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Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Colosseum (4005939668624)
Varèse Sarabande (0030206668629)
Movie | Released: 2005 | Film release: 2005 | Format: CD, Download

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# Track   Duration
1.A Grand Day Out1:54
2.Anti-Pesto to the Rescue3:18
3.Bless You, Anti-Pesto1:56
4.Lady Tottington & Victor2:03
5.Fire Up the Bun-Vac1:47
6.Your Ladyship1:07
7.Brainwash & Go2:28
8.Harvest Offering2:30
9.Arson Around2:23
10.A Big Trap3:27
11.The Morning After1:44
13.Ravaged In the Night1:45
14.Fluffy Lover Boy4:36
15.Kiss My Arrrtichoke4:31
17.Every Dog Has His Day2:43
18.All Things Fluffy1:07
19.Wallace & Gromit1:08
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Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - 08/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
There have been a good number of scores in 2005 to which I have looked forward immensely, but I've had a special place in my collection reserved for Wallace & Gromit's first feature length adventure. From their eccentric debut, A Grand Day Out, through The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave, Julian Nott has been Nick Park's composer of choice, providing the brilliantly memorable theme tune and incrementally grander music for each subsequent adventure. Unlike Chicken Run where the dopey executives at Dreamworks insisted on John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams (who did, admittedly, turn in a fine score), Park stuck to his guns for The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, although evidently Nott was 'assisted' by some of Hans Zimmer's cohorts and Zimmer receives music producer credit (as he does, rather disgustingly, in the opening titles of the film itself). Hopefully Nott's scores for the shorts will see the light of day one day, a ten minute suite from each would be worth anyone's money.

Fortunately, my fears that Zimmer might have ironed out all of the delightful quirks in Nott's music are largely unfounded and while there are a few moments that have some of the Dreamworks music department sheen, these are offset by the score's plentiful pleasures. A Grand Day Out opens in a rather similar fashion to Chicken Run, with a striking brass build up, but soon segues into the original colliery band march, orchestrated slightly more lavishly, but still sounding fresh as a daisy. However, this is rudely interrupted by some considerably more spooky music that befits the (mild, but well played) horror element of the film and introduces one of several new melodies. Perhaps the most memorable is an infectious action fanfare as Anti-Pesto go into action, reprised on numerous occasions when our heroes are doing something, well, heroic. Although clearly meant to be a little more obviously crowd pleasing than Nott's more typically offbeat style, it fits in splendidly.

Although ostensibly a comedy, there is little obviously comedic music; Lady Tottington & Victor receive some playful faux-classical licks, but the balance between lightheartedness and playing it straight is splendidly maintained. Although every track has something to offer, there are some clear highlights, notably the almost Waxman-esque Brainwash & Go, even if it does mutate into a more rhapsodic, chorus filled version of another of the new and equally memorable melodies. Despite the unpromising title, Arson Around is perhaps the horror high point, taking the melodrama to its most odious heights in inspired mock Omen fashion. The final show downs between dog and dog, man and were-rabbit, are pleasingly similar in tone to the climax to A Close Shave with the oompah bass lines and busy, but still clean orchestration. Only a nicely overplayed choir at the end of Dogfight highlights the more lavish scale.

Where the shorts didn't feature the main theme outside of the credits, it is put to good use throughout here, notably a slow and wonderfully warm rendition for Every Dog Has His Day, as well as a couple of interjections in the action sequences. The full reprise of said theme in the titular final cue is unfortunately marred by a mix which makes the bass - timpani, in particular - boom rather unpleasantly (fortunately afflicting only this track) and also changes the original's offbeat finale note in favor of a rather throwaway conclusion. While the thought of the team of Dreamworks composers being foisted on Nott and giving him the benefit of their 'expertise' annoys me intensely (as he has more talent in his little finger than most of the bland Zimmer assistants put together), I must confess that the results are still hugely enjoyable and the tone not overly spoiled by a little more Hollywood gloss. To say that it's a cross between Chicken Run and the scores for the shorts is a fair summation, taking the best elements of both, the results being unfailingly delightful from start to finish, much like the film itself. As such, I can only recommend both very highly. Cracking.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - 08/10 - Review of Andreas Lindahl, submitted at
A couple of days after Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit opened, in the number one position, in the US, Aardman Animations's warehouse in Bristol, England burned to the ground, the flames destroying sets and props from films such as Chicken Run and the three previous Wallace & Gromit short films - "A Grand Day Out", "The Wrong Trousers" and "A Close Shave". A disaster and a terrible tragedy, of course. In a world where stop motion animation is becoming more and more rare for each passing day, Aardman - and front man Nick Park - demonstrates again and again that fancy CGI doesn't have to be the best technique to go with, as long as you have a passion for the arts, solid scripts and a large dose of humor. After all, Chicken Run and the three Wallace & Gromit shorts are some of the best looking, and most entertaining, animated films ever produced.

And the same goes for The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - the film is easily the best animated film to grace the silver screen in several years. And it's got a very strong and very entertaining score by British composer Julian Nott - the man responsible for the incredibly catchy and bouncy Wallace & Gromit theme. However, at one time it wasn't at all certain that Nott would be brought in to score the film at all, as Dreamworks wanted an american composer - and some american, Hollywood sounding, music - for the project. But, thankfully, Nick Park insisted and in the end, he got his way. Almost, anyway. With the score being produced by Hans Zimmer, Nott ended up co-writing the music with several Zimmer-related composers, such as Rupert Gregson-Williams and James Michael Dooley.

In several interviews, Julian Nott told a quite amusing little tale about Hans Zimmer arriving in England with an entire army of equipment, assistants, co-composers, orchestrators and whatnot, leaving Nott a little sceptical at first. But in the end, Nott was quite pleased with their collaboration and admits that Zimmer and his gang actually learned him a thing or two about the art of film scoring. Now, the result of this collaboration could have been a disaster - with two totally unrelated musical styles trying to co-exist side by side - but it's not. It's actually very, very good. Even if parts of the music have a slight Media Ventures sound, it goes really well together with Nott's more British, brass band sounding contribution.

Opening with the superb main theme in "A Grand Day Out", the upbeat music is soon interrupted by the spooky theme for the Were-Rabbit as the title of the film appears on screen, with the letters actually growing hair. Spooky, indeed! The spooky music also dominates the beginning of "Anti-Pesto to the Rescue", followed by the score's hummable and exciting adventure/Anti-Pesto theme. "Lady Tottington & Victor" features some quasi classical, British sounding, music - as does the majority of the scenes revolving around these carachters - while "Fire Up the Bun-Vac" reprises the Anti-Pesto theme, but also introduces us to a very nice, choir based theme, with a slight, tongue-in-cheek religious sound. The Were-Rabbit theme appears again in "Harvest Offering" and "Arson Around", performed by choir and full orchestra, getting a more fleshed out, action sounding treatment towards the end of former cue, with staccato brass and percussion.

Unlike the music for the three shorts, the main theme isn't just used to bookend the film, with appearances only in the main and end titles. In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit it crops up throughout the entire score, in many different guises. As a sultry big band number towards the end of "Fluffy Lover Boy", for example. Or as a hymn-like, Elgar inspired, piece in "Bless You, Anti-Pesto".

All in all, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a damn entertaining and charming score, with terrific themes, tongue-in-cheek moments, brass music and exciting adventure, suspense and action music. It successfully incorporates several different styles into one, coherent, package. Highly recommended.

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