I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m not really familiar with a lot of Bob Hoskins’ work – it’s not like the man didn’t have a substantial resume on his IMDb page. In all honesty, I think I avoided looking up a lot of his movies because I didn’t want anything to change the first impression I had of him as private detective Eddie Valiant from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? For me, Bob Hoskins is and was Eddie Valiant, in the same way that Bob Denver will always be Gilligan.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? may seem a little dated and the mix of animation and live-action may seem occasionally awkward by today’s exacting CGI standards, but at the time that it first hit the screens, it was amazing. And it arrived at a time when it seemed like feature film animation was dying out and the once-mighty Disney corporation might be divided into different business components and sold off like cuts from a fresh side of beef.
But the arrival of Roger Rabbit, together with Disney’s Little Mermaid revitalized animation and helped to bring back excitement for the medium. And at the narrative center of all the excitement, providing the human face and point of view in contrast to Roger Rabbit’s zanyness was Eddie Valiant. I had always been in love with animation, but Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Bob Hoskins’ surly private detective brought the rest of the world around to see what I was so fond of.
Thanks, Mr. Hoskins. It may take me a moment to remember your real name, but you’ll never be forgotten.