Edition" (Disney Home Entertainment, 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo, $26.50)


ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on “FilmWeek” on KPCC-FM (89.3). 

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