Wallace and Gromit leap gracefully from living room to silver screen in this delightful caper from the creators of Chicken Run. In The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit, the cheese-loving inventor (voiced by Peter Sallis) and his faithful hound, now run a pest control service, protecting local produce from a plague of ludicrously cute bunnies. But when a (hare) brainwashing experiment goes wrong, it's up to our heroes to save Helena Bonham-Carter's Lady Tottingham from a giant, floppy-eared menace...
Nick Park's Aardman Animation is a major player in Hollywood these days; partnered with Dreamworks, earning tributes from Pixar, even persuading Mel Gibson to play a chicken. But really, nothing has changed. Wallace and Gromit still inhabit a world that is quintessentially English, and northern English at that. It's as whimsical as a tea-cosy: harrumphing locals, terraced cottages and harvest festivals. Despite flashes of CGI, the film retains the homespun quality of garage animation; you can still see fingerprints on Gromit's nose.
"SHEER GOOD HUMOUR"
Where the shorts were inspired by the gentle wit of Ealing comedy, Were-Rabbit owes a greater debt to Hammer horror. The movie pastiches come thick and fast, leavened with groansome puns and surprisingly saucy double entendres.
But the Aardman boys have lost none of their trademark inventiveness. Were-Rabbit is brimful of clanking Heath Robinson style machinery, brilliantly offbeat jokes (Wallace reads "Ay-Up!" instead of "Hello!") and sheer good humour. Never mind Hayao Miyasaki and Brad Bird; in Nick Park, Britain has its own authentic animation genius.