Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Directed by Nick Park and Steve Box
Starring the voices of Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Peter Kay, and Nicholas Smith.
When you stop to think about stop-motion animation, one of the first things that comes to mind is Wallace and Gromit. The dynamic duo, created by Nick Park as he was working for Aardman Studios, quickly became very endearing characters in the world of animation. Three shorts were produced, two of which one Oscars. So, in the late 1990s, when Aardman signed a deal with Dreamworks Animation to produce full-length stop-motion animated films, we all kind of knew that it was just a matter of time before Wallace and Gromit got a feature-length film.
The film opens with Wallace and Gromit’s latest business: Anti-Pesto, a humane pest control agency. And, with the town’s annual Giant Vegetable Competition coming up, they find business booming, as they rid all the town’s gardens of rabbits. Of course, all this action soon has Wallace capturing the eye of Lady Tottington (Carter), the town matriarch and sponsor of the competition. And, it also draws the ire of Tottington’s main suitor, the villanous Victor Quartermaine (Fiennes). But, all this is causing problems for Wallace and Gromit. They humanely capture all the rabbits, but then, they don’t know what to do with them. Then, one night, Wallace gets an idea. He wants to use his new invention, the Mind-o-Matic, to brainwash the rabbits into not liking vegetables. But, sooner than you can say “jackrabbit,” the experiment goes horribly awry, and now the town’s gardens are being stalked by a massive, hulking Were-Rabbit. It’s up to Wallace and Gromit to capture the Were-Rabbit and win the heart of Lady Tottington before Victor goes all ape-poop and starts blasting everything in sight!
This movie is friggin’ funny. Granted, it is British humour, so you have to be into that sort of thing, but there’s a lot more going on. There’s this one bit involving a coin-operated biplane that had me just going nuts. And, the best part about it is, it’s all quiet. That scene plays out without any dialogue. No wise-cracking overpaid celebrity that dominates animated films these days. This is simple, understated, and very, very, very funny. And you know, in this era of slick computer animation dominating the field, it’s kind of cool to see an animator’s fingerprints on a clay model. Check out this movie, you will not be disappointed.
(Oh, and another thing. You may have seen the TV spots that announces that this starts with an animated short film called The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper. I just want to say that that short film is lame, lame, lame.)