Man and his best friend trot
across movie screens all across the country
this month in search of rabbits in a pumpkin
patch. Wallace (voice by Peter Sallis) and
Gromit (his silent but cerebral dog) are
owner-operators of a pest control company
Like a plague, rabbits have
over populated suburbia and devoured
vegetable gardens on a scale never witnessed
before. The locals are hopping mad. To make
matters worse, the vegetable-snacking
rabbits threaten the “Giant Vegetable
Competition,” the most thrilling event of
the year where farmers proudly parade their
biggest and best produce.
To ensure the success of the
competition, and perhaps save the family
farm as well, local neighborhood activist
Lady Tottington (voice by Helena Bonham
Carter) hires Wallace and Gromit to
“humanely” remove rabbits from her garden
without harming a single hare on their
chinny chin chins.
Fortunately for Ms Tottington,
Wallace is as inventive as Jimmy Neutron
(the animated boy with a penchant for
creating all sorts of cool gizmos) and a
very civilized man.
Wallace created the Bun-Vac
6000, a vacuum cleaner designed to suck up
rabbits into a chamber where they float
around in mid-air until they are released
without injury. It looks like a good game
plan until local bully Victor Quartermaine
(voice by Ralph Fiennes) decides to get in
on the action and rid the neighborhood of
rabbits by shooting them.
Quartermaine has an ulterior
motive for removing rabbits: He’s courting
the wealthy Lady Tottington and hopes to
impress her with his superior removal method
while at the same time humiliating Wallace
Wallace too is infatuated
with Lady Tottington, and the classic
conflict of two men fighting over one woman
irritates the more levelheaded, four-legged
If this were not enough of a
plot line, director Nick Park (Chicken
Run) adds mystery and suspense by the
sudden appearance of a giant rabbit that
elevates the anxiety of the townsfolk by
leaps and bounds.
Park taps into classic
universal horror films like An American
Werewolf in London and Dr.
Jekell and Mr. Hyde
to set up the subplot designed to make you
guess the true identity of the proverbial
rabbit-eared Big Foot.
It’s a joy to watch
Wallace & Gromit’s
timeless clay animation figures come to life
with myriad comical facial expressions.
Those hysterical teeth and
deer-in-the-headlight eyes are sure to make
& Gromit will give
computer-animated films like Shrek
some stiff competition. Speaking of stiff,
there are 24 frames per second of film time
in stop-motion animations like Wallace
An animator takes a clay
figure character like Wallace and moves one
little part of his hand a fraction of an
inch and then “clicks” the camera shutter.
At this pace it takes all day
just to shoot three seconds of film.
Nevertheless, stop-motion animation films
like Corpse Bride and
Wallace & Gromit are proof
it’s worth the wait.
Pecan Grove Estates resident
Mark Moorehead writes regularly for Wrangler