Wallace & Gromit in The... (2005)
Review Date: January 13, 2006
Director: Nick Park, Steve Box
Writer: Nick Park, Mark Burton, Bob Baker, Steve Box
Producers: Claire Jennings, Peter Lord, Nick Park, Carla Shelley, David Sproxton
Ralph Fiennes as Victor
Helena Bonham Carter as Totti
Peter Sallis as Wallace
Goofy cheese-loving Brit Wallace and his loyal, non-speaking, intelligent dog Gromit operate a company called Anti-Pesto which promises to rid their town of critters that get into people’s yards and muck up their veggies. With the Annual Giant Vegetable competition only a few days away, the duo is faced with their biggest challenge yet: the appearance of a so-called Were-Rabbit that is getting into everyone’s affairs and possibly canceling the event. British animation and big-ass overbites ensue.
This is an easy film to review, particularly for anyone who’s already a big fan of the WALLACE & GROMIT shorts, or anyone who enjoyed Aardman’s 2000 full-length feature CHICKEN RUN. This movie basically bottles all the fun and joy from the two British roommates (the smarter one of which is the dog) and spreads it over a quick 80 minutes, complete with humor, romance, horror and a whole bunch of action. For me, it was a no-brainer, as I count myself a fan of the original series and dug on their previous poultry flick, so adding a cute tale of a were-rabbit into the mix was a nice treat. The film also packs plenty of colors and colorful characters into its tapestry, including an enjoyable “bad guy”, voiced with obvious affection by Ralph Fiennes, as the pompous Victor Quartermaine. Helena Bonham Carter (who apparently would love to have my abortion) was also darling as Lady Tottington, Wallace’s possible love interest. Add to that, the wonderful interplay between Wallace and his mute mutt, hundreds of adorable rabbits with big overbites, a peppy score, moments of darkness and suspense, and of course, the well-timed introduction of the so-called were-rabbit, and I don’t see how anyone who enjoys their animated movies won’t enjoy all of this one.
Much like the Pixar flicks, the film also plays well for all ages, with plenty of fun and goofy shenanigans for the kinder, and plenty of movie homages (KING KONG, AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, etc…) and subtle “adult humor” for the rest of us. I liked seeing a naked Wallace cover himself with an empty box near the end of the film with a note over it that read “May contain nuts”. Get it? The film also moves at a clip and never really gets boring with plenty of over-the-top inventions and clever puns and dialogue (“You’re mental.”) peppering the film as it propels itself toward yet another action-packed climax. The film isn’t loaded with giant laughs, but it tosses plenty of fun, action, romance and even a dash of horror into the mix, so that anyone who truly enjoys movies and entertainment as a whole is likely to get a kick of this cheese-loving British goof and his astute canine pal.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian