Wallace (Peter Sallis), an inventor, and his dog, Gromit, have just started a new business protecting the village's vegetable patches. The annual Large Vegetable Festival, hosted by Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter), approaches and the town has a problem with rabbits eating all of the potential prize-winning stock. Wallace invents a large vacuum that removes the rabbits from their burrows in a humane way. This attracts the attention of the other exterminator in town, Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes), who would just as soon put a bullet between the cute little bunny's eyes. After the animals are captured, Wallace and Gromit house them in their basement. One night, Wallace decides that perhaps he can use another invention, a mind alterer, to get the rabbits to hate vegetables. He opens up the cellar door, allowing the moon in to help power the experiment, which takes a turn for the worse. And the Were-Rabbit is born.
"Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit" is one of the cutest animated efforts to come along in some time. Creator Nick Park (the man behind "Chicken Run") took five years to create a full length feature, in Claymation, centered around his beloved characters.
"Curse of the Were-Rabbit" is a great film for kids. Because everything is created in clay it looks like a picture book come to life. Everything has a slightly surreal look and all of the colors are brighter. Also, all of the characters, especially the animals, appear to be stuffed animals. The soft, rounded edges of the clay helps everything appear like it would be equally at home in the pages of a toy catalog. All of this leads one to think of the pages of a picture book coming to life, everything looks like a pop-up picture book. The kids will love all of the characters and their unique look. The clay doesn't allow for a lot of fine detail, lips, teeth and eyes are big, hair is more of a statement, Park uses these elements to provide exaggerated caricatures of British stereotypes.
The story is impressively cohesive and involving. It is very difficult for most animated films to come up with a single story that can hold the interest for 90 minutes. Most resort to combining a variety of shorter stories, tied together by the barest of plots, to make up a feature length story. "Were-Rabbit" doesn't fall into this trap; the story is interesting and involving and cohesive throughout. Not only is there the issue of the rabbits, but a love triangle, of sorts, develops between Wallace, Lady Tottington and Quartermaine. Gromit has a rivalry with Quartermaine's dog. The town villagers also panic in very funny ways, at times resembling the characters in an old "Frankenstein" film.
What the story doesn't have is a lot of laughs. It is extremely cute and will keep the young kids engaged for many repeat viewings. But the film lacks an adult element that will also keep the adults tuned in. The film is missing the type of humor or subversive elements only adults can understand and appreciate something the best Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks animated films are usually overloaded with. The humor is very dry and very British and because of this, the film will probably not appeal to many adults.
However, the film as a whole is definitely worthy of your attention. Anyone who is even remotely interested in animation should be required to watch this film and experience a fading form of animation. Kids will love the film and adults may appreciate some aspects of the film.