It is impossible to adequately explain to the youth of today just what an achievement this film was back in 1988. Watching something like Iron Man 3 today, we have become so accustomed to seeing actors work seamlessly alongside special effects that we struggle to remain enthusiastic and are rarely in awe. What Robert Zemeckis achieved here is not only an incredible blend of live action and animation, but that it was accomplished without computers. All the animation in this film – 55 minutes of it to be precise – was hand drawn by Disney animators, before being colour-graded and textured by ILM and then inserted into this strange film noir murder mystery set in post-war Los Angeles. Bob Hoskins does a commendable job, and Christopher Lloyd is truly terrifying as the villainous Judge Doom, but this is a film that will be remembered for its cartoon characters – Roger, Baby Herman, Benny the Cab and most of all, the gorgeous Jessica Rabbit.
I picked up Buena Vista’s new 25th Anniversary Blu-ray of the film, and they have done a superb job pumping up the film to HD quality. The extras also offer an incredible insight into the production, as well as tackling the logistics of featuring the entire Disney stable onscreen with Looney Tunes characters and countless other cartoon favourites. The film stands up remarkably well, as nothing like it was ever really attempted again. Just 3 years later James Cameron introduced the computer generated T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and computers did indeed take over the world.