Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: Great Expectations

[Screenshot]My baseline expectation for this one was pretty high. How could it not be? Nick Park brought us three lovely shorts and the charming Chicken Run, and now the stars of the shorts are back for more. Ah, that I could say my (shockingly demanding) expectations were met. Technically, the film is great: Aardman’s very good at what they do. The only unsettling bit of technical design was Lady Tottington’s lips, which need to be either thinner or less red. As they stand, they’re awfully distracting.

So, I liked technical details and design—the real problem’s the script. Nick Park’s previous two films were not only technically adept but charming, funny, and innovative as well. Were-Rabbit is good enough, but it feels a bit too much like A Close Shave redux. The three original shorts had a fair bit of variety in dialogue and plot devices: pretty much all the best bits in Were-Rabbit were lifted nearly verbatim from A Close Shave. A quick rundown of similarities: a love interest for Wallace, a canine rival for Gromit, the entire Rube-Goldbergesque getting-ready-for-work device, Gromit flying a plane, the pair finding themselves caring for an unmanagable collection of pesky mammals, the day being saved by a particular punnily-named pesky mammal. I was also kind of bothered by the extent of dialogue: one of the great strengths of the Wallace and Gromit films in the past has been expressive non-verbal characters. BUt Were-Rabbit is full of people talking, and, honestly, the expressiveness suffers somewhat thereby. And a rabbit talks, which just sort of bugs me: it would’ve been so much more effective, IMO for him to just be doing Wallace-like things instead of quoting Wallace like a parrot.

So, lotsa bitching above. But in spite of that, I still like this film. Wallace and Gromit are like (as the web would have it) sex, XML, pizza, Tom Robbins novels, Iron Chef, and Kansas in that even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. And Were-Rabbit isn’t even bad, just disappointingly derivative.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia.

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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