Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Steve Box, Nick Park
Bob Baker, Steve Box, Mark Burton, Nick Park
Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Peter Kay, Nicholas Smith, Liz Smith
From the creator of the brilliant short films Creature Comfort and A Close Shave comes a tale of man and his best friend attempting to save the town from common garden pests.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is an inventive pseudo-thriller in the Claymation style. Cheese-loving Wallace and his clever pooch Gromit have started an anti-fruit-theft service in their sleepy little town. The city’s preparing for its annual contest for the biggest vegetable and no one wants their prize entries chewed away by some pesky vermin.
After capturing a particularly unruly rabbit, Wallace tries out his new mind-transferring device. It’s supposed to take some of Wallace’s own thought patterns and transfer them into the bunny, hopefully altering his penchant for vegetables. A horrible accident leaves the city terrorized by a giant rabbit.
Three-time Academy Award winner Nick Park brought us the neurotic Wallace and the smarter-than-his-master Gromit in 1989’s A Grand Day Out. The short film received an Oscar nomination against Park’s other Claymation film Creature Comforts but lost ultimately to Comforts. However, his next two Wallace & Gromit outings The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave won the Oscar for animated short film. With that pedigree, it’s not hard to understand why Curse of the Were-Rabbit is such a fun film.
Wallace finally meets a girl, Lady Tottington (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter), but has competition for her affections from the ruthless game hunter Victor Quartermaine (the voice of Ralph Fiennes). The love triangle adds a significant amount of depth to the picture while the brilliant, pun-filled humor rounds out the film. It’s a fine feature that lets some puns get out of hand but otherwise results in a thoroughly entertaining movie that any fan of the British comedy duo will adore.
Park is not a stranger to the big screen, having brought the feature length coop caper Chicken Run to theaters. His work there was good but pales in comparison to his effort here. Were-Rabbit uses stop-motion animation to capture clay-molded settings and characters to tell a story. The film gives new life to the medium with incredibly detailed clay puppets whose facial expressions are nearly lifelike. It’s amazing the amount of detail that goes into these creations, even the background gardens and vistas are rich and meticulous.
Children will undoubtedly adore Curse of the Were-Rabbit but it’s adults that will truly make the film successful. Parents can’t help but take their kids along to see this family-friend adventure but there are plenty of jokes and situations that make the film more appealing to the grown-up audience.
December 30, 2005