& Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
The story the directors tell is often suffused with a pleasant cleverness and just enough oddness so that it is appealing without that charm seeming forced. There are times when they do allow the narrative to drag a bit, but these moments are never truly dull. They weaken the movie, which might have worked better as a thirty minute short, but they do not, by any means, ruin it. In fact, for most of its duration, Wallace & Gromit is a genuinely fun film.
Moreover, though I will admit that the stop-motion animation is never stunning or indicative of any particular aesthetic sensitivity, it is always amusingly quirky and well realized. Wallace and Gromit are both peculiar looking individuals whose very goofiness gives them a distinct likableness. The various other denizens of their imaginary town are just as eccentric, if rarely as endearing. The histrionic vicar has a look of panicky nervousness. The villain is arrogant and moronic, but in a humorous rather than an truly evil sort of way. The rabbits the heroes spend much of their time trying to catch are cute without being saccharine, and even the largely anonymous persons who fill the background of many scenes are given a sufficient number of unique traits to ensure that they add interest to the movie.
While most of the settings for the story are not as memorable as the people inhabiting them, the innumerable weird machines that Wallace has built and with which he has filled his house are a joy. Like something from a Rube Goldberg illustration, they are used to perform different functions in outrageously complicated ways. Wallace, for example, is dumped each morning from his bed into a trapdoor and falls thence into his seat at his kitchen table, where robot arms dress him and mechanical tools prepare his breakfast. The film is absolutely filled with these devices and none of them will fail to amuse the viewer.
Even if Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit never rises above the ordinary, it is an enjoyable movie.
Review by Keith Allen
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