We’re all familiar with the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit, right? The story about a hardnosed detective who hates ‘toons is forced to help out a ‘toon rabbit who is wanted for murder. It’s one of Bob Hoskins’ best movies. What most people don’t know is that this movie, like a lot of movies, is based on a novel. That novel is Who Censored Roger Rabbit by Gary K. Wolf. The problem with this book is that it’s super rare and hard to find a physical copy. My library has a copy of it in storage, and I was lucky enough to read it.
The first thing that’s apparent about this book is the plot. Hardnosed detective Eddy Valiant is asked by a ‘toon named Roger Rabbit to investigate why his boss, Rocco DeGreasy, refuses to give a solo contract. That is until Roger is murdered and, worst yet, Rocco was murdered before him making Roger the prime suspect. Now Eddy needs to find out who the real murderer is.
That’s a lot different than the movie. Also, the tone of the book is a lot more serious. Sadly, this book isn’t all that great. You see, having cartoon characters is a great concept. The problem is this book reads like the typical pulp mystery novel with cartoons thrown in for the hell of it.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the book is bad. The book is well written enough to please people who are into this particular genre. The problem is it doesn’t live up the standards the movie had.
Now, I’m not saying the movie is high art. It does, however, have a lot of techniques that were really hard to pull off in the 80s. This movie pulled it off so great that you really think that a real life person is interacting with a cartoon character. Not to mention music, acting and story and you have a classic.
Am I saying the movie is better? Yes, I am. In fact, Wolf rewrote the book to make it closer to the movie. This is one of those times where the movie is better than the book.
Who Censored Roger Rabbit Review may have been the basis for the movie, but the movie outdid the movie by miles. If you want to read the book just to get an idea of where it all came from go ahead. Just don’t expect anything great out of it.