“Ah, well, it’s no use prevaricating about the bush…”
Wallace (Voiced by Peter Sallis)
Oh, how do I love this British duo! And, good news fans: all of the Wallace and Gromit short films are now available on Blu Ray from Lionsgate.
First, a primer if you aren’t familiar with the characters from the creative minds over at Aardman Animation Studios in Bristol, United Kingdom: Wallace is an absent-minded inventor from Wigan, Lancashire and dearly loves cheese especially Wensleydale. His companion, Gromit, is an intelligent dog. Wallace is voiced by veteran actor Peter Sallis; Gromit remains silent, communicating only through facial expressions and body language. As of 2009, there have been 4 short films and one feature film, The Curse of the Wererabbit, starring Wallace and Gromit. Got it?
So, let’s take a look at these films one by one, shall we?
A Grand Day Out (1989) is an Oscar nominated short and the first introduction to these characters. Wallace is thrilled that he and Gromit are going to enjoy an upcoming holiday. But, when there is a cheese shortage, there is only one destination on Wallace’s mind: the moon. Because, we all know that the moon is made out of cheese, right? But, there is a wrinkle in the plans and the duo are going to have to use their wits to wiggle out of the situation.
The Wrong Trousers (1993) is an Oscar winning short that finds Wallace and Gromit celebrating Gromit’s birthday. Wallace gives him a pair of Techno Trousers, which are supposed to help Gromit with his household responsibilities but instead wreak havoc. While they are dealing with the chaos of the new trousers, Wallace decides to take in a boarder to help with the bills. This is when a penguin called Feathers McGraw, in disguise as a chicken, answers the ad and moves in. But, something isn’t quite right with the new roommate and Gromit is going to have to get to the bottom of things.
A Close Shave (1995) is another Oscar winning adventure from the twosome. England is suffering from a wool shortage and sheep thievery is on the rise. One night, a thief loses a sheep on Wallace and Gromit’s street. Shaun the Sheep escapes into the safety of Wallace and Gromit’s house. At the same time, Wallace and Gromit launch a new window cleaning business which finds Wallace meeting Wendolene Ramsbottom, the owner of Wendolene’s Wool. She hires Wallace and Gromit for a job and they meet her dog, Preston. As it turns out, Preston is the thief who lost little Shaun, of whom Wallace and Gromit have become quite fond. How is all of this going to turn out? Will Wallace finally find true love with Wendolene? Will Preston have revenge on Wallace and Gromit for keeping his lost sheep?
Finally, there is A Matter of Loaf and Death (2008), the latest of the Wallace and Gromit short films. This film finds Wallace and Gromit launching yet another business, this time a bakery enterprise. But, when their paths cross with Piella Bakewell, a former beauty and her dog Fluffles, Piella and Wallace fancies her immediately. But, Piella has a dark past. Can Gromit save the day again before Wallace becomes another victim in Piella’s evil plan?
All of these films are wonderful, in my humble opinion. What Nick Park and his team of animators have created in Wallace and Gromit are not only characters that are fun to watch, but you truly start to care for the twosome. And, that is a credit to the fantastic skill of the animators, the writers and the voice acting. This is truly some of the best stop action animation you are going to see. These films are all charming, entertaining and warm the heart.
You tell me that you don’t fall in love with these two after looking into their big goofy round eyes?
In closing, old fans of Wallace and Gromit will add this to the collection posthaste. And if you haven’t been introduced yet to these films, this is the time to get acquainted with this charming duo.
Wallace and Gromit: The Complete Collection: Blu Ray is presented in widescreen and in 1080p. The colors are eyepoppingly vibrant and the overall image is very respectable. I did not notice any instances of grain or artifacts.
Wallace and Gromit: The Complete Collection: Blu Ray is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. The dialogue is crystal clear and easily heard. It is mixed well with the ambient sound and the great score. .
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The three films are presented in standard Blu Ray amaray case enclosed in a cardboard slip case.
There are some great bonus features to explore on this release. First up, there are commentaries on all four films by Nick Park, and on A Matter of Loaf and Death, he is joined by Editor David McCormick. Fans are going to love these.
How they Donut: The Making of a Matter of Loaf and Death , Inside the Wrong Trousers, A Close Shave: How they Did It all cover the various “making of” of all of these films. They are all informative and entertaining.
The Amazing World of Wallace and Gromit is a mini documentary detailing the origin of the characters and the imact they have had on humanity.
Cracking Contraptions are a blast for fans of Wallace and Gromit. These are mini-episodes and they show Wallace and Gromit demonstrating various inventions.
There are also an image gallery, production stills, and behind the scenes photos from different films.
And if that wasn’t enough, there is the first episode of Shaun the Sheep, a new TV series from the good people at Aardman and a PC only game demo for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventures.
All things considered, a smashing collection of films and bonus material
Overall (Not an Average) 9.5/10
The Movies 10/10
The Video 7/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 10/10
Overall (not an average) 9.5/10