Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
Directed by Nick Park and Steve Box
February 17 at Videology. FREE.
But by the end of the first act, Park makes it clear that the cutesy vermin Wallace and Gromit hunt aren't the story's proper antagonists. Instead, an oily, banana-nosed named Lord Quartermaine (Ralph Fiennes), who has a piranha-toothed dog of his own, fulfills that role and then some—he insists that all threats to local pride be gunned down. And when an experiment of Wallace's goes haywire, the stakes rise; while attempting with a tubular mind-control device to reprogram the dietary instincts of the hundreds of rabbits he's captured, the inventor accidentally mutates one of the animals into a teratoid shape-shifter whose appetite and stature bulge to the size of a three-story house by moonlight. From there, the movie becomes a war between Wallace and Gromit's pacifist wits and Lord Quartermaine's rifle full of golden bullets. Which will stop the “were-rabbit” first, and thereby win the affections of the comely if bucktoothed local royalty, Lady Tottington (Helena Bonham Carter)?
Even if it weren't precipitated by vegetable fetishism, Curse of the Were-Rabbit's kill versus no-kill conundrum would still be one of the most vegan conflicts ever to grace the big screen—but omnivores in the audience will be relieved to learn that the film hardly practices strict veganism. How could it, given Wallace's iconic addiction to cheese? That said, for the first time in the Wallace and Gromit oeuvre, the former's dairy indulgence is here shown as deleterious; Gromit, ever his keeper's better half in the veritable mobius strip of guardianship that is their relationship, attempts in vain at the film's start to get his now-pudgy master to resist the allure of gorgonzola and Wensleydale. This self-improvement subplot, along with the duo's more frantic attempts to forestall the slaughter of even undesirable living things, smartly suggests that all acts of aggression and exploitation toward animals must be judged on a sliding scale: hunting for sport might be sinister, but indulging in coagulated milk is a mere peccadillo. In brief, Curse of the Were-Rabbit is one of the few films, animated or otherwise, to approach the morality of sustainable living as each individual determines it—according to day-by-day and bite-by-bite convictions, rather than all-or-nothing imperatives.