Sunday, February 12, 2006

the curse of the were rabbit

Wallace and Gromit are international stars. They have been recognized by the Academy, honored by the Queen, translated into more than 20 languages and credited with saving the Wensleydale Dairy. They also have their first full-length movie, and it was just released on DVD.

In the 10 years since we last saw the enterprising residents of 62 West Wallaby St, they have changed professions. As they explain in their company song “catching pestos is much more fun than keeping windows clean.” The Curse of the Were Rabbit (trailer and featurette) presents them with their biggest challenge yet: a giant rabbit that is ruining vegetable gardens throughout the town.

The movie begins just days before the annual Giant Vegetable Competition. All of the villagers are preparing their entries and relying on Anti-Pesto for security and humane pest control. The story progresses much as in A Close Shave, the irresistible 1995 Wallace and Gromit short, only this time the cuteness is provided by bunnies rather than sheep.

I really enjoyed the movie and I was happy to find a number of special features on the DVD. These include Stage Fright, a 10 minute short from Steve Box; a pair of behind the scenes looks at both Wallace and Gromit and Aardman Animations; and, a number of deleted scenes and alternate endings. Featurettes also explain how to build a bunny from plasticine and provide children’s games and activities.

The best bonuses are Cracking Contraptions, clever new inventions from Wallace and Gromit. Featured in 3 3-minute segments are the Snoozatron, 525 Crackervac and Shopper 13. Some of these are available on the web too and you can watch several Cracking Contraptions in this 25-minute compilation.

Borrowing from their company commercial, might I suggest-o that you please request-o anti-pesto and rent The Curse of the Were Rabbit. It is perfect for the kid in all of us.

3/6 Update: Congratulations to Wallace and Gromit (and Nick Park and Steve Box) for winning another Academy Award, this time for best animated feature.