(2005)4Mark DemingWhile folks don't generally cite Nick Park as a major figure in the independent filmmaking movement, there's no arguing that he's a director who has created a handful of truly distinctive movies and a clearly recognizable creative voice while working entirely on his own terms, both within and without the Hollywood studio system. Park has fashioned a visual and narrative style every bit as strong as Wes Anderson or Paul Thomas Anderson, and he's a lot funnier than either of them, and half the fun of Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is seeing a movie that's so obviously the product of one man's (very witty) personal vision emerge as a tent-pole release for a major studio. Anyone who was afraid that the DreamWorks brass were going to mess with what made the early Wallace and Gromit shorts so much fun can breathe easy -- if The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a bit more manic in its pace and broader in its humor than A Close Shave or A Grand Day Out (which is probably the product of its 85-minute running time as much as anything else), the characters and their comic style remain thankfully intact, and if one buys into Chuck Jones' theory that an animator is really an actor, then Park and his crew have delivered Oscar-caliber performances as Gromit (whose eyes are more expressive than most human actors onscreen the same year) and Wallace (though Peter Sallis' veddy-British voice work certainly deserves a mention as well). Park and his collaborator Steve Box have packed their frames with layers upon layers of comic detail (if ever a movie was made with the DVD freeze frame in mind, it's this one), and in between laughs they've delivered a loving homage to the classic Hammer horror films of the 1950s and '60s, with a keen eye toward their shadowy visual style and color scheme. The humor manages to be smart and just a touch corny at the same time, and the laughs roll out consistently throughout the movie's running time. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a thoroughly and delightfully enjoyable moviegoing experience, and an even better big-screen vehicle for Nick Park's gifts than Chicken Run.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit on AllMovie
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)