Wallace: Peter Sallis
Lord Victor Quartermaine: Ralph Fiennes?Lady Tottington: Helena Bonham Carter?PC Mackintosh: Peter Kay?Mrs. Mulch: Liz Smith?Rev. Clement Hedges: Nicholas Smith?DreamWorks presents a film directed by Nick Park and Steve Box. Written by Bob Baker, Steve Box, Mark Burton and Nick Park. Running time: 85 minutes. Rated G.

Central Theme
Gromit is willing to sacrifice his most precious possession to save his friend Wallace who once again has innocently gotten himself in a heap of trouble.

“The cheese-loving Wallace (Peter Sallis) and his ever faithful dog Gromit — the much-loved duo from Aardman’s Oscar-winning clay-animated “Wallace & Gromit” shorts — star in an all new comedy adventure, marking their first full-length feature film.

As the annual Giant Vegetable Competition approaches, it’s “veggie-mania” in Wallace & Gromit’s neighbourhood. The two enterprising chums have been cashing in with their pest-control outfit, “Anti-Pesto,” which humanely dispatches the rabbits that try to invade the town’s sacred gardens.

Suddenly, a huge, mysterious, veg-ravaging beast begins terrorizing the neighbourhood, attacking the town’s prized plots at night and destroying everything in its path. Desperate to protect the competition, its hostess, Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter), commissions Anti-Pesto to catch the creature and save the day. Lying in wait, however, is Lady Tottington’s snobby suitor, Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes), who’d rather shoot the beast and secure the position of local hero — not to mention Lady Tottington’s hand in marriage. With the fate of the competition in the balance, Lady Tottington is eventually forced to allow Victor to hunt down the vegetable-chomping marauder. Little does she know that Victor’s real intent could have dire consequences for her … and our two heroes.

Nick Park ( “Chicken Run”), the original creator of Wallace & Gromit, and Steve Box are directing “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” from a screenplay by Steve Box & Nick Park and Bob Baker and Mark Burton. Peter Sallis, who has voiced the role of Wallace in all of the shorts, reprises his role in the feature film. Two-time Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes ( “The English Patient,” “Schindler’s List”) and Academy Award nominee Helena Bonham Carter ( “The Wings of the Dove”) are the voices of Victor and Lady Tottington, respectively.” (DreamWorks)‚©

I have a confession to make. I love Wallace and Gromit. They are two of the most endearing animated characters you’ll ever meet, and their loyalty and camaraderie is an inspiration while at the same time entertaining. Given that Gromit is a non-talking dog, it is an amazing accomplishment! Each of their previous stories (this is their first full length feature) carries a positive message and this one is no exception. The creators pull off innocence without sappiness, giving them the edge that entertains adults. This story is an irreverent homage to the horror genre and has a touch of misguided romance and in my view the writers find the lines of propriety without crossing them. I was interested in reading what “family friendly” reviews had to say.

Ted Baehr gives it a four star quality and one star wholesome instead of the four star “exemplary” observing, “CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT is a hilarious, superbly animated send-up of classic horror movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age. It has a strong moral worldview with overt references to self-sacrifice, but there is some light sexual innuendo and politically correct humor against hunting and in favor of the humane treatment of animals. Also, the local Anglican vicar is weak and slightly superstitious. Almost the entire movie is tongue-in-cheek, however, so these elements are not oppressive.”

Focus on the Family’s “Plugged In” likes the movie but scolds Parks, “Fortunately for parents everywhere, there’s no curse to be wary of in Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Unfortunately, the filmmakers decided to include a few elements that push the G rating. DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg fretted over a bit of the movie’s Benny Hill-esque bawdiness, according to Entertainment Weekly, but Park insisted on leaving it in, saying that’s what always draws the biggest laughs. “We wanted to be cheeky but retain a sense of innocence,” Park is quoted as saying in the EW article. Most of these jokes will go over the heads of the youngest children and even some older children, but they’re there all the same, occasionally leaving the wrong kind of fingerprints on what is otherwise a finely crafted bit of family entertainment that’ll have everyone laughing.”

Take these in the context of Roger Ebert, who loves this stop-motion animated film saying, ” Wallace and Gromit are arguably the two most delightful characters in the history of animation. Between the previous sentence and this one I paused thoughtfully and stared into space and thought of all of the other animated characters I have ever met, and I gave full points to Bugs Bunny and high marks to Little Nemo and a fond nod to Goofy, and returned to the page convinced that, yes, Wallace and Gromit are in a category of their own. To know them is to enter a universe of boundless optimism, in which two creatures who are perfectly suited to each other venture out every morning to make the world into a safer place for the gentle, the good and the funny.”

Here’s what I think–Baehr and Unplugged LOVED Wallace and Gromit, but are required to furrow their brow and point out “possible-but-not-really-that-offensive material to cover their bases with a hypersensitive viewing audience. Every, movie deserves scrutiny, but this G-rated venture deserves our praise without furrowed brows.

This send up of old horror movies entertains adults and kids alike but at varying levels. Nick Park creator and director is a Christian whose stories are warm and optimistic, but earthy enough to be real and human. He gets beyond the Pollyannish, saccharine storylines some people associate with wholesome films and accomplishes sweetness in the real world.

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  • Posted in Staublog in October 19, 2005 by | No Comments »

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