Wallace and Gromit need no introduction, of course. But that’s never stopped me before, so I’ll give them one anyway.
Wallace, an enterprising inventor in an unspecified northern English town and his faithful dog Gromit are the creations of Nick Park and Aardman animations. They first appeared in three TV shorts shown on BBC TV in 1989, 1993 and 1995 (or thereabouts).
A Grand Day Out saw them taking a trip to the Moon to get some cheese. This involved a lot of extreme silliness, a nod or two in the general direction of Thunderbirds, and much more.
The Wrong Trousers involved more insane gadgetry and a villainous penguin. And a very silly chase scene.
A Close Shave, which was made all of ten years ago took things to new levels of inspired lunacy, involving sheep rustling, peril and much more. There’s even a close call with romance for Wallace.
All this is done the old fashioned way. Stop frame animation with hand-made Plasticine models. Of course, nobody does that these days, do they? It’s all computer animation, innit? Well, not at Aardman. This means that producing even a short film takes a very long time. Making a full-length, cinema released movie is the kind of project you’d have to be crazy to attempt. Fortunately, craziness seems to be in plentiful supply in Aardman land, and so here we have the first full-length Wallace and Gromit movie.
Wallace and Gromit are superbly realised characters – Wallace eager, awkward, insecure and Gromit long-suffering, loyal, resourceful and obviously a great deal more intelligent than his “master”. Gromit in particular is an amazing creation. He is completely silent, and has no mouth, yet somehow the animators make him express an impressive range of emotions with his eyes and ears.
But on with the story. It’s nearly time for the annual vegetable competition, and Wallace and Gromit’s latest business venture is Anti-Pesto – humane pest control operatives, protecting everyone’s vegetables from voracious rabbits and the like with a characteristically deranged range of devices. Yet more nods at Thunderbirds – when a pest alarm is triggered, the eyes in the client’s portrait light up. And if Gerry Anderson has seen how W&G get into their van, he’s probably arranging to have Tracey Island rebuilt…
Things start to get more interesting when our heroes are summoned to the home of Lady Tottington (“Call me Totty”), who has a major infestation of rabbits. Over the objections of Lady Tottington’s suitor Victor Quartermaine, Wallace and Gromit humanely remove the rabbits (and Quatermaine’s wig) with a typically odd contraption and take them back home.
Now they have a cellar full of rabbits, Wallace comes up with a plan to remove the rabbits’ desire to eat vegetables. Cue more bizarre equipment (a slight Frankenstein vibe there…) and an apparent success. The test rabbit (“let’s call him Hutch”, in an echo of Shaun the Sheep in A Close Shave) now shows a marked aversion to veggies. Problem solved, or so it seems.
But then it happens. The Were-Rabbit, a huge fluffy bunny, appears, laying waste to people’s vegetables, and terrorising the vicar, and generally causing panic.
Can our heroes save the day and indeed the vegetable competition? What is the secret of the Were-Rabbit? Well, you’ll have to see the movie, won’t you?
But without spoiling anything, I can tell you that this movie has one of the funniest chase sequences ever between Gromit and Quatermain’s rather more aggressive dog.
Catch it at the cinema if you can, otherwise get the DVD when it’s available. You’ll need to watch it a few more times, anyway, to catch the sight gags you missed the first time.
 Look, everyone knows the Moon’s made of cheese, right? Go to Google Moon and zoom right in if you don’t believe me!
 It didn’t seem that long, but there you go…
 Hopefully not the last
 An only slightly exaggerated version of the competitions that still occur in many towns, and are taken about as seriously
 Puns and throwaway gags abound…
 Giggle, etc
 Horror movie clichÃ©s follow in rapid sequence. There’s a lovely bit involving some organ playing…