WALLACE AND GROMIT: THREE AMAZING ADVENTURES
MOVIE: ***** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***** (out of 5)
Peter Sallis as WALLACE
Directed by: Nick Park
Studio: Aardman Animation
BY KEVIN CARR
While I wouldn’t consider myself a rabid fan of animation, I have always been fascinated with it. Sure, I like the old Disney fare, the good old Chuck Jones Looney Toons selections and classic Tom & Jerry, I also love the less mainstream animation.
Back in my days of reviewing independent films, I found the work in animation to be miles beyond the quality of the filmed pieces. Maybe it’s because of the meticulous care needed to simply do a short 5-minute animated piece rather. Or maybe those crazy animators just seem to have their feet deeper into the creative waters.
It would seem strange, then, that I never watched any “Wallace and Gromit” material until their 2005 feature film hit the big screen. Of course, after seeing “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” I was hooked. Now, fans of the series and newbies alike have a chance to go to the roots of the series with a delightful DVD from Aardman Animation.
“Wallace and Gromit: Three Amazing Adventures” present the three main animated episodes that put Nick Park’s wacky inventor and his slightly more respectable dog on the map. Two of these half-hour episodes won Academy Awards, with the first one losing out to another Nick Park short. While fans had to wait years between episodes, viewers can watch them in one sitting with the new DVD.
The first episode is “A Grand Day Out,” which features Wallace building a rocket ship in his basement to fly to the moon, which he believes is made of cheese. The second is “The Wrong Trousers,” which features a tete-a-tete between Gromit and a villainous penguin. It also introduces the audience to some spectacular animated action, which has now become a mainstay to the longer Wallace and Gromit piece.
The DVD wraps up with the most recent – and most visually stunning – episode “A Close Shave.” Not only is the scope of the story grander and the effects more involved, but this episode also introduces audiences to Shaun the Sheep, who has his own cartoons shown on the BBC.
Aside from the joy of watching the Wallace and Gromit franchise as a package, there’s more to get out of this DVD. With all three films together, you can see the evolution of the series, from the finesse of animation to the style of the characters.
The special features provide more than an hour and a half of additional films, many of which are short Wallace and Gromit tidbits about the different inventions. There’s also two bonus episodes of “Shaun the Sheep” stuck in there.
Nick Park and his creative team lend their voices to commentaries for each of the short films, and there are two detailed behind-the-scenes documentaries of the series. One gives an overview of the Wallace and Gromit phenomenon, and the other gives a rather in-depth and detailed look at the animation process that Nick Park goes through to make a short film.
Any fan of Wallace and Gromit will love this DVD, and anyone who liked the film from a few years back should also enjoy watching it. And the kids will just enjoy the movies for what they are – great products of animation.