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Arts & Culture

Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Wallace and Gromit employ their latest inventions to rid her estate of rabbits. But then Wallace has an idea. What if they brainwashed the bunnies into not wanting to eat vegetables? Then the creatures could be freed and wouldnt pose a threat to the local gardeners. Right about now you should envision Gromit shaking his head, knowing full well that something will undoubtedly go wrong.

And wrong it does indeed go. During the brainwash process, Wallace and one rabbit have a kind of mind meld or brain transference, and the result is the creation of a monster of legendthe dreaded were-rabbit. Not quite as dangerous as Monty Python's killer rabbit, but terrifying nonetheless. As usual, Gromit proves to be the one who must put everything right.

As with his short films and his prior feature Chicken Run, Nick Park once again proves to be a clever, witty storyteller. For The Curse of the Were-Rabbit , Park teams with Steve Box (one of his animators) to direct and write. They endow the film with a certain quaint, old-fashion quality. I know those terms are often used to condemn something but in this case it is meant entirely as praise. It is quaint and old-fashioned in the way it values things that have gone out of style in animated films. They value careful storytelling, development of character, and a relaxed sense of pace. There's none of the hysteria and need for rattling off one-liners here (but those qualities can be found in the Madagascar short that precedes the film). This animated film feels very much like it comes from the same country as all those Ealing Studio comedies.


Park and Box have a great time paying homage to a number of old classics ranging from Frankenstein to King Kong to Harvey and of course, The Wolfman. They know how to send up the conventions of the genre as when a terrifying crescendo of organ music turns out to have been played by the church organist in the scene. The filmmakers also have a wonderful sense of comic detail. Whether its the vicar sprinkling his vegetables with holy water or Gromit's airbag opening at the end of a car chase or punny headlines in the newspaper, they are always on the lookout for the little things that will make a scene play better.

The film also dazzles with its claymation animation. The characters are so well rendered and with such personality that you can forget they are animated. Their environment is also carefully designed. And then there are the Rube Goldberg devices that are such a part of the Wallace and Gromit world. Unlike the contraptions that existed simply to fill time and display technology in Robots , the elaborate inventions that are on display in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit exist to reveal more about Wallaces personality than to showcase clever animation techniques. Wallaces inventionswhich go right about as often as they go wrongreflect Wallaces desire to always make things better.

The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is about as good as it gets. Its a delightful, captivating film that may not have you rolling in the aisles with laughter but it will put a radiant smile on your face.