When it comes to animated duos, one of the most famous is easily Wallace and Gromit. When they first debuted in the short "A Grand Day Out" in 1989, they've been in some hilarious adventures which have resulted in some of the greatest animated shorts of all time which won two Academy Awards and put Aardman on the spot as a huge player in the animation industry. Then in 2005, the duo got a full-length animated feature film with "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit". The second feature film from both Aardman and Nick Park, who were coming off of the huge critical success of "Chicken Run", brought the duo back to the screen after being absent for ten years and it was yet another fantastic adventure featuring them. I remember seeing this film in theaters as a very little kid and loving it then and I can say that my opinion hasn't changed. This is a hilarious film.
In a small English town, the cheese-loving inventor Wallace (Peter Sallis) and his mute dog Gromit have been doing business as a human pest control known as Anti-Pesto protecting people's vegetables from wild rabbits. The service has made the townspeople happy and has even impressed the wealthy aristocrat Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter), although her boyfriend hunter Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes) isn't amused by the service or Wallace for that matter. After capturing the rabbits, Wallace and Gromit take them back to their home at 62 West Wallaby Street and have kept them in cages though overtime they start running out of space for them. Getting an idea, Wallace attempts using a mind machine to brainwash the bunnies to make them hate vegetables though the experiment ends up going horribly wrong and ends up creating a Were-Rabbit, a giant rabbit that appears at night during the full moon and devours peoples vegetables. This might seem like only a minor nuisance, except that a giant vegetable competition held by Lady Tottington is being held in a few days and the townsfolks are desperate to win it. Wanting to make the townspeople happy, Wallace and Gromit have to figure out how to capture the creature as well as figure out what exactly it is.
When it comes to "Wallace and Gromit", I feel that they really are standards of how to make top-notch stop motion animation. The two Academy Award-winning shorts they were in, "The Wrong Trousers" and "A Close Shave", are two of the greatest animated shorts ever made as the capers the duo have to go through in the shorts and their hilarious comedy really led way to extremely memorable moments and some of the best animation ever put to screen. Naturally, this film really had a lot to live up to and I do think that it's a worthy entry in the franchise. It may not be the best adventure with "Wallace and Gromit", but it's still a great movie nonetheless. The story in particular is the real highlight of the film. It's clear that directors Nick Park and Steve Box as well as the people at Aardman really studied a lot of the Universal monster movies from the 1930s and 1940s before making this film as they pay tribute to a lot of the tropes that were common in the films. One notable example is the sort of introduction to the titular Were-Rabbit when he enters a church and ends up devouring the vegetables on display for a harvest, much to the horror of the poor vicar. Scenes like that really showed that the makers of this film really did their research and studied a lot of old monster movies while making this film. Not only that, the comedy in this film are really laugh out loud funny. The jokes have their quirky British mannerisms while having some jokes that really flew over my head as a kid. There's a whole scene where Lady Tottington takes Wallace to a secret garden and it is filled with so many crazy jokes that I never grasped when I was younger. It was crazy. As far as the animation goes, it's top-notch stop motion animation. The characters all move smoothly and the world they live in feels so meticulously crafted and stunningly detailed that it really makes it a great film to study for those wanting to get into the field. I especially loved the attention to detail in this film. There are small details that you might not catch the first time watching this film and I really loved how you can see more of them upon rewatch. As far as the characters go, all of them are fun. Wallace and Gromit are always fun to watch as usual. Wallace was fun with how Gromit was trying to get him to go on a diet as his obsession with cheese made his stomach to big that he can't go through the normal hole down to the kitchen table without the need for assistance and yet Wallace tries to cheat his diet in any way he can. Gromit was the real highlight of the film though as he really has so much character despite not even saying a word. The animation for him is so perfectly crafted that it really makes him so unique. Lady Tottington was a pleasant character and I did find her chemistry with Wallace sweet and tender. Victor was also a fun and decent villain and I could tell that Ralph Fiennes had a lot of fun playing him given that it's a different villain role than the ones he's commonly associated with. I will say though that he is definitely not the strongest "Wallace and Gromit" villain as he's not nearly as intimidating as either Feathers McGraw or Preston who were both silent and could really show their menace through the animation. That doesn't mean I think he's a bad villain by any means. I think he's a good villain, but definitely a step down from previous villains in the franchise.
However, "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" is still a hilarious animated film all these years later. The story is hilarious and has some great comedy and homages, the animation is top-notch and has great attention to detail, and the characters are all likable and quirky in the way that makes "Wallace and Gromit" loveable to begin with. This is a film I really recommend watching even if you're not familiar with the franchise. This great vegetable caper is certainly so much fun and a cracking good film to watch for a laugh.