I have to confess that I haven’t yet seen the new Wallace & Gromit flick, Curse of the Were-Rabbit. But I’ve been a rabid (no pun intended) fan of W&G since someone (I can’t even remember whom) turned me onto them years ago.
I don’t think there’s much contemporary children’s entertainment that is funnier, more visually compelling, stylish or wittier. I recently took my son to attend an afternoon concert by the Seattle Symphony called Bugs Bunny on Broadway, which consisted of old Warner Brothers cartoons. What amazed me was the assiduous effort made in the scripts to entertain everyone–both adults and children. The best of the old Disney films (not the new ones) achieve that as well. Of the good recent kids films I’ve seen, only Monsters Inc. seems in that type of league in terms of those wonderful puns and double entendres for adults and the straightforward storyline for the kids.
Well, W&G has this in spades. After I bought the W&G video containing the three wonderful 30-minute shorts for my son, he’s watched them scores of times. They’ve become a favorite. It’s really gratifying when you introduce your child to something you adore and they “get it” and share your joy.
So don’t wait another minute…go out and buy those tickets and see this movie. A.O. Scott (who wrote one of the finest and funniest film reviews I’ve ever read–of Adaptation) at the New York Times loved it:
Why…do certain faces haunt and move us as they do?
I am thinking of Gromit, the mute and loyal animated dog whose selflessness and intelligence can be counted on, when things get really crazy, to save the day. Gromit has no mouth, and yet his face is one of the most expressive ever committed to the screen. In particular, his brow – a protuberance overhanging his spherical, googly eyes – is an almost unmatched register of emotion. Resignation, worry, tenderness and disgust all come alive in that plasticine nub. To keep matters within the DreamWorks menagerie, you might compare Gromit to Shrek, who has the genetic advantages of Mike Myers’s Scots burr, a bevy of celebrity-voiced sidekicks and rivals, and state-of-the-art computer-animation technology. Good for him. But Gromit, made by hand and animated by a painstaking stop-motion process, has something Shrek will never acquire in a hundred sequels: a soul.
His face now enters the pantheon of stars whose charisma transcends speech. Keaton, Chaplin, Garbo – let them now make room for Gromit.
Though Scott’s tongue may be a bit firmly in cheek here, I know precisely what he means. That face is utterly captivating and riveting. And yes, the pantheon should make room for a great character like Gromit.
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