Written by Bob Baker, Steve Box & Mark Burton, based on characters created by Nick Park
Directed by Steve Box & Nick Park
Starring the Voices of Peter Sallis, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Peter Kay, Nicholas Smith
My Advice: Don’t miss it.
Our heroes Wallace (Sallis) and Gromit have had many adventures in their time. They’ve gone to the moon, thwarted a criminal penguin, and broken up a sheep rustling ring. This time around they’ve created Anti-Pesto, a humane pest control service. A giant vegetable contest (a community tradition) is upcoming, and unless the rabbits can be kept under control, then all the massive veggies will get gnawed away to nothing. Wallace and Gromit are especially interested in a new client, the Lady Tottington (Carter), because keeping her prize veggies safe will be really great for business. Not to mention the fact that she’s quite the looker (by claymation and Wallace’s standards). However, there’s a new player on the scene…a terrifying, hulking creature that exists only to throw veggies down its giant gullet: the Were-Rabbit.
[ad#longpost]Aardman simply doesn’t screw around when it comes to quality. The three original W&G shorts are comedy gold. Chicken Run was a wonderful sendup of the camp escape flick. And now the original duo is back with a feature film. And it’s a doozy. First things first: people who create claymation impress the hell out of me. I just can’t imagine anyone having the patience to create art like that. Or anything stop motion for that matter. To work with sets and “actors” the size of large action figures and create full on narratives and adventures. It’s personal…you can sometimes spot a fingerprint from the animators on the figures, which is a nice change from CGI mayhem.
The voice acting is superb, with Peter Sallis reprising his role as Wallace, and Carter and Fiennes sounding like they’re having a blast. But the standout of the film is…the silent and long-suffering pooch, Gromit, who could teach ninety percent of the actors working today something. He can say more in a glance than most actors can using their entire range of tools. Just amazing work. And their sendup of classic horror and monster films is perfect, complete with lightning flashes, dramatic lighting, a terrific score by Rupert Gregson-Williams, and strategic placement of a pipe organ. And the best part is that, instead of something like Shrek is that there’s a nice balance between humor for kids and humor that adults will enjoy.
Probably the best animated film of the year, it certainly shows that we want this franchise, now that’s it gone to the big screen, to stay there. And we want a tremendous DVD release when this does hit.