Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Review
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a 2005 Aardman and DreamWorks animated comedy film directed by Nick Park and featuring the famous duo for the first time in feature-length format. The movie garnered critical acclaim and many awards, all deservedly so as it is really terrific.
The film follows the duo as they try to rescue the village from a mutant rabbit on rampage. The story was so charming and always entertaining. It may seem a bit simplistic at first and a bit too much like a typical classic horror feature, but it is a parody of that and I really like its incorporation of different genres such as comedy and horror. It all mashes surprisingly well together. The three-act structure is deft here with the build-up lasting for an appropriate amount of time and the ending being a bit drawn out. But the middle parts are the highlights with such a fantastic humor and really phenomenal character moments.
The character development is simply fantastic! It is the biggest strength of the whole movie undoubtedly. Wallace is so likable and grounded in reality as always. I really loved his story here and he is such a great central character. But it is Gromit who is arguably the highlight with such a charming personality and he is a great counter-act to Wallace. But he is so darn likable! I loved him in this movie and he was just the kind of animated main character that can be too heroic and too good and although he is like that, I still loved that about him as he showed a lot of heart and he was genuinely sympathetic throughout the whole running time. His facial expressions are priceless comedic gold and the relationship between the two is the standout aspect of the flick. They work so well together and they genuinely care about each other with Gromit serving as the sensible part of this duo, helping Wallace a lot in his goofy and dangerous business. But it is Gromit’s monitoring of Wallace’s eating schedule that really got me on another level as it was so funny but so incredibly endearing and just beautiful to behold. Those two are just two of the best animated characters ever in my opinion.
But the supporting characters are also very good which is even a bigger achievement. Lady Tottington is simply marvelous. She is the kind of character that you instantly like and although seemingly annoying at first, she really proved herself in the end with a goofy personality and a great relationship with Wallace. Those two are perfect for each other. Lord Victor Qaurtermaine is a respectable villain that plays on the comedic side with some hilarious moments. He was a real threat to the main characters and was really a good character all around. And all of the other characters are pretty good and serve their purpose.
As for the animation, what is there to say that isn’t expected. This is Aardman we’re talking about so of course it’s going to be a tremendously well crafted feature. It has such an endearing, simplistic character design that is just perfect for this kind of movie. But the attention to detail is stunning, the clothing and everything looks really well put together and I adored the vegetables as well. It is a world that you just don’t mind being in for hours as it is so charming and comfortable.
The world-building and details are evident with the technological stuff being so well imagined. The acting is absolutely superb. Peter Sallis is great as Wallace, Ralph Fiennes is so incredibly good as the villain and of course Helena Bonham Carter delivers. They really add a lot of the British flavor to an already very British-centric movie. The directing is good, but the editing not so much and more on that in just a bit. The dialogue is excellent and the humor is so amazing. I laughed a couple of times and the whole movie brought a smile to my face many, many times. But what intrigued me is the use of some really mature tone, especially in the humor. There was some sexual innuendo that I honestly did not expect in a family-friendly film, but it surprisingly did work as they thankfully never went too far with it and it was just hilarious to watch. The movie is clever in its horror parody and depiction of plain British folk, but it has a big heart which is even more commendable. And the score and sound effects were also quite good.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit admittedly has a couple of flaws. First, the action. It is very well executed, but it was overwhelming in its finale. Also, the editing is not particularly good as the movie which is already super short felt at times drawn out. It did drag at certain times just a bit. And also, while the whole third act is very good, thanks to all these points, it is never as good as the rest of the picture and some choices made here somewhat bothered me, particularly the somewhat annoying Wallace rabbit and the fact that Wallace was conscious near the end. That was expected, but still never properly explained.
Comparing it to other DreamWorks films, it is of course one of the very best. As for Aardman, I still think that ‘Shaun the Sheep Movie‘ is their best feature film, but Wallace and Gromit is on the same quality level as ‘Chicken Run‘ which is a big accomplishment and it even just might be a better film when I think about it as it is less predictable and overall more endearing. They really hit the right spot with this movie back in 2005 and it deservedly got the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature of that year. ‘Corpse Bride‘ was a respectable stop-motion competitor, but not quite like this and of course ‘Howl’s Moving Castle‘ is one of Studio Ghibli’s lesser works so the winner was much deserved.