Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of The Were-Rabbit – Inventor, Wallace, and his trusty dog, Gromit, are running a pest prevention company to stop rabbits eating the competition grown vegetable patches of a small town. But when their ingenious devices are seemingly powerless to prevent some new threat, they are forced to investigate what is causing such edible carnage. But it isn’t small, it can’t be stopped, it comes out with the full moon, and the Vegetable Show is mere days away…

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit (2005) – Director: Steve Box, Nick Park

Is Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit appropriate for kids?

Rating: PG

Running Length: 85 mins

Starring: Peter Sallis, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes

Genre: Horror, Comedy, Animated

REVIEW – ‘WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT’

It’s hard to define what makes something quintessentially ‘British’, or any other nationality for that matter. Certainly a British angle often taken is the marrying of the mundane with the bizarre; taking small people with minor problems and throwing increasingly weird scenarios at them. Add to that a dash of pomposity-bursting cheekiness, and a smidge of slapstick. Wallace & Gromit always have these in spades, and ‘Curse Of The Were-Rabbit’ is no exception!

Although this is the first full length feature for the clay animation duo, Wallace & Gromit have been gracing British screens since 1989 with short films of cleverly silly antics. In ‘Curse Of The Were-Rabbit’ this is satisfyingly ramped up to big screen stakes. Park has created an atmosphere of classic ‘Hammer Horror’ style production, and blended it with the scenario of a small-minded town, obsessed over their potentially prize-winning super-sized vegetables and distraught at the mysterious destruction thereof. It’s a match that brims over with comedic potential, and ‘The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit’ doesn’t fail to make the most out of every gag, be it front and centre laughs or Easter Egg background jokes that will keep even the most eagle-eyed entertained on repeat viewings.

Each member of the cast seems to be having a whale a of a time giving life to their exaggerated characters. Peter Sallis’ earthy tones as Wallace are imbued with a cheerful ballast that is buffeted by over-excitable blindness to the consequences of his actions, Helena Bonham-Carter is the fullest extent of a typical well-meaning super posh woman of leisure in Lady Tottington, and Ralph Fiennes’s boisterous and bally hunting enthusiast is every arrogant monied man convinced that the world revolves around their own self-importance. Each character is perfectly animated to give life to these performances, and, with laugh out loud gags abound that hit the mark for all ages, ‘Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit’ is a movie for all to love.

CONTENT – IS ‘WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

When Wallace and Gromit are alerted to a security breach they use a collar ‘grabber’ restraint to grab a rabbit around the neck. The rabbit fights against being caught in irritation but doesn’t appear in any pain or distress.

While Wallace talks about what to do with all the caught rabbits, Gromit raises a sharp knife apparently aggressively. the dialogue continues that the rabbits will ‘get what’s coming to them’. The purpose for the knife is then revealed, and this is a very short segment unlikely to cause any worry.

One character is trying to woo a female character but he isn’t particularly respectful of her thoughts or feelings. He refers to her casually as ‘his filly’ throughout and treats her as game to be won rather than a person. He is also obsessed with hunting. The woman is exasperated and says “I thought we’d gotten past this thoughtless killing”. The man raises a gun to a rabbit’s head and says, “It’s off to bunny heaven for you, big ears!”. He is unexpectedly prevented from firing but then quizzes someone else asking how the rabbits will be disposed of by guessing, “Crush ’em? Liquidise ’em?”. He scoffs at the idea of ‘humane’ methods.

When a vicar locks up his vegetables for the night the scene is shot in typical ‘horror movie’ style as he walks back to the church through the graveyard. There are lots of low camera angles, vision-obscuring fog, and snapped twigs making him think he is being followed. There is a visual gag before this which makes the scene lighter though. The vicar shrugs off his disquiet and enters the church. When the thing that was following him makes itself known he cowers in fear and yells, “Mercy!”. However, he is shoved out of the way and it is clear that no harm has come to him.

Whilst trying to capture the Were-Rabbit, Wallace and Gromit drive around with a huge fake lady rabbit strapped to the top of their van, being controlled by Gromit from inside the van by way of marionette strings. The idea is to ‘lure’ the Were-Rabbit with an alluring female honey trap. Wallace tells Gromit to make it more attractive and so he makes it do a ‘can-can’ dance and wink whilst flirtatious music plays. Shortly after there is an exciting chase scene that has the side effect of destroying a lot of vegetables grown for the upcoming competition which causes several residents to be distraught over the loss of their precious veg. Later, the produce ‘carnage’ is shown in quick cuts and ‘horror movie’ angles.

As a result of an earlier failed science experiment, a rabbit (named ‘hutch’) has been implied to have been warped in some way. When Wallace and Gromit go to get him out of his hutch, other rabbits are staring at the locked door transfixed with fear and shaking. When Hutch is taken out he convulses and gurns which concerns everyone, before actually just belching loudly.

Wallace and Gromit drive through a spooky forest. They are then forced to stop and threatened with physical violence. An axe swings past Wallace’s ear and lodges his braces into a tree trunk whilst another character threatens to punch him.

When the Were-Rabbit transformation scene is shown, it is typical of a were-wolf scene. At first a large tooth appears, before hands, feet, and face swell and sprout fur. Buttons pop off a shirt and trousers split. When the transformation is complete the Were-Rabbit thumps its chest and howls at the moon. Another character is initially terrified, but quickly smirks as they realise they have learned something vital.

The Were-Rabbit sees the large fake female rabbit and pursues it. It tries to kiss her and it ‘honks’ her tail before receiving a slap. This is typical ‘innocent’ cartoon attraction but perhaps worth mentioning to boys and girls that such behaviour is not acceptable in real life. Shortly after this a gunshot is heard and the Were-Rabbit collapses, apparently hit.

After the climax of the film, one character has tears in their eyes as it appears another has been mortally wounded. Then rabbits cry and a female character also sobs. However, this is short and quickly resolved.

One male character is unexpectedly naked. They are handed a cardboard box to cover themselves up with which states, ‘Cheese – May contain nuts’ on the front.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT – IS ‘WALLACE & GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT’ OK FOR KIDS?

While ‘Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit’ plays heavily with horror movie tropes, both in cinematic style and narrative drive, by turning the object of the horror into a threat to vegetables only, the tone of the movie is immediately light enough to get a pass for all ages. Due to a few minor scary moments we would recommend ‘The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit’ as suitable for ages 5 and up.

  • Violence: 1/5 (one threat of a fist-fight)
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5 (one character is upset at their predicament but in a comedic ‘whine’ kind of way, the end of the movie keeps a reveal back and has several characters upset for a short time)
  • Fear Factor: 2/5 (plays with horror stereotypes but in a pastiche way and often containing, or bookended by, comedic moments)
  • Sexual Content: 2/5 (mild, infrequent innuendo. The vicar accidentally drops a ‘Nuns Wrestling’ magazine and quickly hides it in embarrassment
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (some mild phrases of frustration or exasperation)
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (some mild suggestive puns, some fearful dialogue but often with a comical angle, one character cries that they ‘don’t want to be a giant rabbit!’, another describes the Were-Rabbit in dramatic over the top fashion)
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of bullying, hunting, competitive nature, pest control, small village mentality, rural life, curses, scientific experimentation, inventing, and eating your greens!

Words by Mike Record

 

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