Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wallace & Gromit

Nick Park's distinctive style of clay animation has captivated audiences since the debut of the English sleuthing duo of man and dog, Wallace and Gromit, in the early '90s. Wallace, a cheese-loving hack inventor, and his patiently faithful (and ever industrious) sidekick Gromit find themselves in and out of trouble in some of the most absurd (if patenly banal) situations. But it's precisely this slice of life, and cheese, that keeps audiences coming back again and again. The original trio of short films that launched Park's career, A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers (one of my all-time favourite animated films), and A Close Shave, have achieved cult status only solidified by last year's critical success (and Oscar nominee) The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the duo's first long player.

While Park's Aardman Studios enjoyed acclaim for their first feature length animated film, Chicken Run, fans couldn't wait to see Wallace and Gromit again. When Were-Rabbit arrived last year, we hadn't seen a new film of the duo in over 10 years. And while this film lacks the homespun whimsy (and bracing speed) of the original trilogy, it deftly tackles the classic horror genre with a razor wit that the whole family can enjoy. Keep your ears out for the voices of Helena Bonham Carter (now perhaps better known for her voice than her face after Tim Burton's The Corpse Bride), and Ralph Fiennes - and yes, Peter Sallis still provides the familiar voice of Wallace. Fun for all...

3 1/2 out of 5 stars


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