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A Grand Day Out, A Close Shave, The Wrong Trousers – three classic animated adventures from Ardman Animations of London, starring the subsurban bachelor Wallace, and his best friend, a clever dog called Gromit.

Gromit’s a dog. Doesn’t talk. He reads, though, and understands Wallace, his master. And they go on a cheese holiday. . . A Grand Day Out, they have, too. With a rocket to the moon. Nick Park made this claymation film in 1989 (well, he finished it then, he had been working on it for years), and the rocket also launched his claim to fame. He had joined Aardman Animations, which has since become a creative powerhouse for claymation, with Chicekn Run its first feature length project, financed by DreamWorks – and there are three more to come.

On their moon adventure, Wallace & Gromit discover a skiing oven . . . with an attitude. The oven, like Gromit, doesn’t talk. But it has recognisably human charcateristics, conveyed with the same physicality as silent actors used. There is tension and drama in every frame, as well as endless humour.

A Close Shave is a dramatic, tantalising tale involving, sheep, a wool shop and its lady owner with a dog which has evil plans, and the adventures they trigger for Wallace & Gromit, with great lines like, “Tell me about windows” as a conversation starter. (Wallace & Gromit are window cleaners.) The humour is spiked with true Brit understatement and clever, effective use of music (played for real), not to mention perfectly cast voices, economical and an absurdly funny script. Without giving away too much of this taut drama, you should be alerted to the scene where Gromit, in jail, is reading Crime & Punishment by Fido Dogstoyevsky. It’s just one of many touches that make Aardman’s work entertaining. But it’s their ability to turnn clay into character that is their most powerful creative tool, drawing us into their magic world as if these figures were human. And compelling.

The Wrong Trousers builds on the Wallace & Gromit legend – a thriller with a bitter sweet taste involving an evil penguin and robotic trousers. It is famous for (among other moments) the legendary high speed chase on a toy train.

Witty, whimsical and endearing, these are three classics from Aardman on one animusing DVD.

The DVD also offers a 15 minute backgrounder on the how Aardman Animations and Nick Park got together, tracing the story of their animated, Oscar winning success around the world.
Andrew L. Urban

Published July 26, 2001

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You can buy it HERE - next day delivery within Australia

See Andrew L. Urban’s VIDEO INTERVIEW with Nick Park and Peter Lord about Chicken Run


(ANIMATION) CAST: Voice of Peter Sallis as Wallace


RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: June 4, 2001

The Amazing World of Wallace & Gromit
Scene selection
Presentation: widescreen 2:35:1, 16:9 transfer, Dolby 5.1
Languages: English

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