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

Monster movies have never been this adorable.

I am beyond excited for Halloween tomorrow. Christmas is great and all but I hold such a special place in my heart for the spookiest day of the year. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it’s my favourite holiday. I love everything about Halloween: The costumes, the candy, the decorations, the month-long appreciation for monsters and horror…more than anything though, I love re-visiting the Halloween movies that I grew up watching on TV every October. Grisly horror movies are wickedly delightful in their own twisted way, but nothing beats a cute animated adventure that captures the fun and spirit of Halloween. Which is why for this week’s Wayback I decided to watch Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005). Forget October. I could watch this movie 365 days a year.

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Credit: / Dreamworks Pictures / United International Pictures

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit sees the titular duo as pest control agents responsible for maintaining the rabbit population of their small English village. Days before the annual vegetable competition, a monstrous creature begins ravaging the villagers vegetable supply. To save the competition the pair of friends work to capture the beast and solve the mystery of what’s been terrorizing their home and neighbours.

I am such a sucker for British comedies. It’s partially because of hours spent watching British sitcoms with my grandma and mostly because every one I’ve seen is a winning combination of wit and charm. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is no exception. I’m sure that’s shocking to some people given that this is a stop-motion kiddie movie about a were-rabbit of all things, but it’s true. In every aspect of filmmaking, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit not only meets but exceeds expectations. For starters, from now until the end of time I will forever be in awe of stop-motion movies. There’s an unprecedented level of artistry involved that’s unlike anything else you see in movies. The attention to detail in each shot is incredible, making it impossible to tell what’s a practical set and what’s animation. I can’t believe a team of animators spent a painstaking amount of hours carefully moving each character a fraction of an inch just to get a 10 second shot. It’s the amazing craftsmanship that’s just one of the reasons why Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Of course, there are so many other reasons why this movie continues to hold up almost 15 years later. Like most comedies from the UK, the script for Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is brimming with razor sharp wit. The comedy is lighthearted and jovial enough for children while also being surprisingly clever and mature enough for adults. This is a kids movie that isn’t just capable of holding your attention, but rewards viewers with one uproarious sight gag after another. And oh my God, the puns…Lord knows I’m here for an expertly utilized pun and in this movie they come at you a mile a minute. I mean, the name of their pest control business is “Anti-Pesto.” There were bunnies hiding in the “buns” box. Are they simple puns? Absolutely. But they succeed in making me laugh every time I watch this movie.

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit really excels in flawlessly switching tones from silly cartoon humour to legitimately well-crafted scenes of suspense and terror. It’s somehow able to capture all the wacky zaniness of a Looney Tunes cartoon as well as the grim fright of a Universal monster movie. The entire movie cultivates an air of enticing mystery and the handful of action sequences wonderfully play on tropes found in most action / horror adventures. More than anything it brings to mind Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) which if you haven’t seen, do yourself a favour and find someway to watch it immediately. It was on constant repeat in my house and I owe my love of horror and comedy to it.

Though it’s probably because Gromit is mute, there’s so much fantastic visual storytelling in this movie that it practically wrote the book on showing over telling. It’s a wisely used technique and in no time at all we get a clear understating of who the characters are and what the plot is, all with just a few well informed frames. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit jumps right into the story and from there the adventure flies by. Maybe that’s because the runtime is a brisk hour and a half or maybe it’s because I’ve watched this movie dozens of times. Seriously you guys, I’ve seen Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit A LOT. How could I not? Besides being an achievement in masterful filmmaking and featuring delightful performances from Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter, there are multiple scenes of bunnies being UTTERLY ADORABLE. Almost like an additional cast member, the collection of silent, scene-stealing, comedic bunnies will have you “awwwing” and laughing for the entire movie. Whether they’re just waving at each other, snickering or crying “wheeeee” as they slide down a chute, they’re the real MVPs of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. 

In my opinion, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is an underrated masterpiece. A straightforward story that succeeds in part due to its charming simplicity, this movie is a perfect example of quality over quantity. When your movie is delivering in every way imaginable, you don’t need to do a lot to win over audiences. I think so highly of this movie that a Wallace & Gromit sequel / reboot is a project that I’d actually be totally down for. Y’know, as long as they find some way to include the bunnies again. Because seriously, adding bunnies to your movie, ANY movie, instantly makes it 10 times better. It’s a fact.

Are you a fan of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit?

Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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