Film: Wallace & Gromit

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Film:

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Director: Steve Box, Nick Park
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Distributor: Dreamworks Video

A decade after their last hilarious short, the Oscar-winning A Close Shave, Claymation wonders Wallace and Gromit return for a full-length adventure. Daffy scientist Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and his heroic dog Gromit are doing well with their business, Anti-Pesto, a varmint-hunting outfit designed to keep their English town safe from rabbits chomping on prized vegetables. Wallace meets Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter), who appreciates Wallace’s humane way of dealing with rabbits (courtesy of the Bun-Vac 6000), and sets up a rivalry with the…

Reviews

Amazon.com

A decade after their last hilarious short, the Oscar-winning A Close Shave, Claymation wonders Wallace and Gromit return for a full-length adventure. Daffy scientist Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and his heroic dog Gromit are doing well with their business, Anti-Pesto, a varmint-hunting outfit designed to keep their English town safe from rabbits chomping on prized vegetables. Wallace meets Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter), who appreciates Wallace’s humane way of dealing with rabbits (courtesy of the Bun-Vac 6000), and sets up a rivalry with the gun-toting Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes, enjoying himself more than ever). Creator Nick Park, with co-director/writer Steve Box, delivers a story worthy of the 85-minute running time, although it stretches the act a bit; the formula plays better shorter, but the literally hand-crafted film is a joy to watch. Taking a chapter from classic horror films, a giant were-rabbit is soon on the prowl, and the town is up in arms, what with the annual vegetable contest close at hand. (Anyone who’s seen the previous three shorts knows who saves the day.) Never content to do something simply when the extravagant will do, W&G’s lives are filled with whimsical Rude Goldberg-style devices, and the opening number showcasing their alarm system is pure Aardman Animation at its finest. Even though there’s a new twist here—a few mild sight gags aimed at adults—this G-rated film will delight young and old alike as Park, like team Pixar, seems incapable of making anything but an outstanding film. —Doug Thomas

Barnes and Noble

Heartening news for Wallace & Gromit fans who have waited a decade for the British clay-animated duo to return to the screen: Their first feature film, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, is just as funny, clever, and inventive as their trio of sublime short subjects (collected on Wallace & Gromit in Three Amazing Adventures). Cheese-loving inventor Wallace (indelibly voiced by Peter Sallis) and his resourceful, steadfast canine companion, Gromit, rank among the screen’s great buddy teams. Curse of the Were-Rabbit >—co-directed by W&G creator Nick Park and fellow Aardman Studios animator Steve Box—finds them happily employed as the owners and operators of Anti-Pesto, which uses humane methods and ingenious contraptions to make local gardens rabbit-free. Things really get hopping on the eve of the annual vegetable competition, when Wallace and Gromit are hired by Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter) to solve her magnificent garden’s rabbit problem. An untested Wallace invention, intended to brainwash rabbits into becoming anti-vegans, malfunctions; and soon a behemoth bunny is on the loose. Rabbit hunter Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes) is determined to kill the beast to impress Lady Tottington (to whom Wallace has also taken a fancy). Curse of the Were-Rabbit is brimming with Rube Goldbergian delights, gentle humor, and dazzling set pieces, such as Gromit’s climactic airborne rescue of his friend and master who, typically, has gotten himself into a hare-raising pickle. It is one of the best films of the year, family or otherwise, and, with apologies to Wallace, not at all cheesy. The bountiful extras include Steve Box’s own award-winning short film, “Stage Fright,” segments devoted to the painstaking stop-motion animation process, and “A Day in the Life” at Aardman Studios. Donald Liebenson

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