Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Nick Park, Genius in Details

Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit is not a kid movie, it is a family movie. Kid movies engross the younger set but leave adults yawning, family movies engage all levels. If the the fun in Shrek is noticing the details, you'll love Nick Park's latest creation.

The movie shows us the classic horror concept of science gone amok. In an effort to save the town vegetables from a horde of hungry rabbits, Wallace attempts to reverse the bunnies produce loving ways thru mind control. Disaster, as they say, ensues. Adults, even those who are not horror film enthusiasts, can pleasure in carefully crafted horror film cliches: racing to a safe haven as the sun sets, the old priest (or anglican minister in this case) with musty tomes of lore and a cabinet full of occult knowledge locked away, locking the doors on the vehicle as the monster appears, even the hood of a vehicle smashed as the detrius of the monster's prey is rained down on the street.

Along with the broader scene cliches, come the little comedic gems: the radio presets in the van spell M-U-T-T, the Bishop cheese, the picture of a younger Wallace with hair from a bygone era, and (my personal favorite) the bumper sticker on the van - Eat cheese now, ask me how! There are many more large and small cliches and details all lovingly included. It is a testament to Park that he has crafted the perfect horror story while telling it in so gentle and accessible a manner as to delight my extremely shy and easily frightened niece of three years. This is one to add to the family archives.

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