If you were a ’90s kid, you might have had a crush on Jessica Rabbit. Ever since her debut in 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit? She has often been considered to be one of the most iconic sex symbols in animation. It’s not too hard to imagine why. After all, she’s not bad; she’s just drawn that way. While the movie initially implied that she was an unfaithful wife to Roger Rabbit, it was soon revealed that she was actually loyal to him, despite the dramatic differences in both of their appearances. They were an unlikely couple on paper, but she just really loved how he made her laugh. Sounds like the perfect dream couple, not to mention the goofball getting the most beautiful woman in town. As Betty Boop said, he’s a lucky guy.
What makes Jessica Rabbit such an intriguing sex symbol? Aside from her captivating appearance, she truly knows how to be an expert seductress. She has all the calmness, confidence, and total fearlessness that the absolute femme fatale needs. Her opening scene, where she performs in her nightclub and sings “Why Don’t You Do Right?” is her introduction, and she shows how vivacious she is right off the bat. Even the main character, Eddie Valiant, who was incredibly biased towards the toons, was powerless when she approached him. There’s no question about it, if you need a walking, talking example of a seductress, just watch Jessica Rabbit perform “Why Don’t You Do Right?” and you’ll get it.
But given the bubbly nature of Jessica Rabbit, one should really wonder if that character would be too inappropriate for new animation by today’s standards. What if Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was made around this time, and the movie had to sell a seductive character like Jessica Rabbit? The realistic answer is probably not. The issue wouldn’t really be in her seductive nature but in the way she’s portrayed in the movie. As she said, she’s drawn that way. By now, anyone who has watched the movie remembers the infamous scene where, in a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, she falls out of a moving car, and you may notice that she’s missing some undergarments.
That moment of brief “nudity” sparked some controversy for the movie, but then again, several things did. From the scenes with the deceptively crude Baby Herman to the piano duel scene with Daffy Duck and Donald Duck, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? doesn’t fall short of controversies with just Jessica Rabbit. Despite that, an over-sexualized character like Jessica Rabbit may not cut it for today. The whole movie itself is just one of those older animated classics that was marketed for a younger audience but is also loaded with many adult themes.
So if a sequel happens, we shouldn’t expect it to downplay anything that made the first one great. That’s emphasis on the “if”, although discussions of a sequel did occur. Director Robert Zemeckis has openly talked about the possibility of a sequel happening, even with the passing of Bob Hoskins. However, he has also stated that Disney might not want to pursue development, as he is well aware that Jessica Rabbit is the farthest thing from a Disney princess.
Very many of the animated Disney movies that have been released recently have characters that are far different from the characters in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, most notably Jessica Rabbit. When was the last time you saw a seductive femme fatale play a protagonist in an animated Disney movie? Probably since Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and that’s when animated movies got away with more things. There’s probably no animated Disney protagonist that even comes close to her, which makes her even more unique.
We’ll probably never get another animated character like Jessica Rabbit, and that’s okay. Whether a sequel does happen, we’ll still have the original. If we were to see her in animation today, she may be portrayed as far less bubbly, which would take away from what makes her iconic. In that case, then maybe we don’t need a sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? but time will tell. What matters now is that Jessica Rabbit would most likely not work for animated movies today. Unless, of course, the supposed sequel gets a clear PG-13 rating.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Jessica Rabbit would be considered appropriate today? No matter what you think, just remember it’s just how she’s drawn.
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