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Fun but mixed
on 23 November 2009
Ah, Wallace and Gromit. Always a beloved sight, and this one's no exception: the characters are delightful, the action scenes are skilfully done, the drama is high.
But there are a few faults in this which put it below the standard of its four predecessors. Spoilers ahead...
Possibly I'm being oversensitive, but the idea of a villain being a woman who's gone crazy because she blames food makers for her weight gain, in this age of body anxiety, strikes me as a bit tasteless. Making fun of the fat girl isn't very nice.
The action was great, but there was a point where some characters broke out of a storeroom with surprising ease; I was very surprised there was no scene explaining just exactly how they did get out.
Fluffles is charming, but her face isn't quite as expressive as it could have been. This has worked in the past: the evil penguin's face was completely expressionless, which added to his mysterious menace; Shaun the sheep's face is fairly static, but his smiling bleat adds a great deal and a lot was done with his body language. With Fluffles, emotions are done largely with her eyelids and lashes; it works well enough and would be fine if she wasn't a dog and Gromit's love interest ... but compared with Gromit's marvellously expressive brows, it's not quite as strong, which is a shame.
Having said all that, Nick Park's stuff is never less than great and everybody's entitled to an off day. Music, action and humour are all there as usual, and it's a good time.