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
British 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
Based on Wallace And Gromit 
by Nick Park
Starring Peter Sallis
Ralph Fiennes
Helena Bonham Carter
Peter Kay
Nicholas Smith
Liz Smith
Music by Julian Nott
Hans Zimmer (music producer)
Edited by David McCormick
Gregory Perler
Production
company
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures1 (United States)
United International Pictures (United Kingdom)[1]
Release dates
  • 7 October 2005 (2005-10-07) (United States)
  • 14 October 2005 (2005-10-14) (United Kingdom)
Running time
85 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $30 million
Box office $192.6 million

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a 2005 British stop-motion 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.1 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 mute 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 both the second non-American animated film and second non-computer animated film to have received this achievement (after Spirited Away). It is also the only 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".

As the event draws close, Wallace finds themselves running out of space to cage the rabbits. He is inspired to create the Mind Manipulation-O-Matic machine to brainwash the rabbits and remove their appetite for vegetables. On his first attempt, a rabbit is stuck to Wallace's head as he uses the machine's headpieces, and Gromit destroys the machine to protect Wallace. The machine appears to have worked as the rabbit shows no interest in vegetables though appears to have gained some intelligence. They name the rabbit Hutch while Wallace begins rebuilding the device.

Over the night, several townsfolk report a giant Were-rabbit tried to eat their vegetables. Wallace suspects that Hutch may be the Were-rabbit and keep him caged up. Lady Tottington holds an emergency town meeting, in which the hunter Lord Victor Quartermaine offers to shoot the Were-rabbit. However, Lady Tottington persuades the rest of the town to continue with Anti-Pesto's services. Victor, who really seeks to woo Lady Tottington, becomes jealous of Wallace, and later corners him in town as the sun starts to set. To Victor and his dog Philip's shock, Wallace transforms into the Were-rabbit and bounds away. Gromit, who also witnessed the chase, lures Wallace back home to protect him. Victor obtains three "24-carrot" gold bullets from the town's reverend to use against Wallace the next evening.

The celebration begins the next day. Gromit convinces Wallace that he is the Were-rabbit, and Wallace hides himself away. Lady Tottington, who has come to like Wallace, comes to visit as the sun is about the set. Wallace, feeling the change about to start, shoos Lady Tottington away to avoid harming her. As she leaves, Victor arrives and attempts to fire on Wallace with the golden bullets. Gromit creates a distraction to allow Wallace, as the Were-rabbit, to escape, while he is put into a cage by Victor and Philip. The hunter gives chase to Wallace as he heads for the competition. Gromit is able to escape with the help of Hutch, and plans to sacrifice the giant marrow he had been growing as bait to lure Wallace back to safety.

Wallace, as the Were-rabbit, creates chaos at the fair, and Victor is unable to hit Wallace with the bullets. Instead, he grabs the Golden Carrot trophy to use as ammo for his blunderbuss. Wallace grabs Lady Tottington and climbs onto one of the towers of Tottington Hall. Victor gives chase, revealing that he only wants to impress Lady Tottington for her money. When Gromit arrives, Philip attempts to prevent him from interfering, leading to the two into a dogfight using aeroplanes taken from a fairground attraction. Gromit gets the upper hand, sending Philip's plane to the ground, then steers his plane into Victor's line of fire just as he is about to shoot the Golden Carrot at Wallace. The plane takes the hit and starts to go down, whereupon Wallace jumps off the tower, grabs Gromit and sacrifices himself to cushion their fall into a cheese tent. Victor gloats about his victory, but Lady Tottington hits him with her giant carrot, knocking him out into the cheese tent as well, and goes to check on Wallace herself. As the townspeople begin to form a mob to learn the Were-rabbit's identity, Gromit quickly disguises Victor as the Were-rabbit, who is subsequently chased away from town by the mob.

Wallace shortly transforms back to his human self and appears dead, but Gromit uses some Stinking Bishop cheese to bring Wallace back around to good health. Lady Tottington awards Gromit the Golden Carrot for his sacrifice of the giant marrow, and later converts the grounds of Tottington Hall into a safe habitat for Hutch and the other captured rabbits.

Cast[edit]

Helena Bonham Carter at the film's North American premiere at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival[2]
  • Peter Sallis as Wallace, an eccentric and clumsy inventor with an obsession with cheese.
    • Gromit is Wallace's silent, brave and highly intelligent dog, who saves his master whenever something goes horribly wrong
  • Ralph Fiennes as Lord Victor Quartermaine, an arrogant, cruel, 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 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.
  • 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 forename, Campanula is also the name of a bellflower and her surname is taken from the Lancashire village of Tottington.
  • Peter Kay as Police Constable Albert Mackintosh, the local village constable 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]

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."[3] 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.[4]

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?'".[5] The US version is also heard in the UK bootleg DVD release.

Release[edit]

The film was released in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and the United States on 14 October 2005. The DVD edition of the film was released on 7 February 2006 (USA) and 20 February 2006 (UK).

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 was re-released on DVD on 13 May 2014, as part of a triple film set, along with DreamWorks Animation's Chicken Run and Flushed Away.[6]

Reception[edit]

Box office[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]

Critical response[edit]

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit received a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 176 reviews, with an average rating of 8.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a subtly touching and wonderfully eccentric adventure featuring Wallace and Gromit."[11] The film also received a score of 87 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 38 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim."[12]

Accolades[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
Bob Baker
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
Ralph Fiennes as the voice of Victor Quartermaine Nominated
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
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
Golden Tomato Awards 2005 Best Animated Film Won
Best Wide Release Won
New York Film Critics Online Best Animated Film Won
Kids Choice Awards 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
Toronto Film Critics Association Nick Park and Steve Box Won
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

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

Legacy[edit]

After the box office failure of Flushed Away resulted in a major write down for DreamWorks, it was reported on 3 October 2006[13] and confirmed on 30 January 2007[14] that DreamWorks had terminated their partnership with Aardman. In revealing the losses related to Flushed Away, DreamWorks also revealed they had taken a $29 million write down over Wallace & Gromit as well, and the film under performed expectations.[15] Soon after the end of the agreement, Aardman announced they were proceeding with another Wallace & Gromit project, later revealed to be a return to their earlier short films with A Matter of Loaf and Death with the BBC.

During production of the short, Park remarked publicly on difficulties with working with DreamWorks during the production of Wererabbit, such as the constant production notes and demands to alter the material to appeal more to American children.[4][16]

In 2014, Nick Park commented that the film series is likely over with due to the declining health of Peter Sallis, ending any possibilities of another feature film.[17]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In July 2014, the film's distribution rights were purchased by DreamWorks Animation and transferred to 20th Century Fox.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Toronto International Film Festival (16 August 2005). "North American Premiere of Nick Park's and Steve Box's Wallace & Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit a Gala Presentation" (Press release). PR Newswire. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ a b Nigel Farndale (18 December 2008). "Wallace and Gromit: one man and his dog". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 18 December 2008. 
  5. ^ Stuart Jeffries (16 September 2005). "Lock Up Your Vegetables". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 19 March 2009. 
  6. ^ Armstrong, Josh (5 March 2014). "DreamWorks to release "Chicken Run", "El Dorado" and more in Triple Feature Blu-ray sets". Animation Scoop. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  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. ^ Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit at Rotten Tomatoes
  12. ^ Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit at Metacritic
  13. ^ Splitsville for DreamWorks and Aardman?
  14. ^ Times On-line report
  15. ^ "DreamWorks Reports Loss on `Flushed Away' Writedown". Bloomberg. 27 February 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  16. ^ "Wallace and Gromit return to TV". BBC News. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  17. ^ "Wallace and Gromit 'may never return'". Digital Spy. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  18. ^ Chney, Alexandra (29 July 2014). "DreamWorks Animation Q2 Earnings Fall Short of Estimates, SEC Investigation Revealed". Variety. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 

External links[edit]