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10 reviews, 38 user ratings

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Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Better than a slice of gorgonzola"
5 stars

Because I had just been subjected to the fairly unspeakable “Waiting,” one of the most dismal comedies in recent memory, I was admittedly not in the most pleasant of moods when I sat down to watch “Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” the feature-length debut of the British animated duo that became international sensations on the basis of three stop-motion shorts (1989's “A Grand Day Out,” 1993's “The Wrong Trousers” and 1995's “A Close Shave”). Amazingly, that dark cloud all but disintegrated within a minute or two of the film starting and was replaced with feelings of sheer, giddy delight. This is an utterly charming and utterly hilarious romp that will enthrall longtime fans and newcomers alike and provides some of the biggest laughs I have seen in a film this year. As bad as “Waiting” is, that is how good “W&G” is–it not only entertains, it comes close to restoring your faith in the movies

Latecomers to the party should know going in that Wallace (Peter Sallis) is a typical British Everyman–the kind that Peter Sellers might have played in a low-key 1950's movie–with a passion for inventions that is outweighed only by his passion for cheese and Gromit is the infinitely patient and resourceful dog that serves as his partner (calling him a “pet” doesn’t begin to do him justice). As the film opens, we see them hard at work at their latest endeavor–they are the proprietors of the Anti-Pesto pest-control service and guard the gardens of their clients against ravenous-but-cute bunny rabbits. As befitting their gentle natures, W&G prefer a gentle, no-kill method of dealing with the critters–they suck them out of the ground with a giant vacuum machine and then keep them in well-fed captivity in their basement.

Because the town’s Giant Vegetable competition, a yearly affair thrown by the rich and glamourous Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter), is only a few days away, business is booming and the house is threatening to become overrun with rabbits. In a fit of inspiration, Wallace decides to use a mind-altering machine that he has developed (in an effort to kick the cheese habit and lose some weight) to brainwash the rabbits in an effort to curb their lust for the veg. Inevitably, something goes wrong during the process and before long, the town is overrun by the dreaded Were-Rabbit, a creature who comes out at night in order to ravage the countryside. Although Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes), the dastardly rotter after the hand and fortune of Lady Tottington, insists that the only way to stop the creature is with a gun, the town is taken with Wallace’s grand plan (“We’ll capture him . . . with a big trap!”) and the two get the job. Of course, what they don’t tell the townspeople is that the creature may be the rabbit that Wallace used in the botched experiment or, even worse, it might be Wallace himself.

The film was co-directed by Nick Park, the man who created W&G and directed both their previous adventures and the charming 2000 feature “Chicken Run.” That film, you will recall, was an ingenious blend of silly humor for the kids, sly genre parody for the adults (mostly P.O.W. escape films such as “The Great Escape”) and a strong basic story that was both simple enough for young viewers and compelling enough for older ones. “Curse of the Were-Rabbit” follows that same pattern to a T and the results are just as entertaining. Little kids will adore the elaborate contraptions and the big action set-pieces (including a car chase and a high-flying battle involving Gromit, Victor’s evil dog and a coin-op carnival airplane) and will be thoroughly amused by the deliberately silly monster. Grown-ups will appreciate both the gentle spoofing of the horror genre (and there are a couple of moments where Park and co-director Steve Box work up an atmosphere more convincing than most recent scare films) and the in-jokes, references and puns that cram every frame. (I will mention only two–a diet breakfast food called Middle Age Spread and a vegetable shop with a neon sign in the shape of a giant carrot named “Harvey’s”). And everyone is likely to get caught up in the story: although we can be fairly certain that nothing bad will happen to our heroes, the film takes care to portray Victor as a genuine menace (though not a scary one) instead of as a simple buffoon and this lends an edge to the proceedings.

Those are the big, broad and highly noticeable things but what really sets “Curse of the Were-Rabbit” (indeed, all of the W&G shorts) apart from the competition are the smaller moments. Even in a fast-paced animated film such as this (especially a stop-motion one, where an average day of work yields maybe a couple of seconds of usable film), Park and Box leave room for nice character moments throughout. There are looks that Gromit gives that don’t necessarily advance the plot but they give us a perfect understanding of the relationship between himself and Wallace.. And there is the odd, awkward flirting between Wallace and Lady Tottington that inspires a lot of surprisingly adult-minded jokes (Lady Tottington leads Wallace to her “secret garden” and shows him some strategically-placed produce) and yet is so beguiling and amusing that even the most impatient “girls-are-yucky!” boys will get a kick out of it. (Along those lines, should I be disturbed that this is the second time in less than a month that I have found a plasticine stop-motion figure with the voice of Helena Bonham Carter to be far more attractive than most of the flesh-and-blood women currently on the screen?)

Fans of Wallace & Gromit may have feared that the leap from short subjects to feature films might damage their simple charms by making everything bigger, louder and dumber. Happily, that is not the case and “Curse of the Were-Rabbit” may be their most endearing adventure to date. The only possible complaint that one might have about the film is that, at 85 minutes, it is simply too short. (To stretch things out, Dreamworks has added a bonus cartoon, unseen by me, featuring the penguins that were the sole highlight of “Madagascar.”) Happily, this is a film so full of good cheer, endearing characters and easily-missed jokes (such as the titles of the books where Wallace hides his secret cheese stash) that repeat viewings are not only suggested, they are almost required.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12870&reviewer=389
originally posted: 10/06/05 23:56:11
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User Comments

3/18/14 Abfjnvhw Whatever china the reason is that the international background of such cross-border deals., 5 stars
2/13/14 SqSmFYrmhgSIxa sverige.txt;1 3 stars
8/18/09 daria vjHGft Gra7noI59Unral92Bb7wf 4 stars
3/21/08 Pamela White Wallace and Gromit are sooo cute 4 stars
1/16/08 ben dover great stevo needs to die in his own shit 5 stars
4/17/07 Stevo UK Complete Bollocks. the shorts were good, but this just takes the piss. 1 stars
3/20/07 man strictly for the kids 1 stars
1/09/07 Phil M. Aficionado Cute, but not engaging. After 40 minutes, zapped it. Maybe I'd like the shorts better, huh? 3 stars
10/18/06 David Pollastrini the shorts were better 3 stars
9/01/06 Chad Thomas Cute and clever movie! 4 stars
5/19/06 Kcaj Good but lacking the X Factor 4 stars
5/12/06 mr.seraph wallace and gromit... always good, this movies no exception 5 stars
4/12/06 gfh not bad at ll 3 stars
4/01/06 mary clare this movie is full of crap.the guy that likes the rich gal is ugly and he is a horror. 2 stars
3/28/06 mike very good animated flick! 5 stars
3/18/06 Quigley I knew it'd be funny, but not hilarious! it was very clever, too. don't miss it 5 stars
3/11/06 Shaun Wallner Very Funny Movie My duagter loves it 4 stars
2/23/06 Eden Agree with Daveman, its good but just not as eccentric as the shorts were 4 stars
2/20/06 Annie G We laughed and laughed. Differently the winning animation movie of the year. 5 stars
2/18/06 the laughing man Witty, Fun, and Brilliant 5 stars
11/22/05 Sir Spam-a-lot corpse what? 5 stars
11/08/05 Littlepurch AMAZING! W&G rule! And it SO doesn't sag in the middle like some people have said! 5 stars
10/31/05 PAG Quite funny. 4 stars
10/27/05 Daveman Excellent but less eccentric and more formulaic than the shorts which is a dire shame. 4 stars
10/27/05 hayley nicholas this film is top class!'i think there about to go up in the world ;)' i luved it! 5 stars
10/24/05 drfardook just flat out entertaining. a rarity these days. 5 stars
10/23/05 Paul Stubbs It`s a cracker! (with cheese of course) 5 stars
10/16/05 Vicky Film was fabby, I want my home to be a sanctuary for all things fluffy too! 5 stars
10/15/05 bob was funny, loved it, best i've seen lately 5 stars
10/14/05 KingNeutron Occasionally veers off into the Wildly Improbable. ;-) 4 stars
10/13/05 Ole Man Bourbon Cute 4 stars
10/12/05 d charming! 5 stars
10/08/05 Philip Buckley-Mellor You'd have to be dead to not love this film 5 stars
10/08/05 Jonathon Holmes great fun, but not as good as "Howl's Moving Castle" 4 stars
10/08/05 Jim The Movie Freak I liked the rabbits 5 stars
10/08/05 bullit16 Wonderful for kids AND adults. Flat-out brilliant 5 stars
9/30/05 Green Gremlin Beats the hell out of "Robots"...can't wait for the sequel !!! 5 stars
9/20/05 Rever_Bear-Trap AWESOME, JUST PURE & ENTERTAINING FUN... Better than any CGI animated flicks! 5 stars
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  05-Oct-2005 (G)
  DVD: 07-Feb-2006



Directed by
  Steve Box
  Nick Park

Written by
  Bob Baker
  Steve Box
  Nick Park

  Peter Sallis
  Helena Bonham Carter
  Ralph Fiennes
  Peter Kay
  John Thomson

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