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Dreamworks Studios

Official Site

Directors: Steve Box, Nick Park

Producers: Nick Park, Peter Lord, David Sproxton, Claire Jennings, Carla Shelley

Written by: Bob Baker, Steve Box, Mark Burton, Nick Park

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?

—Duncan Wright

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

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...

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