Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Rolling on through their catalog and still putting out 4K physical media, I’m grateful Disney is still doing it and has also landed on 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The Robert Zemeckis film not only was a hybrid of animation and live action, but also the perfect mesh of youth and adult enjoyment. The film comes to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with an upgrade in the picture department and a new Atmos track to hear it by. Unfortunately there are no new extras to add this time around, but the former Blu-ray is included for those. This arrives on the format on December 7th. At some point, the Amazon ordering link will reappear, and then I’ll post the paid Amazon Associates link if you so choose to order from this site. But until then, there are other places you can secure yourself a pre-order.



Down-on-his-luck private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) gets hired by cartoon producer R.K. Maroon (Alan Tilvern) to investigate an adultery scandal involving Jessica Rabbit (Kathleen Turner), the sultry wife of Maroon’s biggest star, Roger Rabbit (Charles Fleischer). But when Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye), Jessica’s alleged paramour and the owner of Toontown, is found murdered, the villainous Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) vows to catch and destroy Roger.

Robert Zemeckis has had himself one of the finest blockbuster careers around, starting his career by turning out one all-time classic after another, eventually culminating in a Best Director Oscar for Forrest Gump. In such a fine career, 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit? still sits as one of his highest points, and perhaps a film of his that has grown the most fine with age over many others in his catalog. Its of the finest examples of a younger director, seeing early success, still hungry and following in the footsteps of his friends and mentors George Lucas and Steven Spielberg by trying to push the boundaries and limits of the technical processes of filmmaking.

Obviously, the film mixes the worlds of live action and animation to the most impressive degree of success even to the is day. This thing is seamless and feels like you could really live, breath, touch and interact in this world somewhere. Its a testament to the effects department and crew, but the actors in the film really sell and buy into this thing as well. They themselves allow themselves a little side of cartoonish-ness themselves. They are even able to give a air of dramatics and seriousness to some of the sillier cartoons, too. This is a lived in world, with inspirations from past Hollywood noirs to inform the offscreen “real life” antics of some of our favorite animated characters as well as the ones crafted for this film.

While animation and live action come together and blend here, there’s another approach blending as well. This film perfectly stirs together both a kids film and an adult film without even so much as a hiccup. Kids get their normal fun stuff, but also feel like they are getting away with something as adults get something that feels like its for them along with some clever lighthearted humor disguised as some sort of thesis to make them feel like they aren’t stooping to some kind of low. This kind of magic that Roger Rabbit pulls off is potentially even more impressive than the special effects.

From its arrival, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? has been pretty well-liked, but over the years the film’s esteem and respect has only grown more and more. One wouldn’t even argue is someone named it as one of the top noir films of all time. It fits that mold as a celebration/modern throwback film no different than Chinatown was 14 years prior. In fact, the film almost feels like a loving tribute to that Jack Nicholson-starring classic. The film still remains fresh, fun and one of the greats of the 1980s.


Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review are taken from the standard Blu-ray disc, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? debuts on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with a nice native transfer, having been shot on film. There’s a really nice contrast on display with the animation and live action, but the color timing also keeps it feeling a part of the grand frame. There’s also a good Chinatown-esque look to the aesthetic. The film looks in good shape, with a nice light layer of grain and plenty of really strong details.

Depth:  The depth of field here is quite strong with a good three dimensional feel to it. There’s good pushback and spacing in every environment inside and out. Movements are smooth and no issues are about with any sort of distortions from rapid movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural and really form their own character at time with lots of shadows and darkened environments the film plays in. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors on the animated parts are good, primary and bold, but never bleeding out or popping too much. Reds are strong as are some greens. For humans, some of the clothing can pull some pop.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial features and textures are cleanly visible from any given distance in the frame.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 DTS Digital Sound, Spanish 1.0 Mono Audio Dolby Digital, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, German 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, Italian 5.1 DTS Digital Surround, Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Spanish (Castilian), German, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

Dynamics: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? comes with an Atmos track that isn’t so bad as some of the Disney ones, but it does leave you wanting more. All you really want is it to be louder and for things to sting and hit a lot better when you bigger action moments come into play. As is though, crank it up a bit more and its rather decent.

Height: Some decent stuff from overhead, mostly when some of the whackier animation is in play or something is above the frame, but the work is on the lighter end.

Low Frequency Extension:  There are some decent bumps from the subwoofer, but overall you want a bit more power and impact from some of the bigger moments.

Surround Sound Presentation: There’s a lot going on up front, but the rear channels do provide some unique moments and help to fill out some environments with good ambiance or something tracking offscreen. Overall, it is playful, but a bit front heavy.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.


Who Framed Roger Rabbit? comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a redeemable digital code for the film. The only bonus feature that appears on the 4K disc is the commentary track, all other found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary

  • With Filmmakers’ (Those filmmakers being Director Robert Zemeckis, producer Frank Marshall, associate producer Steve Starkey, visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston and co-writers Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman)

The Roger Rabbit Shorts 

  • Tummy Trouble (HD, 8:03)
  • Roller Coaster Rabbit (HD, 8:11)
  • Trail Mix-Up (HD, 9:09)

Deleted Scene (SD, 5:30)

Who Made Roger Rabbit (SD, 10:56)

Before and After (SD, 3:07)

Toon Stand-Ins (SD, 3:14)

Behind The Ears: The True Story of Roger Rabbit (SD, 36:37)

On Set! (SD, 4:51)


Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is an all-time great any way you shake it; cartoon, comedy, animation, noir, Zemeckis catalog. Disney brings it to 4K Ultra-HD with a really nice looking image that showcases just how impressive this animation/live action hybrid still is. The Atmos track finds itself merely decent and the extras are the same as they have been since DVD. But, this remains a film to own every time there’s a new format, so have at that what you will.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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