(1938- ) Palestinian-born US animator and director of Animated Movies. He first came to notice – indeed, to notoriety – with Fritz the Cat (1972), adapted from the Comics of Robert H Crumb (1943- ). His first movie of fantasy interest was Wizards (1977), a tale of Magic and of the conflict between Good and Evil two million years after a world Holocaust. This movie also saw RB pioneering the technique of rotoscoping, whereby scenes are shot in live action and then traced to produce the animated result. Rotoscoping does not, however, impose greater realism; its somewhat uncanny effect is not easy to describe. Rotoscoping featured also in his next movie, The Lord of the Rings (1978), based on the J R R Tolkien cycle: although the venture was commendably ambitious, the movie was a disappointing mishmash, crippled by lack of funds at crucial stages. Some nonfantasy work followed, and then Fire and Ice (1983) saw him return to the fantasy genre. In 1987-1989 his Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures was screened on US Saturday-morning tv. It was with Cool World (1992) that he achieved his most distinguished fantasy movie to date: mixing live action with animation (see Toons), this is a sophisticated exploration of Alternate Realities, one subjective (and created) and the other objective, and of the interplay between the two. It is often adversely compared with the more polished Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), yet Cool World shows the better grasp of fantasy. RB's career has been patchy, including some very bad movies, but at his best he has probably been animation's single most important contributor to the genre. [JG]
Other movies: Heavy Traffic (1973); Coonskin (1975); American Pop (1981); Hey, Good Lookin' (1982); animated sequences in Cannonball Run II (1983).