My first exposure to Aardman’s animation style was their 2000 full-length release Chicken Run (IMDb entry, Netflix rental info, Amazon.com DVD purchase info). I’d heard of Wallace & Gromit but because I thought they were characters most people thought were cool because, well, it was cool to say you thought they were cool, I had paid them no attention. Chicken Run’s quirky visual style and dry and pointed wit really appealed to me, however, so when I heard about a full-length Wallace & Gromit feature in late 2004, I was looking forward to it.
The story is simple enough: Wallace & Gromit are cashing in on the mania surrounding the town’s annual vegetable competition with their humane pest-control operation, Anti-Pesto. Business is so good, in fact, that they find themselves overloaded with captive rabbits, and suddenly the town’s vegetable gardens are being ravaged by a huge ravening beast with just days to go before the competition. Lady Tottington, the competition’s hostess, engages our heros to capture and control the beast, but her snobbish suitor Victor Quartermaine would like nothing better than to shoot the creature—he’d be a hero in the townsfolks’ eyes and he could secure Lady Tottington’s hand in marriage. But Victor’s actions could have dire consequences for everyone.
I was pleased when Curse of the Were-Rabbit was released to nearly universal critical acclaim, and I absolutely agree that the kudos are correct. The movie offers so many laughs and such a wide range of humor—puns, sight gags, pop-culture references—that there’s enough for two or three viewings, and you still won’t catch it all. I read through the trivia entries at IMDb and other places, so I knew what to look for, but I still missed some of it. And I used my DVD player’s “rewind” function many times as particularly amusing bits caught my fancy.
Absolutely worthwhile. One of the few titles I’ve rated 10 at IMDb and five stars at Netflix, and I’ll probably add it to my own DVD collection, it will stand up to repeated viewings so well.