Whether or not you've seen Nick Park's Oscar-winning animated shorts (A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave) featuring Wallace, a bumbling British inventor and cheese junkie (voiced by Peter Sallis), and Gromit, his silent but clever dog, you will laugh yourself silly at their feature-length debut. Directed by Park and Steve Box, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit only occasionally shows the strain of stretching to eighty-five minutes. Park is a master of Claymation and dry, understated wit. Our heroes run a company called Anti-Pesto, which stops rabbits from pillaging the gardens of locals who are determined to win the annual Giant Vegetable Competition. The dotty Lady Tottington (a delicious Helena Bonham Carter, who also voices the title role in Tim Burton's Corpse Bride) wants the bunnies dispatched humanely, so Wallace and Gromit suck them up in their Bun-Vac 6000 and take them home as pets. She is also smitten with Wallace, incurring the jealous wrath of gun-toting fortune-hunter Victor Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes, on leave from serious cinema, having a high old comic time). Wallace is too meek to woo her until he mutates into a King Kong-size were-rabbit. Don't even try to figure out how Park can move plasticine figures around and achieve visual and slapstick miracles. Just enjoy.
From The Archives Issue 390: March 3, 1983