The quality of the animation in Steve Box and Nick Park’s feature-length cartoon is so slick and smooth that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was just another computer-animated job. It isn’t. As with Park’s previous claymation works, every movement here has been painstakenly stop-frame animated with, presumably, only occasional help from a computer. Trouble is, the finished article is so CGI-like that you wonder whether all that organic stop-frame stuff was necessary. Sorry, chaps.
Wallace’s hilarious Heath Robinson-esque inventions are still to the fore and, in this instance, responsible for the outcome of much of the plot, which is somewhat superficial. With the annual giant vegetable competition on the horizon, the locals are dependent on cheese-loving Wallace and his heroic hound Gromit’s pest-control company ‘Anti-Pesto’ to keep at bay the ravaging rabbits that threaten to devour the neighbourhood’s prized veggies. In a misguided effort to brainwash one of their captors into hating vegetables, Wallace hooks himself and a test bunny up to his latest gizmo. Needless to say, it goes awry and before long the neighbourhood is being terrorised by a gigantic rabbit.
Park’s previous outing ‘Chicken Run’ played like ‘The Great Escape’, and this ups the film-borrowing quotient even further to include scenes from ‘The Fly’, ‘King Kong’, ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Curse of the Werewolf’, even ‘Tremors’. The pun level is sky high (I especially liked Wallace’s retro ‘Smug’ fridge). Sadly, though, it treads water during the closing stages and it’s left to Gromit’s silent, deadpan stoicism and ingeniously expressive ‘Do I need this?’ facial language to win the day.