Wallace and Gromit has turned into quite a lucrative franchise over the last few years. In '89 Creator, Writer and Director Nick Park introduced us to these two lovable characters with a short movie entitled A Grand Day Out. He followed this up with The Wrong Trousers and then A Close Shave, also only short (30 minute) productions. After the success of these various endeavours, Wallace's cheese-obsessed gadget-freak and his silent but infinitely smarter canine colleague, Gromit, have finally been given free rein in the cinema with this eighty-minute feature-length 'Hollywood' release, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Now it comes to DVD in the lavish form of a two-disc special edition, but is it any good?
You don't really need to know any background about these characters' past exploits because within the first few minutes it becomes apparent how this partnership works: Wallace has a hair-brain scheme for every day of the week and - to his credit - most of them work, but Gromit is always the more sensible, down-to-earth member of the team who, unfortunately, is not often able to communicate his doubts to his over-enthusiastic colleague. As ever this leads to no end of trouble for the duo.
Running their own pest-control business, Anti-Pesto, the movie kicks off with a Thunderbirds-style intro that sees the two called into action to get rid of some unwanted pests in the neighbourhood. Soon their help is required at the Tottington Estate, where Lady Tottington has a rabbit infestation. Although the dynamic duo are clearly capable of dealing with their prey (always in a humane manner, like vacuuming them up), no matter how many there are, Wallace is keen on putting a stop to the carrot-attacks at the source - he wants to brainwash them into avoiding the orange vegetable.
Of course, things go predictably wrong and pretty soon there is a giant possessed rabbit on the loose, operating on a lunar cycle. Determined to catch the monster that they created, things get more complicated when Wallace falls for Lady Tottington, who is already being courted by the wig-wearing hump, Victor Quartermaine. Now his mission is about honour and love, but even if he messes it all up, he knows that Gromit will be there to save the day.
The Curse of the Were-rabbit is easily the most accomplished of the Wallace and Gromit adventures, largely thanks to its feature running time and grander-scale story. There are some outstanding moments (like the aforementioned introductory sequence, the dog-fight chase sequence and basically anything involving the cute - if sometimes disturbed - bunnies) but what keeps this movie going is the cleverly developed plot that carries you through from start to finish. Whilst none of their previous exploits could have been stretched out into such a feature-length production, it is clear that the creator Nice Park, has gone to some lengths to come up with a release that will sustain the attention of a cinema audience and will also consistently please and entertain all those avid fans of his creations. Curse of the Were-rabbit certainly proves that he has a prize-winning formula for success.
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