Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Review
By Joe Lozito
Feat of Clay
For the first ten minutes or so of "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit", you marvel at the claymation technique used to bring the sublimely silly title characters so palpably to life. But then you're blind-sided by the virtually non-stop barrage of jokes and sight gags until you worry you might be missing some. Indeed, there are more chuckles during the title sequence of "Wallace & Gromit" than most comedies in recent memory.
For a "W&G" fan, though, this is no surprise. Writer-director Nick Park's characters - Wallace, a sort of cheese-loving mad scientist and his faithful, mouthless pooch, Gromit - were first introduced in three superlative shorts ("A Close Shave", "The Wrong Trousers" and "A Grand Day Out"). Then Mr. Park seemingly single-handedly kept the claymation tradition going in feature length with 2000's wonderful "Chicken Run"
. "Were-Rabbit" has the same zippy pace and referential British humor as "Chicken", but its plot is just a little too stupid.
"Were-Rabbit" revolves around an annual vegetable growing contest for which Wallace and Gromit serve as security (they run a vegetable-protection business called Anti-Pesto). That's all fine until a beast starts running amok in the town during the full moon, eating all the crops and wreaking general havoc. I'm not asking for Tolstoy here, but all the Were-Rabbit stuff got a little old after a while. Still, there are plenty of wall-to-wall gags in Mr. Park's script (co-written with Mark Burton, Bob Baker and Steve Box, who also co-directed) to keep any viewer interested for 85 minutes.
The real achievement in this film is Gromit. Always the brains of the outfit, Gromit really comes into his own in "W&G". He's given all the best scenes, jokes and reaction shots. And all with no mouth. With "Were-Rabbit" Mr. Park establishes Gromit as the best animated canine character since Snoopy.
As a side note, it's worth noting that "W&G" is being shown with an animated short called "A Christmas Caper" featuring the "Madagascar Penguins". "Caper" is a super-quick romp which ends up being much funnier than the original film from which the characters emerged. Paired with "W&G", it's a great time at the movies. But enough with the rabbits already.