Saturday, 16 October 2010

Wallace and Gromit

If I was going to start my blog anywhere it had to be with the 'cracking' Wallace & Gromit – sorry, I couldn't help myself. I usually don't go in to the whole thing of 'this is the best', but when it comes to animation, for me, Wallace & Gromit tops them all. I grew up watching their short films and they played a big part in inspiring a love for animation that has stayed with me throughout my life.

To give a quick overview of W&G, it is a stop-motion animation centred on two characters of the same name: Wallace, an eccentric Englishman that creates all sorts of overly contrived inventions; and Gromit, Wallace's pet dog come co-worker. Created by animator Nick Park, W&G made its first on-screen appearance in 1989 with a 22 minute film entitled “A Grand Day Out”. Nick Park produced this for a company called Aardman Animation whilst still studying at the National Film & Television School (NFTS) in Buckinghamshire. This animation proved to be a big hit with the public and in proceeding years two other short-films were commissioned: “The Wrong Trousers” (1993) and “A Close Shave” (1995). More recently, W&G made their first big-screen appearance with “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” (2005) before returning to their old short-film format with “A Matter of Loaf and Death” (2008). Indeed, this November on BBC One, W&G will be returning to our screens in a series called “Cracking Contraptions” in which inventors and their inventions are spotlighted.

I guess what I have found so endearing about these characters is that they are relatable. From the typical British terrace house setting to the traditional foods and brands that feature in their films, there are so many things about W&G that I can identify with from daily life. Also, as a person that has always loved to design and invent things, the crazy inventor character of Wallace was an instant hit – what kid wouldn’t be taken by the idea of building a spaceship in their basement? Moreover, the films contain some excellent visual humour and the plot lines are fun with a very entertaining half-believable-half-wacky construction.

Indeed, I could go on all day about them but, resisting this urge, I will finish by saying that W&G is a masterpiece of animation and, as far as I am concerned, a national treasure that can’t be praised highly enough.

See also:

Offical Wallace and Gromit Website

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