Producers: Nick Park, Peter Lord, David Sproxton,
Claire Jennings, Carla Shelley
Written by: Bob Baker, Steve Box, Mark Burton,
Cast: Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, Helena
Bonham Carter, Peter Kay, Nicholas Smith, Liz Smith
I pity the poor soul who has yet to know the joy that is Wallace
& Gromit. The duo have re-animated the claymation genre, which
fell into a coma after Gumby lost his pizzazz. Nick Park
is a magician when it comes to claymation. Just see the short episodes
he’s made (The Wrong Trousers is my favorite). On
top of amazing low-tech animation, he could make quality comedy.
With all this in mind, I had to check out W & G’s historic
appearance on the silver screen. Boy, am I glad I did.
Wallace (Sallis) and Gromit have moved up in
the world. No longer window washers, they are now Anti-Pesto, a
humane pest removal service. The community needs their protection
to grow prize-winning fruits and vegetables for the upcoming contest.
They all have their precious produce lying in their gardens, where
troublemaking rabbits try to steal them, but thanks to W & G,
the vegetables are safely guarded and the rabbits are humanely incarcerated.
Then Wallace gets the wonderful idea of testing out his new mind-tampering
invention to turn pests into Clockwork Carrots. He sucks out their
unwanted desires for vegetables, and prepares to implant them with
more community-friendly desires, but instead reverses the flow,
creating the dreaded were-rabbit that cannot be caged. This lycanthrope
(n: a monster able to change appearance from human to wolf or other
animal) ravages the local gardens, threatening to end the contest
that has taken place every year in their parish for over 500 years.
Victor Quartermaine (Fiennes) has offered to kill
the dreaded were-rabbit, but the compassionate Lady Tottington (Bonham
Carter) wishes a humane resolution to this situation, calling
on Anti-Pesto to capture the beast. Wallace is struggling for more
than the safety of the produce contest, he is struggling against
Victor for the good lady’s heart.
Those of you who know W & G know what to expect, but you’re
going to be surprised anyway. You know to expect quality animation,
humorous stupidity on the part of Wallace, heroic loyalty and intuition
on the part of Gromit, and some side characters that will bring
everything together for a smashing good film. For their first feature-length
film, however, the writers decided to write in a not-insignificant
amount of innuendo. I guess they thought that a mature audience
would need something more than your standard W & G to enjoy
the movie, which isn’t exactly wrong, but at the same time
adds a little depth to otherwise physical humor. However, I’ve
never had a problem with physical humor, whether it’s infantile
or merely slapstick, so really it was just a nice bonus on top of
an already hilarious film. The animation has jumped a huge step
since the W & G we all know and love from many years ago, and
may easily be confused and mistaken for pure CG, but they weren’t
foolish enough to be claymation purists. There are obviously pieces
of CG thrown in there, and that’s a good thing. Seeing a bunch
of rabbits float around in a chamber would be much more easily animated
with a computer than with stop-motion suspended clay. Cuter too.
So get up and take someone to go see this movie. Take someone who
appreciates cute things, good humor, and British innuendo, and I
guarantee they’ll put out. OK, I’m sorry, that was completely
out of line. But seriously: good movie, funny movie, cute movie.
And if you aren’t the kind of person who likes these kinds
of things, what the hell are you doing reading this review?
Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.
Itís worth a full-price ticket.
Itís worth a matinee ticket.
Wait for video rental.
Check out the video from the library, if you must.
While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...