Wallace & Gromit – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Cast:
Peter Sallis as Wallace (voice)
Ralph Fiennes as Victor Quartermaine (voice)
Helena Bonham Carter as Lady Campanula Tottington (voice)
Peter Kay as PC Mackintosh (voice)
Nicholas Smith as Reverend Clement Hedges (voice)
Liz Smith as Mrs. Mulch (voice)
John Thomson as Mr. Windfall (voice)
Mark Gatiss as Miss Blight (voice)
Vincent Ebrahim as Mr. Caliche (voice)
Geraldine McEwan as Miss Thripp (voice)
Edward Kelsey as Mr. Growbag (voice)
Dicken Ashworth as Mr. Mulch (voice)
Pete Atkin as Mr. Crock (voice)
Noni Lewis as Mrs. Girdling (voice)

Summary:
Wallace & Gromit – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is hilarious, action-packed, and fun for both kids and adults. This is a family film that really is fun for the whole family.

Story:
The following is the official description of the film:

“The cheese-loving Wallace and his ever faithful dog Gromit – the much-loved duo from Aardman’s Oscar-winning clay-animated “Wallace & Gromit” shorts – star in an all new comedy adventure, marking their first full-length feature film.

It’s ‘vege-mania’ in Wallace and Gromit’s neighborhood, and our two enterprising chums are cashing in with their humane pest-control outfit, “Anti-Pesto.” With only days to go before the annual Giant Vegetable Competition, business is booming, but Wallace & Gromit are finding out that running a “humane” pest control outfit has its drawbacks as their West Wallaby Street home fills to the brim with captive rabbits.

Suddenly, a huge, mysterious, veg-ravaging “beast” begins attacking the town’s sacred vegetable plots at night, and the competition hostess, Lady Tottington, commissions Anti-Pesto to catch it and save the day. Lying in wait, however, is Lady Tottington’s snobby suitor, Victor Quartermaine, who’d rather shoot the beast and secure the position of local hero – not to mention Lady Tottingon’s hand in marriage. With the fate of the competition in the balance, Lady Tottington is eventually forced to allow Victor to hunt down the vegetable chomping marauder. Little does she know that Victor’s real intent could have dire consequences for herÂ…and our two heroes.”

Wallace & Gromit – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is rated G.

What Worked:
I took the whole family to the screening of this film and we enjoyed it quite a bit. If you’re already familiar with Wallace & Gromit, then you know what the appeal is. If you haven’t seen it, then you’re in for a treat. It features comedy, action, a great story, and amazing animation. And despite all appearances, this isn’t a movie just for kids. There’s a lot of subtle humor here for adults, too. The movie ends up being a film that really is for the whole family.

One of the things that I enjoy most in the Wallace & Gromit movies is the subtle humor that goes on in the background. For example, in one scene Wallace gets stuck in a trap door when his belly lodges him firmly in the opening. Gromit then eyes a nearby container labeled “Middle Age Grease” (or something like that). Kids didn’t get it but the adults in the theater were all laughing. In another scene Wallace & Gromit start vacuuming rabbits out of their holes at Lady Tottingon’s property. As Lady Tottingon and Victor Quartermaine carry on a conversation, rabbits are slowly being sucked into holes in the background. The subtle touch is hilarious. (In fact, the rabbits generate a lot of laughs with their cute antics.) Another great moment is when a dog attacks Gromit in a car. However, when the Were-Rabbit appears and the dog panics and tries to get in the car with Gromit, he very casually locks the doors and shakes his head. It’s little touches like these that make the movie memorable.

Another feature of the Wallace & Gromit movies that I enjoy is the action scenes. Some of the chases and big finales of these animated films are as exciting and tense as any you’ll see in the live action movies. This one features a couple of great chases including one car chase with Gromit and the Were-Rabbit across the town. The other is the big finale as Gromit faces off with the Were-Rabbit and Victor Quartermaine.

The animation is also spectacular. There’s something about stop-motion that is so unique that CG films will never be able to touch them. I think they feel much more personal and artistic than their computer animated peers. While you can do anything with a computer, there are tricks in stop motion animation that really make your jaw drop and wonder how they accomplished them. (Admittedly, they have a degree of help with computers, but you don’t see the fingerprints of the artists on the faces of CG characters. You literally do with these clay ones.) One scene where the rabbits get sucked into a vacuum and start floating around had me scratching my head wondering how they pulled it off.

The Wallace & Gromit movies also underline that story, character, and performance are more important than whatever animation tricks are used. Take Gromit, for example. He never says a word in the entire film, yet he’s the hero and everyone’s favorite character. His actions in the story and his subtle physical motions really bring him to life as a character. It just goes to show that whether you’re using the latest computer animation, 2-D cartoons, or stop-motion puppets, it’s all irrelevant unless you have a good story and good performances to go with it.

What Didn’t Work:
I have no real gripes about this movie. If I had to point out anything it would be that my 3-year-old son wasn’t sure if he should be scared or amused by the Were-Rabbit. The movie does set up a few scary moments that end up being quite funny, but it put him as a young viewer on edge. He enjoyed the whole thing quite a bit by the time it was over, but parents of young kids will definitely want to watch it with them to make sure they know it’s all funny and pretend.

The Bottom Line:
Wallace & Gromit – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is well worth checking out whether you’re a kid or an adult. It is funny, exciting, and it’s a fantastic piece of animation.

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