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The Boston Globe

Movies

‘Roger Rabbit’ a precursor to animation revolution

When it was released, in 1988, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” seemed like a glorious one-off. Robert Zemeckis’s marriage of live action and animation — the marriage was more like living in sin, actually, or at least it was whenever Jessica Rabbit showed up — wasn’t the first time filmed actors had appeared in the same frame with animated characters. Remember Gene Kelly dancing with Tom and Jerry, in “Anchors Aweigh”? But never had a feature-length film indulged so fully, let alone so frantically, in mixing and matching.

What’s now evident, with this week’s release of the two-disc “Who Framed Roger Rabbit: 25th Anniversary Edition” on DVD and Blu-ray, is that Zemeckis’s film was less one-off than way station. What’s now (rightly) thought of as the Pixar revolution in animation can be seen to have had a precursor in a certain bunny-titled release from another Disney affiliate, Touchstone.

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