Thursday 20 October 2005

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) - ickleReview (cinema)

The return of the wearers of the Wrong Trousers. Nick Park's animated creations now run a humane pest control company called Pesto, which captures the local rabbit population to prevent them nibbling away at the townsfolks' vegetables, carefully guarded for the giant vegetable growing competition held at Lady Tottington's grand estate. "Totty" (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter), as she is known familiarly, is being wooed by Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes), a gun-toting toff, but falls for Wallace when he solves her rabbit infestation without harming a single bunny. However, when Wallace's pest rehabilitation machine goes wrong, he creates a giant were-rabbit, who hunts herbage by night, stalking the locals' prize pieces, just days before the harvest festival.

Aardman Animations has grown considerably since the first Wallace & Gromit film The Wrong Trousers in 1993. This project is much more ambitious with rain drops on window panes, rabbits whizzed around in mid-air and more cheesy details than you can shake a cocktail stick at. The writing is saturated with Pixaresque homages to King Kong (rather predictably), An American Werewolf in London, Frankenstein and (probably) many others. The way it freshens cliche is, however, delightful. Although set in an anachronistic 50s suburbia, the film references contemporary issues such as obesity (Wallace is too fat to fit through his breakfast trapdoor - too much cheese), hunting (Quartermaine's aristocratic bunny blood-lust), and, tenuously, bobby's on the beat (PC Mackintosh is hosted by TV's Peter Kay). There are some wondefully cheesy puns: Wallace's bookshelf holds such fromagious works as Swiss Cheese Family Robinson, East of Edam, Grate Expectations and Waiting for Gouda, but I won't spoil the fun by recounting them all here.

Nugget: a thoroughly enjoyable plasticine adventure, with the sort of crossover appeal that we have come to expect of animated films.

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