Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit DVD Review
PictureWallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-rabbit is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio anamorphically enhanced widescreen transfer that also puts it a cut above some of the their previous adventures. There is decent detail throughout, little softness and negligible grain. The colour scheme is broad and luscious, with every single colour lovingly reproduced with vibrant depth. As animations go this is a fantastic representation and Wallace and Gromit have simply never looked as good as this before. The transfer exhibits no signs of any print defects or damage either.
SoundThe main soundtrack is a solid Dolby Digital 5.1 track that, whilst definitely frontally dominated throughout, still does offer up a slightly broader range from time to time. There are clear and coherent vocals from start to finish (and that's what dominates the frontal array) but there are also plenty of nice little effects that populate your living room, although only occasionally do you really notice them coming at you from all around. The boisterous score thematically rounds out the proceedings and tries its best to get the surrounds to join in on the fun, but all in all - despite its apparent limited scope - it is not a bad effort.
ExtrasFirst up we get a Filmmakers Commentary with Director/Writer Steve Box and Director/Writer Nick Park. They talk about everything, from the brass band that was used, the negligible plot holes, the nice little ideas (some of which I personally failed to even notice), the changes made in the editing studio and the love they had for the bunnies. They discuss how certain sequences were done, the use of CGI bunnies (for sheer numbers), the lengths they went to in bringing the script alive and how proud they are with the final result. It is quite a nice little commentary, not too technical and not too fluffy, but it could have done with perhaps a few more anecdotes to sustain your interest.
There are nine Deleted Scenes, all with optional Commentary to explain why they were removed or altered for the final cut. We get an Alternative Opening (including a Deleted PC Mac sequence), a Mind-O-Matic scene, a Launch scene, CG Altered Rabbit Ears, two Alternate Endings, two versions of the Anti-Pesto song and a single Deleted Shot. Some of them are shown just using the storyboards, or incomplete animation, but it is still nice to see some of the original ideas they came up with. Totalling over thirteen minutes of extra footage, it all comes as a welcome addition to the proceedings.
The History of Wallace & Gromit Featurette is a whopping twenty minutes long and has the crew members in various locations giving interview snippets, interspliced with plenty of footage from the final cut of the movie. Thankfully we also get to see some clips of their previous adventures, shots of the vocal contributors performing in the studio and comparisons made to other earlier similarly animated production. Far from fluffy, this comprehensive featurette really charts the history of this duo.
The Behind the Scenes of The Curse of the Were-rabbit runs at a little over twelve minutes and takes an in-depth look at the technical processes and specifics of putting a production like this together. Again, utilising clips from their other adventures (as well as this one), the crew members talk about their creation and how they came up with some of the ideas that populated their first feature-length movie.
A Day in the Life at Aardman is an eight-minute Studio Tour of the Aardman production studio. There we get to see many of the production crew working their magic, talking about their craft and basically getting on with a typical day at work (only with a video camera shoved in your face). We get to see the sketch artists working their magic and basically this nice little video diary paints an interesting and very real portrait of the people behind this animated work of art.
The How to Build a Bunny Featurette is only about three minutes' long, but it is just designed to focus on the specific creation of the bunnies for the movie, with the relevant crew member talking in detail (as she dissects one of the bunny models) about how they are put together and how they work.
The Family Album is basically a four-part photo gallery split into: Signs, Storyboards, Wallace & Gromit's Photo Album and Behind the Scenes. They all offer some interesting looks at the production, either from a conceptual, promotional or background point of view.
In the Interactive 'Dreamwork Kids' Section there are four very simple interactive features that you can access, all based on the movie. Using your remote control, you can either catch bunnies in the Anti-Pesto SWAT game, view Victor Quartermaine's interactive Guide to Cool, learn Style with Lady Tottington (where you get to decide what she wears) and a Build Your Own Bunny section (which just cuts to the featurette on building bunnies).
Finally on the first disc we get previews for the amusing animated production Madagascar, the slightly disappointing Shark Tale, the excellent Shrek movies, and the live-action kids' movie Nanny McPhee.
On the second disc we get a further eight-minute Making of the Were-Rabbit Featurette, which takes a more in-depth look at the ideas behind the new production's story - making references to Jekyll and Hyde - and how they put it all together. This seems like an independently-produced featurette, with irritating narration through some sections and a lot of overlap with the other more viewer-friendly production, but it is still worth a look if you are interested in how they made this fantastic movie.
The Wallace & Gromit Cracking Contraptions section offers you access to 10 Animated Shorts on some of the various creations that come from the vivid imaginations of this dynamic duo: The Soccamatic, The Tellyscope, The Autochef, The Snoozatron, The Turbo Diner, The Bully Proof Vest, The 525 Crackervac, A Christmas Cardomatic, The Snowmanotron and Shopper 13. Totalling some twenty-five minutes of further animation, this is quite a nice little extra that should have fans laughing out loud - some of the sketches here are truly hilarious, normally thanks to Gromit's improvisations to deal with Wallace's mistakes.
The Amazing World of Wallace & Gromit lasts fifteen minutes and appears to be an independently-produced making-of that focuses on the creators of Wallace & Gromit and their latest vision. Once again we get plenty of clips from their previous adventures, along with interviews from the respective cast members and a tepid narration taking you through the whole evolution of these characters. The best bits include the clips of their adventures dubbed into other languages - Japanese being the most amusing, although German comes a close second
Stage Fright is a ten-minute short animation by Nick Park, that focuses on a run-down theatre, a dictatorial filmmaker and his young study. Nowhere near as clean and enjoyable as Wallace & Gromit, this is a gritty and - at times - dark adventure that I didn't really like very much.
VerdictWell, Wallace & Gromit are in a league of their own when it comes to plasticine animation and if you thought that they could not survive a cinematic-length production then here is proof that they can. Moreso, it is probably their best release so far. The video is good and the audio is perfectly acceptable, but the wealth of extras (some of which are almost as interesting, entertaining and amusing as the main feature itself) really make the disc a must-have for your collection. Wallace & Gromit fans should be clicking the buy button right now.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £22.99
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.