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With: (voices) Peter Sallis, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes
Written by: Bob Baker, Steve Box, Mark Burton, Nick Park
Directed by: Steve Box, Nick Park
MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 82
Date: 03/18/2013

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Run Rabbit Run

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Nick Park's three beloved Wallace & Gromit short films, A Grand Day Out (1989), The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1995), each ran about 30 minutes, but each already felt like a compact feature film. Each ran through its own three-act structure, climaxing in some kind of chase. So it's only natural that the fourth Wallace & Gromit adventure should appear as a feature length film, albeit one that clocks in at a brief 80-minutes. And after practicing on the hit Chicken Run (2000), director Park has effectively pulled it off. This time, Wallace and Gromit have established themselves in the security business, preventing rabbits from eating the town's homegrown veggies. But as they are humane rabbit-catchers, they merely store the beasts in their basement until they can figure out what else to do. Wallace tries brainwashing them with an electronic gizmo and inadvertently creates the Were-Rabbit of the title. This is especially troublesome, coming on the eve of the town's annual giant veggie contest (even Gromit has grown his own giant mellon). Park and his co-director Steve Box don't necessarily break any new ground here, but their sense of pace and comic timing is still impeccable -- not easy when working in stop-motion. The film is packed full of silly puns and visual and verbal jokes and references, but mostly it's Gromit's Buster Keaton-like stone-faced responses to silly situations that make the film a laugh riot. Big stars turn up for this big screen event, notably Helena Bonham Carter (Corpse Bride) as Wallace's love interest Lady Tottington and Ralph Fiennes as the villain Victor Quartermaine. As always, Peter Sallis is the voice of Wallace.

DVD Details: Dreamworks' excellent DVD comes with lots of great extras, notably Steve Box's 1997 short film Stage Fright. We get plenty of behind- the-scenes stuff with all the little clay models and beautiful sets, as well as some "deleted scenes," and even some kid-friendly activities.

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