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Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Directed by Nick Park
Steve Box
Produced by Claire Jennings
Peter Lord
Nick Park
Carla Shelley
David Sproxton
Written by Nick Park (characters)
Bob Baker
Steve Box
Mark Burton
Starring Peter Sallis
Ralph Fiennes
Helena Bonham Carter
Peter Kay
Nicholas Smith
Liz Smith
Music by Julian Nott
Hans Zimmer (producer)
Editing by David McCormick
Gregory Perler
Studio DreamWorks Animation
Aardman Animations
Distributed by USA Theatrical and Worldwide DVD/Video
DreamWorks Animation
Non-USA Theatrical
United International Pictures
Release date(s) 15 September 2005 (Australia)
7 October 2005 (USA)
14 October 2005 (UK)
Running time 85 min.
Language English
Budget $30,000,000 US [1]
Gross revenue $192,610,372
Preceded by Cracking Contraptions
(2002)
Followed by A Matter of Loaf and Death
(2008)

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a 2005 British clay-mation animated film, the first feature-length Wallace and Gromit film. It was produced by DreamWorks Animation and Aardman Animations, and released by DreamWorks Pictures. The film was directed by Nick Park and Steve Box and produced at the Aardman animation studios in Bristol, United Kingdom.

The film followed eccentric inventor Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and his intelligent but silent dog, Gromit, as they come to the rescue of the residents of a village which is being plagued by a mutated rabbit before the annual vegetable competition.

The Curse of the Were-Rabbit introduced a number of new characters, and featured 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.

Contents

Plot

Tottington Hall's annual Giant Vegetable Competition is approaching. The winner of the competition will win the 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 faced with two problems: the first is Wallace's growing weight and 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, allowing them to run freely without harming everyone's gardens. While performing the operation, he kicks the switch and something goes terribly wrong, leaving them with a semi-intelligent rabbit who (in a slow metamorphosis) starts to behave like Wallace (down to his fondness for cheese) and whom Wallace names "Hutch". Soon the town is threatened by the "Were-Rabbit", a giant rabbit-like monster which eats vegetables of any size. During a chaotic yet hilarious town meeting, Anti-Pesto enters into a rivalry with Lord Victor Quartermaine to capture the Were-Rabbit and to win Lady Tottington's heart. After the first night of the Were-Rabbit, the townsfolk start to argue about what to do.

After a hectic night-time chase, Gromit discovers that the Were-Rabbit (whom he assumed was Hutch at first) 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; Hutch even displays Wallace's knack for inventions and regularly repeats some of Wallace's old phrases. Victor corners Wallace during the night, jealous of Lady Tottington's growing fondness for him because of his humane practice of pest control (whereas Victor thinks it's more effective to shoot and kill them). But then Wallace falls into the path of moonlight and transforms. Victor, having identified the Were-Rabbit, goes to Reverend Clement Hedges and gains access to "24-carrot" gold bullets - supposedly, the only things capable of killing a Were-Rabbit.

During the final showdown, Victor and his dog Philip capture Gromit, who subsequently escapes and decides to make the ultimate sacrifice by using the marrow he had been growing for the competition as bait for Wallace who, in his rabbit form, has burst in upon the vegetable contest, causing panic. Victor tries to shoot what is apparently the monster, but Gromit is one step ahead of him, using a rabbit costume he and Wallace had created prior to the discovery of the Were-Rabbit's true nature as a trap. Unfortunately, the marrow cannot keep Wallace's attention as Victor tries to take the golden carrot award from a distressed Lady Tottington (The only vaguely bullet-like object left to him after he exhausted the gold bullets provided by the vicar). Wallace ascends to the rooftops, holding a screaming Lady Tottington in his hand. Discovering his identity, she promises to protect him, only to be interrupted by Victor. Meanwhile, in a mid-air dogfight in toy aeroplanes, Philip chases after Gromit. Gromit forces his foe out of the air in a fiery crash and explosion - but Philip manages to hold on to Gromit's plane and the two grapple with each other. The fight rages on and in the end, Gromit releases Philip, ironically, through the bomb doors and into a bouncy castle.

On the roof of Tottington Hall, Gromit's toy biplane circles Wallace, who clings onto the flagpole at the top of the building for dear life. Victor, wielding the Golden Carrot trophy inside a blunderbuss he finds at an antiques table at the fair, tries one last time to shoot Wallace, but Wallace is saved by Gromit, who grabs onto a rope from a flagpole and swings his plane into the path of the improvised bullet. The enraged Victor throws down the blunderbuss and stamps on it screaming out "Potty poo!" Unfortunately, since it is a toy plane not intended for flying, when Gromit accidentally lets go of the rope, the plane begins to descend rapidly. Wallace jumps from the flagpole and catches the plane, thereby breaking Gromit's fall into the cheese tent below. Victor gloats, but is knocked unconscious by Lady Tottington, using a giant carrot. He falls into the tent too, where Wallace lies unconscious and seemingly dying of his injuries. To protect Wallace from the angry mob outside, Gromit dresses Victor up as the monster (using a marionette he used earlier as a lure for the Were-Rabbit), and throws him out of the tent. Philip, believing Victor to be the beast, bites his master, and the angry mob chases Victor away.

Gromit and Tottington tend to Wallace who, seconds later, breathes his last and morphs back into his human form. Gromit, the rabbits, and Lady Tottington are saddened by their loss, but Gromit is able to revive Wallace with a slice of Stinking Bishop cheese. Gromit, for his bravery and his "brave and splendid marrow", was awarded the (now somewhat battered) competition trophy, and Lady Tottington turns Tottington Hall into a wildlife refuge where all the rabbits, including Hutch, can live in peace.

Production

The directors, Steve Box and Nick Park, have often referred to the motion picture 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.

Nick 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. Nick 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]

Release and acclaim

It was released in the United Kingdom, United States and Hong Kong on 14 October 2005 to almost universally rave reviews, 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" and the film also received a 95% "Certified Fresh" rating from the website. One of the film's few critics was Peter Sallis, the voice of Wallace, who said that he preferred the half-hour films to the big screen debut.[5] Also, Richard Roeper gave a "thumbs down" to the film on At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper.[6]

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Box office performance

Wallace & Gromit opened in 3,645 cinemas and had an opening weekend gross of $16,025,987, putting it at number one for that weekend.[7] During its second weekend it came in at number two, $200,000 behind The Fog.[8] It remained number one worldwide for three weeks in a row.[9] Overall Wallace & Gromit made $56,110,897 in the US and $192,610,372 internationally.[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 ($224,834,564) worldwide, but nearly twice as much ($106,834,564) within the United States.[11] When it is factored in that Chicken Run also cost $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, Aardman have judged it successful enough for a new Wallace & Gromit film to be made.[14]

Awards

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

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

Characters

For more information on the main characters, see Wallace and Gromit.

  • Lord Victor Quartermaine is a spoiled, vain, upper-class bounder who is fond of hunting; he is rarely seen without his rifle and his hunting dog Philip. He is the villain of the movie, wears a toupee, and hates Anti-Pesto. His hunting rifle is apparently a high caliber bolt-action model with a sniper scope. 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. He is also very similar to Percival C. Mcleach from The Rescuers Down Under. After Lady Tottington discovers that Victor knew that the were-rabbit was Wallace all along, he reveals that all he wants is her money. Victor is voiced by Ralph Fiennes.
  • Lady Campanula "Totty" Tottington is a wealthy forty-something single noblewoman 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" and develops a romantic interest in him. She is voiced by Helena Bonham Carter.
  • Philip is Victor's hunting dog. 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.
  • Police Constable Albert Mackintosh is the village bobby who judges the Giant Vegetable Contest, although, with the havoc it creates every year he would rather it didn't happen at all. He is played by British comedian Peter Kay.
  • Reverend Hedges is the local vicar. He is the first person in the village to witness the Were-Rabbit, and 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. He is voiced by Nicholas Smith. Although his name appears in the credits, it is never said inside the movie.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Mulch are clients of Wallace and Gromit's Anti-Pesto. Mrs. Mulch has a fixation on her gigantic pumpkin. Voiced by Liz Smith, Mrs. Mulch is a more prominent character than her husband, who talks little.
  • Mr. Growbag is 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. He is voiced by Edward Kelsey.
  • Hutch is originally just another captive rabbit. He 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. Hutch is voiced by Peter Sallis, the same actor who voices Wallace, though with his voice sped up. 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.

Jokes

Littered throughout the movie are various plays on names of various items, ranging from renames of books and movies, to references from past Nick Park shorts.

Cheese references are scattered throughout the film. Books in Wallace's collection include East of Edam (East of Eden), Fromage to Eternity (From Here to Eternity),[17] Waiting for Gouda (Waiting for Godot), The Hunt For Red Leicester (The Hunt for Red October), How Green Was My Cheese (How Green Was My Valley), Brighton Roquefort (Brighton Rock), Grated Expectations (Great Expectations), Swiss Cheese Family Robinson (Swiss Family Robinson), and Brie Encounter (Brief Encounter).[18] A closed-down antiques shop has the sign of Rare Bits (Rarebit). Gromit is shown in a picture as a graduate of Dogwarts University (Hogwarts).[19]

Vegetable references also make up a sizable number of jokes in the movie. Movie posters around town lampoon various movies with vegetable counterparts: a poster for a film says Spartichoke, a take-off of Spartacus;[20] while another poster seen about town advertises The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner Bean, a take-off homage to the 1962 drama The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.[21] Another poster advertises Carrot on a Hot Tin Roof, a reference to the Tennessee Williams play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.[22]

Gromit plays a 33 record "Symphony For Vegetables" of The Plants Suite which is actually "Venus" from Gustav Holst's The Planets orchestral suite as he is placing an electric blanket over his marrow.[23] . The number plate of the van is HOP21T (hop to it). The Vicar uses two cucumbers to form a cross against the Were-Rabbit, a subtle vegan homage to Peter Cushing's usage of two candlesticks in the 1958 Dracula movie.[24] A large carrot sign advertises "Harvey's" vegetable shop, a reference to the film Harvey, about a man who befriends an invisible giant rabbit.[25]

Some earlier Nick Park shorts are also referenced in a few scenes. There is a barber shop named "A Close Shave", which commemorates the earlier Nick Park short.[26] Penguin villain Feathers McGraw from The Wrong Trousers makes a cameo appearance, added as a joke by Nick Park.[27] Both Nick Park and Steve Box have quick cameos in the film as portraits of vicars on the Vicar's wall.[28]

Hollywood and American Culture references also litter the film. Towards the end, the were-rabbit being chased has several references to King Kong, including aeroplanes and the damsel in distress he tries to 'save'. In one scene where Wallace transforms, his hand grows longer whilst his fingers grow shorter. This is a parody of An American Werewolf in London. Another jab at the movie is when the Were-Rabbit stalks the Vicar in the church, deliberately similar to a scene set in the London Underground.[29] Gromit tunes the car radio to a station playing "Bright Eyes" (of Watership Down fame) by Art Garfunkel. He promptly turns it off (the four station buttons on the car radio spell out "mutt").[30] When Lady Tottington realises who the were-rabbit is, she cries out "Run, rabbit, run!", a reference to a popular song of the 1930s, Run Rabbit Run and also to the film Forest Gump.

When Gromit tries to explain the truth about the Were-Rabbit Wallace says, "What's up, dog?" whilst having rabbit ears and holding a carrot in an homage to Bugs Bunny and his trademark saying, "What's up, doc?".[31] At the Tottington Hall Fair, a hot dog stand has a sign that says Hot Dogs, and Cats and Burger. This is a reference to DreamWorks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg.[32]

At the end of the movie, after Wallace has reverted back to his naked human form, he preserves his modesty with a box labeled 'May Contain Nuts'.

DVD

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 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 coincidental release with the film and a novelization Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit: The Movie Novelization by Penny Worms (ISBN 0-84311-667-6) was also produced.

See also

References

  • The Art of Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit by Andy Lane & Paul Simpson. ISBN 1-84576-215-0
  1. ^ http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=wallaceandgromit05.htm
  2. ^ Szymanski, Mike (10 October 2005). "Helena Bonham Carter shows off her acting choppers for director Nick Park in Wallace & Gromit". SciFi.com. http://www.scifi.com/sfw/interviews/sfw745.html. Retrieved 2007-11-12.  
  3. ^ Nigel Farndale (2008-12-18). "Wallace and Gromit: one man and his dog". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/3831833/Wallace-and-Gromit-one-man-and-his-dog.html. Retrieved 2008-12-18.  
  4. ^ Stuart Jeffries (2005-09-16). "Lock Up Your Vegetables". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2005/sep/16/awardsandprizes.oscars2006. Retrieved 2009-03-19.  
  5. ^ Contactmusic.com, [1].
  6. ^ TV Synopsis: Ebert & Roeper - 'Wallace & Gromit,' 'In Her Shoes," "Two for the Money" | FanDominion
  7. ^ The Numbers, Box Office for 10/7/2005 weekend.
  8. ^ The Numbers, Box Office for 10/14/2005 weekend.
  9. ^ The Numbers, Page for Wallace & Gromit.
  10. ^ Boxofficemojo, 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. http://www.ursamajorawards.org/UMA_2005.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-26.  
  16. ^ Internet Movie Database Awards at the Internet Movie Database
  17. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 52
  18. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 130
  19. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 87
  20. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 78
  21. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 67
  22. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 25
  23. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 46
  24. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 68
  25. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 74
  26. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 24
  27. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 154
  28. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 9
  29. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 73
  30. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 138
  31. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 38
  32. ^ The Art of Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were-Rabbit Pg. 99

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
My Summer of Love
Alexanda Korda Award for Best British Film
2005
Succeeded by
The Last King of Scotland
Preceded by
The Incredibles
Academy Award for Best Animated Feature
2005
Succeeded by
Happy Feet
Preceded by
The Incredibles
Annie Award for Best Animated Feature
2005
Succeeded by
Cars

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