After years of teases about a sequel to 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' any updates are going to feel like someone's just pulling your ears -- er leg. But this time, in addition to a little comment from the original film's (live-action) star, Bob Hoskins, we've also got a cool video to share from 1998 that was dug up by CartoonBrew. Featuring the silly rabbit singing "Broadway Rhythm Ballet," it's part of a computer animation test produced to show Disney execs what a new Roger Rabbit movie would look like with modern effects. And it's not as bad as you'd think.
Of course it was made before CG film versions of cartoon characters started looking slightly unrecognizable, a la 'Garfield' and 'Scooby-Doo.' And it's also before director Robert Zemeckis began making his much-derided motion capture films, including 'A Christmas Carol.' So maybe after 12 years they'd be going for a different look, but for now let's just enjoy what could have been. The footage and more, after the jump.
That doesn't look a whole lot different than the original, right? Here's what we know was indeed advanced through the computer: Roger was traditionally animated in 2-D, but he was run through a CG process that didn't alter his appearance too much. Meanwhile, props like the table and whatever else is moved by the cartoon character are CG, because it's easier than the puppetry and on-set rigging of real items and other in-camera tricks done back in 1988 for the first feature. A longer version of the test features more of this CG, including guns held by the returning weasel characters.
Overall, though, in spite of the ease in doing some of the effects in the computer, other aspects are said to have been too costly at the time. More than a decade later this might have been remedied. Unfortunately, an extra decade has made it so Hoskins is now more than 20 years older than when he first played detective Eddie Valiant. He's quoted in a recent tweet by HeyUGuys! as saying, "I'm 67 years old! I'll look like a cartoon at that point! If they do it, I'm in!"
The actor also mentioned the idea that Zemeckis is looking to do 'Roger Rabbit 2' the way he did 'A Christmas Carol.' But it's pretty unlikely that anyone would tolerate a fully motion-captured sequel. Perhaps he'd use something to make Hoskins look younger (in the past the filmmaker said he'd do the live-action characters in mo-cap), but otherwise the fans will throw a fit if it looks much different than that test footage above with characters who are supposed to be 2-D looking 2-D and the real 3-D world looking real. Nothing else would make much sense in the context of the first film, the context of its concept and purpose and the context of its setting.
And you know, there's still no certainty we'll ever get the sequel anyway. We'll keep you updated if anything more substantial happens.