"Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the
Directed by Nick Park & Steve Box.
Written by Bob Baker, Steve Box and Mark Burton. Based on
characters created by Nick Park.
Starring the voices of Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham
Release Year: 2005
Review Date: 10/17/2005
I'm not someone that I can claim to be a big
fan of the animated shorts that were made prior to this movie, but
certainly the "Wallace & Gromit" series of short films (nominated
for three Best Animated Short Film Oscars and winners of two of
them) has quite an audience. With "Wallace & Gromit in The
Curse of the Were-Rabbit", creator Nick Park takes his dynamic duo
to the big screen for a full-length film for the first time...and it
is some quality stuff and makes you understand why these two are so
Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) is the mad
inventor that does all of the talking; that's because his dog Gromit
doesn't do any talking at all. Together, they fit like a
glove, mostly because Wallace seems to be completely witless at
times and his faithful dog is always bailing him out of trouble.
In this film--and someone else can tell me if this is always their
scheme or if it's just for this feature--Wallace has come up with a
way to humanely rid the locals' homes of pests for a price to fund
more of his crazy inventions. One of these inventions, a
brainwave monitor that allows him to brainwash some of these pests
into no longer being all pest-like, is helpful when Wallace tries to
help a rich woman named Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter) rid her
estate grounds of wild rabbits. After bagging a few dozen
rabbits and winning the hearts of Tottington and English citizens
everywhere, Wallace decides to test out his new brainwave toy...with
disastrous results. Eventually, it's up to Wallace & Gromit to
humanely take down a mutated rabbit before a vegetable festival at
the end of the week...all while Tottington's suitor Victor
Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes) tries to take out the mutated rabbit
himself by violent means.
The biggest surprise to me with
"Were-Rabbit" was how funny it was; in particular, the reaction
shots of Gromit to almost anything Wallace or the other characters
do are fantastic. You wouldn't think that Park (along with
co-director Steve Box) could find ways to always make Gromit
covering his mouth in horror funny...but he does! You also
wouldn't think that little touches--Gromit calmly locking his car
doors, Gromit knitting, Gromit eating breakfast while waiting for
his master to come down to the table--get so many laughs, but they
do...Gromit is the lynchpin that makes the movie work. His
fight scene with Quartermaine's dog near the end of the film is the
movie's best moment; this is mostly because the evil pooch looks
menacing all movie long, then when a toy plane needs to have coins
fed to it in order to keep it running, the bad dog whips out a very
feminine change purse to feed the meter. But the silent Gromit
has so many great moments in "Were-Rabbit" that he almost makes the
film worth the watch by himself. Or itself.
The animation is great, and much like other
stop-motion animation films, the way characters move is just kind of
cool to watch; this was maybe the best part about Tim Burton's
a few weeks ago, and in a movie where the characters and the story
are also strong, this makes for a great package. "Were-Rabbit"
is too long and at times, seems to drag in order to give fans of the
series scenes that feel like they will help long-standing fans
reconnect with their heroes; an 85-minute film like this is probably
only worth 70 minutes of real screen time, if cut correctly.
To its credit, though, "Were-Rabbit" has good pacing even if some of
it feels redundant.
Good stuff. Certainly this is a film
that everyone can enjoy, and hopefully folks won't skip this due to
the G rating or the feeling that it might be a kids movie; it's just
clean entertainment that at times is very funny in a understated,
chuckles kind of way. And now, maybe I'll go back and watch
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard