Judge Doom


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Judge Doom

(pop culture)
In the spirit of an innovative film comes an innovative villain. Judge Doom (aka Baron von Rotton) is the nemesis of Roger Rabbit, the star of producer Steven Spielberg's four-time Academy Award–winning film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), noted in film history for its interaction between live action and animated characters (a film technique that had been previously used, but never so efficiently) and its unprecedented portrayal of Looney Tunes and Disney characters together on one screen. In a surrealistic noir-esque world of 1947 Los Angeles, where human beings and “Toons” live side by side, Judge Doom (wonderfully portrayed by Christopher Lloyd) is the Nazi-like policer of Toontown, a wacky, animated outcast suburb of Hollywood where all the animated film stars reside. With his self-stated goal to “rein in the insanity” of a world filled with unpredictable cartoon characters, Judge Doom rules Toontown with an iron first, subjecting random, irreverent Toons to “the dip,” an oozing green, acid-like liquid composed of turpentine, acetone, and benzene. In torturous fashion, the dip dissolves the Toons in a manner reminiscent of real-life products that were used to clean animation cels in the 1930s and 1940s. Doom is accompanied by his henchmen, the Weasels, scoundrel Toons that aid the villain in his dastardly deeds. The bespectacled, black-clothed Judge Doom, who shuffles along using a walking stick, suspects zany Maroon Cartoon Studios actor Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer) of the murder of Acme Novelty Co. founder and owner of Toontown, Marvin Acme. Framed for the homicide, Roger solicits the help of boozing private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) to clear his name. Doom's plan of bringing freeways to Los Angeles, thereby bankrupting the existing Pacific & Electric Red Car public transport electric-trolley system (a nod to a real-life scandal), is slowly revealed. In order to execute his plan, Doom creates an enormous Dip Machine, with “5,000 gallons of heated dip, pumped at enormous velocity through a pressurized water cannon,” in an effort to erase Toontown in a matter of minutes. In the film's ending, Doom's true identity as a Toon is revealed and he meets his appropriate death via the dip. Sprinkled with Looney Tunes–like gags, gadgets, and fight scenes and a femme fatale bar none in the form of celluloid human Jessica Rabbit, Roger Rabbit remains an animation classic that celebrates the nuances of the noir thriller genre.