07 June 2006

Disappearing Ink XVI - A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit

If there is one thing these guys like, it's cheese. So, when inventor Wallace and his straight man mutt Gromit run out of queso, there is only one logical course of action -- A trip to the moon. This 1989 stop-motion short was created by Nick Park of Aardman Animation Studios. While nominated for an Oscar, this first Wallace short would lose out to one of Park's other creations Creature Comforts. Two other Wallace shorts and a feature length movie have followed, all winning Oscars. What makes them so award worthy? They all have the subtle wit and charm that only the British can produce.

In this particular adventure, finding that the proverbial cupboards are bare, Wallace builds a rocket ship (oddly consisting mostly of lumber). Then he and Gromit blast off to Luna. There, on that large heavenly ball of cheese, they have themselves a picnic. There is an element of danger added when Wallace activates a coin operated robot, who has dreams of going to the mountains to ski on Earth. The mecha hopes to steal the rocket away for a little joy ride. Do Wallace and Gromit escape? Are the robot's dreams crushed? Watch the film, it is only 24 minutes long.

This is a cute tale, and my judgment may be a bit unfair as I can't help but compare it to the other adventures of W&G that followed. This is easily the weakest and least fine tuned. The plastacine models are not as smooth as those in the later shorts, nor is there much of a supporting cast. Also, the humor compared to the later installments is much less intense. Still, there is a charm and originality that make this short worth watching and enjoyable. This is a worthy first episode in the adventures of Gromit and Wallace. Grand Day Out earns a B, with a bit of room to grow on.

Oh, and by the way, This month's theme is cosmic journeys (which is more or less space sci-fi).

Check out my past reviews:
The Last Unicorn
Fire & Ice
The Sword in the Stone
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
Princess Mononoke
The Black Cauldron
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Grave of the Fireflies
The Iron Giant
Kaena: The Prophecy

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