In “Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” there exists a strange phenomenon that inexplicably finds its way into many claymation ventures: clay coffee. Because its physical and chemical properties can’t be replicated in clay, attempts at producing clay coffee tends to result in a brownish, oddly amorphous substance that produces an unsavory intestinal-plopping sound. Its appearance is so bizarre and distracting that we hereby suggest that the appearance of clay coffee be stricken from the storyboards and plotlines of all future claymation films.
But despite an insistence on clay coffee and Wallace’s surplus of teeth, “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” the first feature-length adventure for the eternally optimistic Wallace and Gromit duo, is as charming as it is well-crafted.
The movie requires a certain (British) sense of humor and an appreciation of semi-stupid punning. Here’s the barometer: “Watch out below! There might be a huge rabbit dropping.”
Admirers of this line may flush with warmth over the course of the film and go home as melted puddles of pure happiness, while those who find it nauseating will have long since thrown up in their popcorn bags. Enjoy this type of “humour” or not, it cheerfully pervades “Curse’s” writing like it should in any true British comedy.
Inventive, bumbling Mr. Wallace (think Inspector Gadget without the arrogance) and practical-pup Gromit own a garden-pest-control business called Anti-Pesto whose main claim to fame is its humane treatment of the furry perps. In other words, they keep all their captive bunnies in their basement.
Eventually realizing this strategy is highly impractical, Wallace invents a mind-altering device and uses it to manipulate the critters’ tastes so that they no longer find carrots appealing. But a clumsy mistake during the initial experiment leads to the creation of a gargantuan bunny who winds up looting the town of its vegetables a few days before its garden festival.
The action builds from there and erupts in a trumpeting finale concerning a distressed and screaming crazy-haired maiden, two dogs in airplanes, a ballistic golden carrot and an angry mob of elderly vegetable gardeners.
The nutty plot is perfectly paced, reeled with careful splicing of high and low action, and like most recent animated comedies, there’s a few instances of hidden adult humor (A