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flick pick | Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit 2005
Directed by: Steve Box, Nick Park
Written by: Nick Park (characters), Bob Baker, Steve Box, Mark Burton
Starring: Peter Sallis, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham-Carter
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: animation
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:  whimsical
The critic says: ½/ 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: /5 

Plot synopsis The annual Giant Vegetable Competition is fast approaching, and all the village is a-flurry in anticipation as they coddle their squashes, pumpkins, eggplants and other beloved veggies, encouraging them towards monstrous proportions. Eagerly eyeing all this vegetable goodness is the town's raging rabbit population, whose presence poses a constant threat to all the proud giant-vegetable contenders. Fortunately, absent-minded inventor Wallace and his loyal and capable dog Gromit have come to the rescue with their latest venture: Anti-pesto, a humane pest control service. Using Wallace's crazy creations to round up the rabbits, Wallace and Gromit ensure the town's beloved veggies remain safe and sound -- and that the bunnies do as well. (The bunnies are simply brought unharmed to live at the Wallace and Gromit house, which is rapidly becoming a teeming seething mass of hoppy furry friends.) The business is a rip-roaring success, so much that even Lady Tottington herself, host of the Giant Vegetable Competition, calls in Anti-pesto as she readies her estate for the grand event. She's so admiring of Wallace and his humane approach, in fact, that it incites the jealousy of her gun-happy suitor Victor. When a mysterious, giant, and astoundingly ravenous long-eared beast begins wreaking havoc on the town's prized veggies just days before the competition, Wallace and Gromit do their best to try and catch the elusive monster. But evil Victor has his own ideas of the right way to deal with this threat -- one that will clear the town of this latest pest, render him a local hero, and swing Lady Tottington's affections away from Wallace and back to him. With Wallace in more danger than he realizes, it's up to Gromit, as usual, to quietly save the day.

Review The claymated pair of Wallace and Gromit are such beloved classic characters in their native UK that it's hard to believe that until last year, they'd only appeared in three animated shorts since they made their debut way back in 1989. Creator Nick Park may not be prolific, but the love and care he pours into the Wallace and Gromit characters and stories is obvious. This is not the stiff, goofy claymation we're used to from those old Rudolph and Frosty holiday flicks; it's gorgeous to look at and remarkably expressive, with a real sense of texture that you just don't get in most other animators' works. Of course, impressive technique alone does not a good film make. Fortunately, in 2005's The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Park and co-director Steve Box do a fantastic job of ensuring that the zany wit and oddball charm of the shorts translates beautifully into feature length. A story about a monster rabbit and a giant vegetable contest might seem dumb beyond belief, but in these hands, there turns out to be real cleverness behind all the silliness. Packed with visual gags, zingy puns and amusingly quirky characters, it's adorable without being nauseatingly cutesy; there's lots to make the kids giggle, but jokes aplenty for grown-ups too (and often rather bawdy ones at that, which, naturally, is the best part). But of course, at the core of it all are the ever-delightful Wallace and Gromit. They may be made out of lumps of clay; one (Gromit) doesn't even talk. But their characters have been infused with so much detail, so much love, that we viewers can't help but fall in love with them too. —reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun

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