Wallace and Gromit: the Curse of the Were-Rabbit” is another winner from Nick Park, creator of “Chicken Run” and the Academy Award-winning Wallace and Gromit shorts.
There is something for everyone in this movie, both for current fans of the claymation duo and for those who are just coming to know them.
The characters of Wallace and Gromit were created by director Nick Park, who has created three short clay animation films around the cheese loving inventor, Wallace and his faithful but long-suffering dog Gromit.
The earlier films, “A Grand Day Out” and the Oscar winning “The Wrong Trousers” and “A Close Shave,” chronicled the adventures of Wallace and Gromit as they traveled to the moon in search of cheese, thwarted the evil designs of a criminally genius penguin and save a herd of sheep from being turned into dog food by a mechanical dog.
In “Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and Gromit return as the owners of a humane pest-control company called Anti-Pesto.
They are hired by the townsfolk of their generic English village to rid the town of rabbits in advance of the Giant Vegetable competition.
Wallace is a compulsive inventor and his creations are all-encompassing, from the machines he uses to put on his clothes in the morning to the motion-sensing lawn gnomes that detect rabbit activity in the yards of his valued customers.
His dog Gromit manages to keep up with his owner’s inventions through books like “Electronics for Dogs.” He also keeps Wallace out of trouble with his common dog sense.
Things heat up for the two when they are hired by Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter) to rid her estate of a horde of vegetable-ravishing rabbits. There they run afoul of the gun-toting Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes) who has a less pacific method for dealing with garden vermin.
When the fearsome, vegetable devouring Were-Rabbit begins terrorizing the gardens of the helpless townsfolk, Wallace and Quartermaine battle simultaneously for the opportunity to defeat the monster and for Lady Tottington’s affections while Gromit tries to keep Wallace out of trouble.
The clay animation in this movie is far superior to the earlier Wallace and Gromit shorts and is smoother than “A Grand Day Out.” The director employs some effective visual gags, including a send-up of King Kong and a booth of angry mob supplies for the pitchfork-wielding townsfolk. Some mild sexual innuendo involving oversized melons makes an appearance, but it will be overlooked by the kids while providing some laughs for adults.
The uniquely British feel of the Wallace and Gromit series will be a pleasant surprise to new fans. The proper, cheese-and-tea meals with Wallace and Gromit along with the vegetable loving villagers with bad teeth create a charming backdrop for the main story.
“Curse of the Were-Rabbit” is a must see for new and old fans of Wallace and Gromit. People of every age will leave this film laughing, content and with a hankering for cheese.
Sean Paroski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.