SCG Daily Movie Reviews – Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were Rabbit

Once again, it movie review time. This time it’s a quirky animated piece – Wallace and Gromit: the Curse of the Were Rabbit. I really liked this film, so I’ll zip through the review, then turn it into a deck.

Once again, it movie review time. This time it’s a quirky animated piece – Wallace and Gromit: the Curse of the Were Rabbit. I really liked this film, so I’ll zip through the review, then turn it into a deck.

I actually enjoyed the entire movie, which is rare. I usually spend half my time at movies feeling sorry for the actors for having to mouth such doggerel, and the other half wondering why the writers’ IQs equaled their shoe sizes. This is more than just the Jar-Jar Binks / Clone Wars phenomenon – I reference all the movies where the only way to make the hero look smart is to have everyone else look stupid. Wallace and Gromit, on the other hand, was smart, which is quite a trick for a movie about a man and his dog running a no-kill rabbit control service. However, the plot and writing were more than good enough to make me suspend my disbelief.

In short, Wallace, the mad scientist inventor, and Gromit, his dog and sanity check, are keeping British gardens pest-free with a collection of eccentric, Rube Goldbergesque, inventions. Keeping gardens safe is quite important, because the entire town is involved in a competition to grow giant vegetables (which is, believe it or not, a very popular British pastime). Since the duo is unwilling to kill the rabbits and their incarceration facility is getting full, Wallace decides the solution is to brainwash the bunnies. As might be expected, the plan goes completely awry, creating the title monster.

The plot also involves a variety of charming British eccentrics, including the local noblewoman, Lady Tottington. Wallace falls for “Totty,” but faces a rival suitor. The rival is Victor Quartermaine, an obvious send-up of Alan Quartermaine, the Great White Hunter. Since Quartermaine has a much less humane plan for bunnies – he favors bullets – he and Wallace tangle, as do Gromit and Victor’s dog.

The movie works because it is downright funny on many, many levels. Little kids will love the almost continuous jokes, puns and sight gags (e.g. Gromit’s truck rids itself of mud by shaking like a dog), which are cute without being obvious or overblown. Teens will enjoy the mild sexual innuendos. (e.g. “Victor doesn’t admire my produce.” says Totty, while holding a pair of cabbages at chest height.) Adults will discover many, many more subtle parodies and send-ups of classic movies, events and practically everything else. The movie never pauses to emphasize the jokes – no mugging for the camera here – instead they are buried everywhere in the film. In many ways, the movie is as visually rich as a Jacque Tati film. I suspect that I would still be finding new delights after seeing it a dozen times.

Of course it makes no sense to say that “assistance” for getting downstairs for breakfast comes in the form of a giant, wall-mounted hammer, or that the solution to rabbit overcrowding is to connect the brain wave machine to the giant vacuum cleaner, but in the movie, it works. Not works as in that makes sense, but works as in you go along with it because it is funny. It really is.

Okay, I like the movie. So sue me. Recommended.

On to the deck:

The Giant Vegetables Schtick

2 Explosive Vegetation

2 Rampant Growth

2 Fertile Ground

2 Wild Growth

1 Giant Growth

1 Wall of Roots

1 Utopia Tree

1 Vine Trellis

1 Earthcraft

2 Centaur Garden

4 Brushland (the Ice Ages picture, with the pumpkins)

5 Forest

5 Plains

2 Island

2 Windswept Heath (heath is British)

4 Temple Garden

The cast of characters:

1 Witch Hunter*: Wallace

1 Watchwolf: Gromit

1 Autumn Willow: Totty

1 Alaborn Musketeer: Victor Quartermaine

1 Wild Mongrel: Quartermaine’s Dog

1 Preacher: the old clergyman

1 Icatian Townfolk: the people

1 Trophy Hunter: gardener vying for the Golden Carrot

Rabbits (since there are no rabbits in MTG, we’ll use Squirrels)

1 Krosan Beast: the Were-Rabbit

1 Form of the Squirrel: the transformation

1 Squirrel Mob

1 Squirrel Nest

1 Acorn Harvest

1 Chatter of the Squirrel

1 Druid’s Call

1 Nut Collector

1 Squirrel Wrangler

1 Squirrel Farm

1 Overrun

1 WereBear

Other Stuff

1 Cyclopean Snare: used to catch bunnies

1 Clockwork Gnomes: bunny watchers – yes, it’s a bad card, but the artwork matches

1 Rocket Launcher: the blunderbuss

1 Steam Catapult: a Wallace invention

1 Diabolic Machine: another Wallace invention

1 Talas Airship: Gromit’s plane

1 Rishadan Airship: Victor’s dog’s plane

* Why Witch Hunter for Wallace? Well, Witch Hunter is White card that does a little direct damage and that can bounce cards. For White, that’s pretty insane – but not really all that effective., which makes the combination mad, wacky and mildly dangerous. That’s Wallace – but if you have a better idea, tell me in the forums.

Tomorrow – the big wrap-up, and the type of movies our readership really prefers.