Thursday, 14 July 2016

TBT - Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

I wasn't sure what to think about Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. I had such a nostalgic love of the television series that I didn't want it spoilt by some misguided attempt to milk it for all it was worth. That's the problem with nostalgia. It really fucks up the future because nothing will ever be as good as it was the first time. I loved my childhood but I'm not one of those people who continually feels the need to revisit it. Quite frankly, it was more embarrassing than idyllic and I can't go through that again. I guess I'm one of those people that believes the past is in the past. It's why I'm the worst kind of Harry Potter fan. I'll always love the books but I'll probably not read them over and over again until the day I die. I don't need to read them again to relive them or the feeling I had when I first read them. To be honest, I just don't trust nostalgia, which is why I normally try to avoid big movie comebacks of things I loved when I was younger. However, I have the joy and the misfortune to be friends with people who continue to force me to face my fears.


I remember the first time I saw The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: it was with my school friends and they were way more excited about it than I was. I left the cinema feeling slightly deflated because it just hadn't felt the same. I didn't hate it by any means but it wasn't as much as I remembered. As a kid I loved nothing more than watching Wallace and Gromit and used to indulge in them over every major holiday when the BBC would play them pretty much non-stop. As an adult, I just felt some of that magic was missing. Although, through my disappointment, I can't deny that I still loved the feeling of the seeing the dynamic duo on the big screen and it is so delightfully British.

That is what makes Wallace and Gromit so fucking refreshing. They are so iconic and familiar yet so quirky. A pair who get into all sorts of unbelievable scrapes but who solve it all over a cup of tea and some cheese. It's always been a fantastic concept and everything about their previous outings suggested that a jump to the cinema screen would be great. And, to be honest, it really was. I've watched the film a few times since it's original release and I can't help but love it a bit more every time. It's so well made and so hard to dislike. 

In this scenario the duo own a pest control service who protect the allotments of those villagers hoping to win big at the annual Giant Vegetable Competition at Tottington Hall. Things are going great until Wallace has the bright idea to use his latest invention to change the nature of the rabbits in the hope that they will no longer pose a threat to people's crops. Of course, this being classic Wallace and Gromit, this all goes tits up and, without giving much away, a giant bunny rabbit starts terrorising the village at night. It is up to the pair to deal with the situation humanely before the trigger-happy hunter, Lord Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes), shoots the poor thing. 

All the while, Wallace must battle with Victor to win the heart of Lady Tottington (Helen Bonham Carter) who entrusts Anti-Pesto to save the competition that her family have been running for hundreds of years. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a silly concept for a film but it never goes too far with it. The silliness never comes in the way of narrative and everything happens for a reason. It's a fantastic story that references all the greatest elements of classic Hollywood. With parodies ranging from King Kong to Hammer horror, it is a film that understands cinematic history. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit understands its place within the film industry and has fun telling its story. 

It was, of course, created by the British animation studio, Aardman Animations, and utilises the amazing stop motion animation that they have become so famous for. Of course, it was funded with the help of Dreamworks which means that the both the budget and the running time are bigger than the shorts we're so used to. As such, the film is jam-packed with sight gags and endless puns that will have your groaning but still grinning. The film's bigger sequences are fantastic and the final showdown is incredible memorable and silly. It's a completely indulgent and entertaining treat. Yes, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is silly and nostalgic but it's a complete delight. After all, it wouldn't be the same without a good helping of cheese, Gromit. 

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