(director/writer: Steve Box/Nick Park; screenwriters: Bob Baker/Nick Burton; cinematographer: Tristan Oliver/Dave Alex Riddett; editors: David McCormick/Gregory Perler; music: Julian Nott; voices: Peter Sallis (Wallace), Helena Bonham Carter (Lady Campanula Tottington), Ralph Fiennes (Victor Quartermaine), Nicholas Smith (Reverend Hedges), Liz Smith (Mrs. Mulch); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: G; producers: Nick Park/Peter Lord/Carla Shelley/David Sproxton; DreamWorks; 2005-UK)

“Superb craftsmanship.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Nick Park’s (“Chicken Run”) whimsical clay stop-motion-animation film has many things going for it to please even someone like me who is not a fan of the animation genre, such as its pleasingly fast pace, likable and memorable characters, superb craftsmanship, marvelous eye for detail shown by the animators (all the characters are made by hand), PC theme against cruelty to animals and a smart sassy humor. It’s codirected by Steve Box.

Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) is from the provincial Brit middle-class and is a talented inventor who is garrulous, a bit dim-witted and lacks common-sense. He becomes entrepreneurial minded and invents a machine that allows him to operate a humane pest-relocation service called Anti-Pesto, in which he captures rabbits who have been eating the produce from the local gardens. Once sucked into this machine, the rabbits are placed in Wallace’s basement. His sidekick is a mute loyal dog named Gromit, the smart one of the dynamic duo. They reside in a small English village where most of the locals are expert gardeners and take their gardening seriously. Gromit also plans on entering the competition in the Annual Giant Vegetable Competition by growing his own very large melon.

Business is booming, and the duo even receive a call from the wealthy Lady Tottington (voice of Helena Bonham Carter), the host of the garden show, who discovers she’s being invaded by many rabbits in her lawn/garden at her castle. Wallace and Lady Tottington have a flirtation thing going but she’s being pursued by a suitor from her own upper-class, Victor Quartermaine (voice of Ralph Fiennes). He’s an arrogant hunter type, who wants to kill the rabbits with his shotgun.

Because business is so good, there are too many rabbits relocated in Wallace’s basement. So the inventor designs the Mind-O-Matic, which will brainwash the rabbits from eating veggies by causing them to have an aversion for what they do naturally. Naturally, the experiment goes bonkers and it results in a gigantic were-rabbit on the loose in the community munching on all the veggies. Victor wants to execute the giant were-rabbit with a a 24-carot gold bullet, even though Lady Tottington prefers a more humane approach saying “I believe the killing of fluffy creatures is never justified.” After some serious setbacks, Gromit figures out a satisfying way to save the day.

It’s all very silly, but admittedly it was much fun.

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Poster

REVIEWED ON 11/23/2005 GRADE: B+     https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/