A few days ago I rented Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and tonight I finally got around to watching it. I had heard from generally reputable sources (the great Small Man himself, and Alec Guinness in his diary-memoir My Name Escapes Me, among others) that W&G were wonderful, but after about ten minutes of The Curse I was about ready to turn it off, unable to stomach the repulsive faces (of the humans; the animals are all right, and the vegetables highly attractive), the insistently perky mock-heroic music, and the fact that the dog doesn’t talk— where’s the fun in that? But something made me change my mind and decide to stick it out—perhaps the philosophical conceit of the mind manipulation machine (was unaware that it would figure as the locus of another riff on the beloved Theme of The Double—it’s introduced more as a Clockwork Orange Ludovico Treatment / Chinese Stop Smoking Tea type thing). It turned out to be watchable, if not so lovable, though I came to savour the wise dog’s sad silence—a sort of tragic Jeeves, and anyway the least ugly of the bunch.
It was good to watch a week after watching the Fredric March / Rouben Mamoulian (1932, Pre-Code porno-comic bizarro) and Spencer Tracy / Victor Fleming (1941, respectably disappointing) Jekyll & Hyde films, and especially the wonderful Bugs Bunny short "Hyde and Hare" (included on the same DVD), for me funnier and better-made than the Were-Rabbit.