The Wrong Trousers
Clay-animation master Nick Park deservedly won the 1993 Academy Award for Best Animated Short for this 30-minute masterpiece, in which the good-natured inventor Wallace and his trusty dog, Gromit, return for another grand adventure. It all begins on the morning of Gromit's birthday, when Wallace gives his beloved pooch the gift of his latest invention--a pair of mechanical "techno-trousers" that can be programmed to take Gromit out for "walkies" while Wallace sits comfortably at home. Gromit's not exactly thrilled with the new gadget, and things go from bad to worse when Wallace rents a room to a new boarder--a rather suspicious-looking penguin--to offset his rising expenses. As it turns out, the penguin's a notorious thief, and the amazing techno-trousers provide a foolproof method of pulling off a diamond heist! It's Gromit's big opportunity for canine heroics, and The Wrong Trousers turns into one of the funniest, most inventive caper-comedies ever made, with an action-packed climax on a speeding miniature train. Will the notorious "Feathers" wind up in jail where he belongs? Will Gromit finally get his due recognition? Watch this amazing marvel of clay animation to see why Wallace and Gromit have become global celebrities--this is comedic ingenuity at its finest.
A Close Shave
Hot from the international triumph of The Wrong Trousers, clay animator Nick Park knew that his third Wallace and Gromit film was going to have to be the biggest and best adventure yet for the mild-mannered inventor Wallace and his perceptive pooch Gromit. With the ambitiously zany plot of A Close Shave, Park and his fellow animators rose to the occasion and their film won the 1995 Academy Award (Park's second Oscar) for Best Animated Short. This time out, Wallace and Gromit have teamed up to provide a window-washing service, and that's how Wallace meets the lovely Wendolene Ramsbottom, a wool-shop owner whose malevolent dog Preston turns out to be the mastermind of a sheep-napping scheme! Of course, no Wallace and Gromit adventure can be without a grandiose gadget, so Wallace's latest invention is the Knit-O-Matic, a yarn-making machine capable of shearing a whole flock of sheep just a bit too efficiently! When the villainous Preston gains control of the mechanical knitting marvel, Gromit must race to the rescue, and A Close Shave reaches new heights of clay-animation mastery. Every shot is a testament to Nick Park's patience, his clever ingenuity, and his film-making flair. The movie's so technically impressive, in fact, that the whole world wondered where Park could go next. It was no surprise, therefore, to find him making the transition to the big screen with Chicken Run. --Jeff Shannon
BBC Christmas Idents
Subtitles: English SDH
Instead of 'Happy Birthday', Gromit's card now plays an uninspired version of 'For He's A Jolly Good Fellow'. The penguin's radio still starts playing 'Tie A Yellow Ribbon', but in place of 'Happy Talk' and 'How Much Is That Doggie In The Window', we get what seems to be generic electronic organ noise, on what is obviously a different organ. This being issued by the BBC, the changes were doubtless done as cheaply as possible.
That said, the most thrilling chase in television history still involves a bald inventor, his dog and an armed penguin racing around a living room on an electric train set.
Full marks to Aardman, but not BBC Worldwide.
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