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Wallace & Gromit:
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
By Mark Moorehead

October 8, 2005

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 called Anti-Pesto.

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 and Gromit.

Wallace too is infatuated with Lady Tottington, and the classic conflict of two men fighting over one woman irritates the more levelheaded, four-legged Gromit.

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 you laugh.

Wallace & 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 & Gromit.

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 News.


Mark's Movie Meter

General Audiences: A-

If you like those humorous, quirky animated shorts sometimes seen before a feature film you’ll love 85 minutes of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit. For adults and children of all ages. Nothing objectionable.

Family Audiences: A

Clay animation never looked so good. A clever inventor and his brainy but silent canine sidekick will tickle the funny bone in any child. No off-color adult humor. Rated G.





















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