Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

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Wallace & Gromit:
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Wallace gromit were rabbit poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Nick Park
Steve Box
Produced by Nick Park
Claire Jennings
Peter Lord
Carla Shelley
David Sproxton
Screenplay by Nick Park
Steve Box
Bob Baker
Mark Burton
Starring Peter Sallis
Ralph Fiennes
Helena Bonham Carter
Peter Kay
Music by Julian Nott
Edited by David McCormick
Gregory Perler
Production
  company
DreamWorks Animation
Aardman Animations
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures (United States)
United International Pictures (United Kingdom)[1]
Release date(s)
  • 7 October 2005 (2005-10-07) (United States)
  • 14 October 2005 (2005-10-14) (United Kingdom)
Running time 85 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $30 million
Box office $192,610,372

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a 2005 British clay-mation animated comedy film. The film was produced by Aardman Animations in partnership with DreamWorks Animation, and was the last DreamWorks animated film to be distributed by DreamWorks Pictures. It was directed by Nick Park and Steve Box as the second feature-length film by Aardman after Chicken Run.

The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is based on the Wallace and Gromit short film series, created by Park. The film follows eccentric inventor Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and his silent and intelligent dog, Gromit, as they come to the rescue of the residents of a village which is being plagued by a mutant rabbit before an annual vegetable competition.

The film introduces a number of new characters, and features a voice cast including Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes. It was a critical and commercial success, and won a number of film awards including the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, making it the second film from DreamWorks Animation to win (after Shrek), as well as the second non-American animated film to have received this achievement (after Spirited Away). It is also the first stop-motion film to win the award.

Plot[edit]

Tottington Hall's annual Giant Vegetable Competition is approaching. The winner of the competition will win the coveted Golden Carrot Award. All are eager to protect their vegetables from damage and thievery by rabbits until the contest, and Wallace and Gromit are cashing in by running a vegetable security and humane pest control business, "Anti-Pesto".

However, they are soon faced with two problems: first is Wallace's growing weight, while the second is inadequate space for the captured rabbits. Wallace comes up with an idea – use his Mind Manipulation-O-Matic machine to brainwash the rabbits. While performing the operation, Wallace accidentally kicks a lever and a rabbit gets fused to Wallace's head, causing the machine to malfunction, and Gromit is forced to destroy the Mind-O-Matic in order to save Wallace. The resulting failure somehow leaves them with a semi-intelligent rabbit who no longer has an appetite for vegetables, whom Wallace dubs "Hutch". That night, town is threatened by the "Were-Rabbit", a giant rabbit-like monster which eats vegetables of any size. During a chaotic town meeting, Anti-Pesto enters into a rivalry with Lord Victor Quartermaine, who seeks to court Lady Tottington and who believes that it is better to be rid of the rabbits via the use of guns. With Lady Tottington's persuasion, the townspeople agree the Anti-Pesto front the capture attempt.

After a hectic night-time chase, Wallace and Gromit come to the theory that Hutch is the Were-Rabbit. Believing he has captured the beast, Wallace is overjoyed and goes to inform Lady Tottington. Securing Hutch to make sure that he does not escape, Gromit instead discovers that the Were-Rabbit is in fact Wallace, suffering from the effects of the accident, with the Mind Manipulation-O-Matic having caused him and Hutch to each take on aspects of the other. Alarmed, Gromit seeks out Wallace, retrieves him before the sun sets, and drives him away. Victor corners Wallace during the night, jealous of Lady Tottington's growing fondness for him because of his humane practice of pest control. However, when the full moon appears, Wallace transforms into the Were-Rabbit before a petrified Victor and his dog Philip, forcing Gromit to pursue him. Having identified the Were-Rabbit, Victor decides to dispose of his rival to win Lady Tottington's heart. Reverend Clement Hedges allows him access to three "24-carrot" gold bullets – supposedly, the only things capable of killing a Were-Rabbit.

The following morning, the day has finally arrived for the Vegetable Competition, but Lady Tottington reluctantly bows to public pressure to sanction Victor's offer to shoot the Were-Rabbit. Meanwhile, an oblivious Wallace rebuffs Gromit's accusations of him being the Were-Rabbit, but accepts the truth when he witnesses Hutch expressing his own personality traits. At night, Lady Tottington informs Wallace of Victor's plan. But seeing the moon rising in the sky above he and Lady Tottington, Wallace begins to transform and is left with no other choice but to send her away. Victor and Philip arrive on the duo's doorstep moments later, but Gromit lures the Were-Rabbit away with a female Were-Rabbit marionette. However, his getaway plan is foiled when Victor mistakenly fires upon what he believes to be the Were-Rabbit, instead discovering it to be Gromit in disguise. Victor and Philip imprison Gromit, who subsequently escapes with help from Hutch and decides to use the marrow he had been growing for the competition as bait for Wallace who has burst in upon the vegetable contest. Victor exhausts his supply of gold bullets and takes the Golden Carrot award from Lady Tottington, as it is the only golden bullet-like object left to him. Ascending to the rooftops, Wallace takes Lady Tottington with him and indirectly reveals his identity to her, but Victor interrupts them and reveals that he only wants to court Lady Tottington for her money.

Meanwhile, Philip pursues Gromit to prevent him from stopping Victor, both using toy biplanes, but Philip's plane is destroyed and Gromit eventually dispatches him into a bouncy castle. On the roof of Tottington Hall, Victor wields the Golden Carrot trophy inside an elephant gun and tries one last time to shoot Wallace, but Gromit saves him by grabbing onto a rope from a flagpole and swinging his plane into the path of the improvised bullet. However, the toy plane rapidly descends when Gromit accidentally lets go of the rope. Wallace sacrifices himself to save Gromit, breaking Gromit's fall into the cheese tent below. Victor gloats victoriously, but Lady Tottington knocks him into the tent, where Wallace is dying of his injuries. Using the marionette to protect Wallace from the angry mob outside, Gromit dresses Victor up as the monster and the angry mob chases Victor away.

Gromit and Tottington tend to Wallace who seemingly dies, but morphs back into his normal, naked form. Gromit, however, is able to revive Wallace with the scent of a slice of Stinking Bishop cheese. For his and his marrow's bravery, Gromit is awarded the slightly dented Golden Carrot trophy, and Lady Tottington turns Tottington Hall's front garden into a wildlife sanctuary, where Hutch and the rest of the rabbits can live in peace.

Cast[edit]

Helena Bonham Carter voices Lady Tottington
  • Peter Sallis as Wallace, an inventor with an obsession with cheese.
  • Ralph Fiennes as Lord Victor Quartermaine, an arrogant, vain, upper-class bounder who is fond of hunting; he is rarely seen without his rifle and his hunting dog Philip. He wears a toupee and hates Anti-Pesto. His hunting rifle is apparently a high calibre bolt-action model. It soon becomes clear in the film that Victor's only interest in Lady Tottington is her vast fortune which he is eager to get his hands on. After Lady Tottington discovers that Victor knew that the were-rabbit was Wallace all along, he reveals that all he wants is her money. His surname is similar to Allan Quatermain, the British novelist's H. Rider Haggard's big-game hunter character.
    • Philip is Victor's vicious but cowardly hunting dog who resembles a Miniature Bull Terrier. He and his master will do anything to stop the Were-Rabbit, although Philip is bright enough to know that the Were-Rabbit is beyond his hunting skills, and that Gromit, closer to his own size, is a better prospect as the target of premeditated violence. He also owns a lady's purse decorated with flowers for spare change.
  • Helena Bonham Carter as Lady Campanula "Totty" Tottington, a wealthy aristocratic spinster with a keen interest in both vegetable-growing and 'fluffy' animals. For 517 years, her family has hosted an annual vegetable competition. Lady Tottington asks Wallace to call her "Totty" (which is a British term for attractive upper class women) and develops a romantic interest in him. Her given name, Campanula is also the name of a bellflower.
  • Peter Kay as Police Constable Albert Mackintosh, the village bobby who judges the Giant Vegetable Contest, although, with the havoc it creates every year he would rather it did not happen at all.
  • Nicholas Smith as Reverend Clement Hedges, the local vicar and the first person in the village to witness the Were-Rabbit. He describes the full horror of his encounter with the beast, but Victor refuses to believe him. However, when Victor discovers the true identity of the beast, he turns to the vicar for advice on how to kill it. Reverend Hedges appears to have a wide range of knowledge on the habits and the slayings of supernatural animals, and has a whole cupboard filled with the weapons to defeat them. Although his name appears in the credits, it is never said inside the film.
  • Dicken Ashworth and Liz Smith as Mr. and Mrs. Mulch, clients of Wallace and Gromit's Anti-Pesto. Mrs. Mulch is a prominent woman that has a fixation on her gigantic pumpkin. Mr. Mulch speaks little and has a pair of dentures, which he briefly used to knock out a thieving rabbit.
  • Edward Kelsey as Mr. Growbag, an elderly resident of Wallace and Gromit's neighbourhood and a founding member of the town's veg grower's council. He constantly recalls memories of incidents from previous Vegetable Competitions – comparing them to what may happen to the forthcoming one. Two of the "disasters" he mentions are The Great Slug Riot of '32, "when there were slugs the size of pigs", and the Great Duck Plague of '53.
  • Peter Sallis (with a sped-up voice) as Hutch, originally just another captive rabbit, but receives special treatment, and his name, after an attempt to brainwash him and his fellows goes wrong. He was the first to be suspected of being the Were-Rabbit. Everything that Hutch says is a quotation from Wallace (though, surprisingly, some of the lines were originally spoken by Wallace after the incident with the Mind-Manipulation-O-Matic). Hutch wears clothes like Wallace's, including his slippers and tank top.

Production[edit]

The van prop used in production on display at Annecy Animation Festival, 2014.
Director Nick Park at the film's premiere

The directors, Nick Park and Steve Box, have often referred to the film as the world's "first vegetarian horror film". Peter Sallis (the voice of Wallace) is joined in the film by Ralph Fiennes (as Lord Victor Quartermaine), Helena Bonham Carter (as Lady Campanula Tottington), Peter Kay (as PC Mackintosh), Nicholas Smith (as Rev. Clement Hedges), and Liz Smith (as Mrs. Mulch). Keeping with the tradition of the original short films, Gromit remains silent, communicating only through body language.

Park told an interviewer that after separate test screenings with British and American children, the film was altered to "tone down some of the British accents and make them speak more clearly so the American audiences could understand it all better."[2] Park was often sent notes from DreamWorks, which irritated him. He recalled one note that Wallace's car should be trendier, which he disagreed with because he felt making things look old-fashioned made it look more ironic.[3]

The vehicle Wallace drives in the film is an Austin A35 van. In collaboration with Aardman in the spring of 2005, a road-going replica of the model was created by brothers Mark and David Armé, founders of the International Austin A30/A35 Register, for promotional purposes. In a 500-man-hour customisation, an original 1964 van received a full body restoration before being dented and distressed to perfectly replicate the model van used in the film. The official colour of the van is Preston Green, named in honour of Nick Park's home town. The name was chosen by the Art Director and Mark Armé.

For the US edition of the film, the dialogue was changed to refer to Gromit's prize marrow as a "melon". Because the word "marrow" is not well known in the US, Jeffrey Katzenberg insisted it be changed. Park explained "Because it's the only appropriate word we could find that would fit with the mouth shape for 'marrow'. Melon apparently works over there. So we have Wallace saying, 'How's your prize melon?'".[4] The US version is also heard in the UK bootleg DVD release.

Release and reaction[edit]

The film was released in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and the United States on 14 October 2005 to critical acclaim, including "A" ratings from Roger Ebert and Ty Burr. The DVD edition of the film was released on 7 February 2006 (USA) and 20 February 2006 (UK). On the Rotten Tomatoes website, the film won 2 Golden Tomato awards for "Best Wide Overall Release" and "Best Animation", the film received critical acclaim and has a 95% "Certified Fresh" rating from the website. However, Peter Sallis was dissatisfied with the film, saying that he preferred the half-hour films to the feature,[5] and Richard Roeper gave a "thumbs down" to the film on At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper. Roeper said that, "It's slightly amusing and I'd say when it comes out on video or if you catch it on cable, but to rush out to theaters...". [6]

Box office performance[edit]

Wallace & Gromit grossed US$192,610,372 at the box office, of which US$56,110,897 was from the US,[7] where it opened in 3,645 cinemas and had an opening weekend gross of US$16,025,987, putting it at number one for that weekend.[8] During its second weekend it came in at number two, US$200,000 behind The Fog.[9] It remained number one worldwide for three weeks in a row.[10] Despite the big difference between the production budget and the overall gross, DreamWorks considered its returns low in comparison to Chicken Run, which made a slightly larger amount (US$224,834,564) worldwide, but nearly twice as much (US$106,834,564) within the United States.[11] When it is factored in that Chicken Run also cost US$15 million more to make, the overall profits for both films end up looking very similar. Nevertheless, it was reported on 3 October 2006[12] and confirmed on 30 January 2007[13] that the partnership between DreamWorks and Aardman has ended due to "creative differences" about Aardman's CG feature, Flushed Away. But, given the film's US$30 million budget, Aardman have judged it successful enough for a new Wallace & Gromit film to be made.[14]

Awards[edit]

Group Award Recipients Result
78th Academy Awards Best Animated Feature Film Nick Park
Steve Box
Won
33rd Annie Awards Best Animated Effects Jason Wen Won
Best Animated Feature Won
Best Character Animation Claire Billet Won
Best Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Nick Park Won
Best Directing in an Animated Feature Production Nick Park
Steve Box
Won
Best Music in an Animated Feature Production Julian Nott Won
Best Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Phil Lewis Won
Best Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Bob Persichetti Won
Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Peter Sallis as the voice of Wallace Won
Best Writing in an Animated Feature Production Steve Box
Nick Park
Mark Burton
Won
Best Character Animation Jay Grace
Christopher Sadler
Nominated
Best Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Michael Salter Nominated
Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Helena Bonham Carter as the voice of Lady Campanula Tottington Nominated
Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Ralph Fiennes as the voice of Victor Quartermaine Nominated
Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Nicholas Smith as the voice of Reverend Clement Hedges Nominated
Bodil Awards Best Non-American Film Nominated
59th British Academy Film Awards Best British Film Claire Jennings
David Sproxton
Nick Park
Steve Box
Mark Burton
Bob Baker
Won
British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Film Nick Park Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Animated Feature Won
Cine Awards Best voice actress Helena Bonham Carter Won
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Best Animated Feature Won
Empire Awards Best Director Nick Park
Steve Box
Won
Best British Film Nominated
Best Comedy Nominated
Scene of the Year Nominated
Florida Film Critics Circle Best Animated Film Won
50th Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form Nominated
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Best Animated Film Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Best Animated Film Won
London Film Critics Circle British Film of the Year Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Animated Film Won
53rd Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing in Feature Film – Animated Won
New York Film Critics Online Best Animated Film Won
Kids Choice Awards Best Animated Film Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Best Animated Feature Won
17th Producers Guild of America Awards Producer of the Year Award in Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures Claire Jennings
Nick Park
Won
10th Satellite Awards Outstanding Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Nominated
32nd Saturn Awards Best Animated Film Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Best Animated Film Won
Toronto Film Critics Association Best Animated Film Won
Ursa Major Awards[15] Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture Nominated
Visual Effects Society Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Motion Picture Lloyd Price for "Gromit" Won
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Animated Film Won

Awards shown here are those detailed by the Internet Movie Database.[16]

Home media[edit]

In Region 2, the film was released in a two-disc special including Cracking Contraptions, plus a number of other extras. In Region 1, the film was released on DVD in Widescreen and Fullscreen versions and VHS on 7 February 2006. Wal-Mart stores carried a special version with an additional DVD, "Gromit's Tail-Waggin' DVD" which included the test shorts made for this production.

A companion game, also titled Curse of the Were-Rabbit, had a coinciding release with the film. A novelisation, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: The Movie Novelization by Penny Worms (ISBN 0-8431-1667-6), was also produced.

It was the last DreamWorks Animation movie to be released on VHS. It will be released on Blu-ray on May 13, 2014, as part of a triple film set, along with DreamWorks Animation's Chicken Run and Flushed Away.[17]

Soundtrack[edit]

All music composed by Julian Nott, except as noted.

No. Title Artist Length
1. "A Grand Day Out"     1:54
2. "Anti-Pesto to the Rescue"     3:18
3. "Bless You, Anti-Pesto"     1:56
4. "Lady Tottington and Victor"     2:03
5. "Fire Up the Bun-Vac"     1:47
6. "Your Ladyship"     1:07
7. "Brainwash and Go"     2:28
8. "Harvest Offering"     2:30
9. "Arson Around"     2:23
10. "A Big Trap"     3:27
11. "The Morning After"     1:44
12. "Transformation"     4:05
13. "Ravaged in the Night"     1:45
14. "Fluffy Lover Boy"     4:36
15. "Kiss My Artichoke"     4:31
16. "Dogfight"     3:39
17. "Every Dog Has His Day"     2:43
18. "All Things Fluffy"     1:07
19. "Wallace and Gromit"     1:08
Total length:
48:11

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wallace & Gromit in the Curs of the Were-Rabbit". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Szymanski, Mike (10 October 2005). "Helena Bonham Carter shows off her acting choppers for director Nick Park in Wallace & Gromit". SciFi.com. Archived from the original on 5 November 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2007. 
  3. ^ Nigel Farndale (18 December 2008). "Wallace and Gromit: one man and his dog". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 18 December 2008. 
  4. ^ Stuart Jeffries (16 September 2005). "Lock Up Your Vegetables". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 19 March 2009. 
  5. ^ Contactmusic.com
  6. ^ TV Synopsis: Ebert & Roeper – 'Wallace & Gromit,' 'In Her Shoes," "Two for the Money" | FanDominion
  7. ^ Boxofficemojo, Page for Wallace & Gromit.
  8. ^ The Numbers, Box Office for 10/7/2005 weekend.
  9. ^ The Numbers, Box Office for 10/14/2005 weekend.
  10. ^ The Numbers, Page for Wallace & Gromit.
  11. ^ IMDB Business for Chicken Run
  12. ^ Splitsville for DreamWorks and Aardman?
  13. ^ Times On-line report
  14. ^ Yahoo News – Wallace & Gromit come back
  15. ^ "Award Winners 2005". Ursa Major Awards. Retrieved 26 December 2008. 
  16. ^ Internet Movie Database Awards at the Internet Movie Database
  17. ^ Armstrong, Josh (March 5, 2014). "DreamWorks to release "Chicken Run", "El Dorado" and more in Triple Feature Blu-ray sets". Animation Scoop. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  • The Art of Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit by Andy Lane & Paul Simpson. ISBN 1-84576-215-0

External links[edit]