East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: Hammer time [movie note]

Directed by Nick Park and Steve Box
Written by Nick Park, Bob Baker, Steve Box and Mark Burton

This time Wallace and Gromit are humane pest controllers; having too many bunnies in the basement to take care of, Wallace tries to brainwash the rabbits into leaving alone the townpeople's super-sized vegetables, but inadvertently creates the titular monster. Being a dog, Gromit never talks, and if you think Wodehouse wouldn't be as funny if Jeeves couldn't zing one-liners over Bertie's head, you'd be right--the jokes here, clever are they are (a degree from Dogwarts or a breakfast condiment called Middle Aged Spread) are superfluous. What makes up for this is that W&G's world is the good-naturedness: Gromit doesn't feel the need to prove his status as a superior being to anyone, least of all himself (which is why his coveting of the Golden Carrot rings false). To put it another way, we relate to Wallace, not Gromit, but we wish we had Gromit around to put things right for us. It's a fantasy of cosiness, one of the more admirable of bourgie aspirations.

Unlike The Corpse Bride, in which every frame sings, the animation is largely matter-of-fact, but that's give the mise-en-scene a physicality that makes their trademark chase sequences seem even more amazing. The final chase here, a romp through a fairground that becomes a quote of King Kong, isn't quite as breakneck as those of The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave, but it's still pretty sweet. A MINUS


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