Encouraging news on Roger Rabbit

As badly as the titular character of the 1988 animated noir comedy (how often do you hear that) was treated, it doesn’t compare to how badly the film has been treated in years hence. Touchstone and Buena Vista Home Entertainment may finally be doing at least some good for the animated bunny.

In true, if skewed, film noir tradition, Eddie Valiant is a tough-nosed cop, who will take a case for anyone – except Toons. Ever since a Toon killed his brother, Eddie knew he could never trust another cartoon again. But when film star Roger Rabbit is convicted of a crime he did not commit, Eddie must confront his prejudice to let justice prevail, and in the course learn the truth about his brother’s death.

Presented as a Vista Series set, the disc has been handled well. Although coming as a two disc set, the release is essentially two separate DVD releases in one box. Disc one contains the fullscreen version of the film and a series of extras aimed at the family audience. Extras include the three Roger Rabbit shorts shown in theaters in the late eighties and early nineties “Tummy Trouble”, “Roller Coaster Rabbit”, and “Trail Mix-Up”. Also on board is “Who Made Roger Rabbit”, a family friendly featurette that looks at the making of the film and a set-top game: “Trouble In Toontown”.

With the possible exception of the shorts, most enthusiasts might want to skip the first disc altogether to check out the second disc aimed at the film lover. Presented in anamorphic widescreen, the film will feature an audio commentary with director Robert Zemeckis and fellow filmmakers. Also included on disc 2 is a deleted scene entitled “The Pig Head Sequence”, “Behind The Ears” – a featurette on the making of the film, “Toontown Confidential” – pop-up style trivia, a photo gallery, “On Set!”, a cinema verite look at the making of a scene from the film, “Before and After”, a featurette look at a scene with and without animation and Toon stand-ins, another featurette on how to rehearse a scene for Toons.

Of course, I could talk about features all day and that doesn’t answer the question everyone wants to know; will the trimmed footage be reinserted into the film. Sadly, I don’t know, and no one is likely to know until reviews start popping up. It is possible considering the two separate versions of the film being presented.

Priced at $29.95, the Vista set will arrive on March 25th.

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