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Wallace and Gromit: The Case of the Were-Rabbit

September 21, 2014

Wallace and Gromit: The Case of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
Director: Nick Park, Steve Box
Actors: Peter Sallis, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes

WereRabbitD-2659.jpg (400×244)

Synopsis: Tottington is gearing up for its Annual Vegetable Competition, and, to that end, Wallace and Gromit are busy in their sideline as ‘pest controllers’ – stopping groups of bunnies from munching residents’ prized vegetables. A dotty experiment by Wallace to implant anti-vegetable urges in a collection of captured rabbits backfires as his cheese-loving tendencies are swapped with those of a rabbit, thus placing the community in peril from an even greater pest….

Review: This fun, rich and exquisite British animated comedy from the celebrated Aardman studio is an absolute pleasure to watch: a sure-fire 85-minute smile generator, and featuring storytelling craft and wit at the highest pitch of ingenuity.

Where perhaps I’d place The Case of the Were-Rabbit just marginally ahead of the spate of stellar work coming from Pixar and other animated studios ‘across the pond’ is in its gentle pang of something unmistakably eccentric, irreverent and “British” in sensibility. That’s not to say Aardman have neglected the necessary mainstream (and dare I say, cutesy) imperatives to the genre, but there really are some cracking gags, references and one-liners that will please not just kids and adults, but proper comedy connoisseurs too. There’s something almost Blackadderian in The Case of the Were-Rabbit‘s innate comic understanding of its British milieu – basking in the smut and word-play potential of its arena of vicars, class-ridden toffs, giant vegetables and mutant bunnies.

The richness of The Case of the Were-Rabbit‘s cine-heritage is a joy to behold too (or at least to this cinephile it is!) Just a handful of the cinematic pastiches include Hammer Horror (especially the film’s scenario and design), a humorous echoing of King Kong when Wallace’s huge rabbit takes Lady Tottington to the rooftop of Tottington Hall, and of course – as in all good animated movies – there’s the chase lineage to Buster Keaton and silent cinema in general.

Last, but certainly not least, as in other Wallace and Gromit tales and previous Aardman features, there’s a lovely correlative between the charming, hair-brained skits enacted by Wallace and Gromit, and the evident care and imagination that has gone into the conception and crafting of the film itself. (September 2014)

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