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The Best of Roger Rabbit
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this cartoon compilation is intended as a tribute to the classic color cartoons of yesteryear. The shorts are suitably manic and comedically inventive. School-age kids will understand more of the puns in the dialogue and will better grasp the difference between the "fantasy" (cartoon) and "real" (live-action) parts of the films, but we recommend you use parental discretion anyway since there is quite a lot of cartoon mayhem, dangerous situations and sexual innuendo. You may want to keep this away from 5- to 7-year-olds. Cartoon Network junkies will enjoy the film's evocation of "Looney Tunes" and Tex Avery's work. Older viewers will appreciate the "homage" aspects of the films, as well as the silly double entendres in the dialogue.
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What's the story?
These three cartoon shorts feature the Baby Herman and Roger Rabbit characters from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. All have the same premise: The mother of Baby Herman leaves him in the care of Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer). Herman wanders into various dangerous situations and Roger rescues him in the nick of time -- only to wind up on the receiving end of whatever Herman had just escaped. The only difference between the cartoons are the settings: a hospital, an amusement park, and camp grounds. Also included is a musical short featuring Lion King characters Timon and Pumbaa, who warble the pop standard "Stand By Me."
Is it any good?
These films are an amiable and entertaining attempt to re-create the brilliance of cartoons past. After the success of the more adult-oriented Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Disney and Steven Spielberg's Amblin' Entertainment jointly produced the three titles on this tape. Clearly intended as both a love letter to, and a rip-off of, various cartoon classics (including the Looney Tunes series, and Tex Avery's Droopy Dog shorts), THE BEST OF ROGER RABBIT conveys an infectious sense of fun. Adults will appreciate the craftsmanship that went into them, while kids will respond to their incredibly fast pace and the sight of Roger in a variety of imaginatively dangerous situations.
Unfortunately, watching the cartoons back-to-back only points up the fact that the filmmakers just remade the same plot three times. (Looney Tunes did thrive on familiarity, but they were never this familiar!) It should be noted that crafty Bugs Bunny would never have gotten himself into situations like these.
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