Plot: As the annual Giant Vegetable Festival approaches, Wallace and Gromit have important business to attend to, as security for the event. Not security for the actual event mind you, but the two are to secure the gardens of the entrants. Wallace and Gromit have to keep watch over the gardens and eliminate the invaders, usually pesky rabbits in search of a bite. The duo is known as Anti-Pesto and their methods are quite humane, as Wallace simply takes home all the rabbits they capture. A tube is used to suck the rabbits out of their holes, then once back at headquarters, they live in comfort and dine on smaller vegetables. As safe and humane as that sounds, a dark force seeks to undo Anti-Pesto, all in an effort to take over the festival. When a giant “were-rabbit” is seen on the warpath, chaos follows and no one, even Anti-Pesto knows what to do. Will the gardens be ruined, or will the duo find some manner of solution?
Entertainment Value: The Wallace and Gromit shorts were creative and hilarious, so it should be no surprise that the acclaimed duo’s transition to feature length cinema falls within those same lines. The material translates without a hitch, keeping the quirks of the source shorts and the sharp sense of humor, the rare kind of humor that lands with both kids and adults. So this has the same feel as those beloved shorts, but is expanded into a larger scale adventure that lets the world of the characters grow and the increased scale is well used. That kind of balance is tough to pull off, keeping true to the source, but also growing the material into a larger scope, so it is impressive and a testament to Aardman Studios. The story feels a little familiar, but has plenty of new twists and of course, Wallace and Gromit style textures to make it fresh, not to mention consistently humorous. The two have the central presence throughout, but a good assortment of supporting characters also appear and the rabbits are hilarious, especially as Wallace stumbles to deal with their sheer numbers. I think this is a cute, but also smart comedy that should appeal to viewers of all ages, as long as you can appreciate skilled animation or a quirky sense of humor.
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit has the signature Aardman Studios animation style, with stop motion animation that looks simply magical, a process that took five years and the work yielded about 3 seconds of footage per day. To call this painstaking would be a vast understatement, but the end result is a testament to that hard work, as the animation has such heart and soul, which translates into the characters and sense of humor. I love the character designs and the attention to detail is remarkable, all the little touches in Wallace’s house for example that really bring the world to life. Not to mention all the minor, but highly effective animation cues, such as slight facial expressions or mannerisms, again adding so much to the movie. Just a visual treat and there’s so much detail and depth to soak in, so each time you watch, you will likely pick up on little things you didn’t notice before. The voice cast is quite good as well, with the usual Wallace and Gromit talent involved, as well as some star power to juice things up a little. Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, and Liz Smith headline the guest stars, so this one has some great vocal performances.