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'Lovely Cheese, Gromit' and 'Don't Forget The Crackers!',
This review is from: Wallace & Gromit : Three Cracking Adventures [DVD] (DVD)
I love `Wallace and Gromit'! I have fond memories of this duo when I was small and used to watch them on telly during the Christmas holidays on BBC2 repeats. I'm sure I was there on time to watch `A Close Shave' on its original transmission. Here on this DVD are the three original classic adventures featuring a man and his dog. They are a treasure to watch and are some of the finest stories in Aardman Animation all from the mind of Nick Park who wrote and directed these stories.
`A GRAND DAY OUT'
This is the first Wallace and Gromit adventure that was made back in 1989, the year I was born. I have very fond memories of watching this when I was a kid.
Wallace and his dog Gromit are deciding to book a holiday and can't find any place they want to go after searching through so many holiday brochures and books. So Wallace suggests having a nice hot cup of tea with some cheese and crackers. But when he goes to the kitchen, he finds there's no cheese left in the fridge as it's bare. `No cheese, Gromit!' With only crackers and tea to contend with, Wallace has the inspiration. Cheese, that's it! `We'll go somewhere where there's cheese!' But where can they go on holiday to get cheese? Spend a week in Tesco's perhaps? But then Wallace has another idea. He suggests going to the moon. `Everybody knows that the moon's made of cheese!' I certainly believed it. I believed the moon was made of cheese when I was little. And I wanted to go up to the moon to see.
To get up to the moon, Wallace decides to build a rocket. With Gromit's help, they construct a rocket down in the basement. I laughed when Gromit had to hold the door on his back for Wallace to saw through and he looks pretty annoyed. I also laughed when Gromit's drilling through the wood with his drill and he spins out of control at some point. Eventually, Wallace and Gromit build the rocket and paint it up with orange paint. The rocket gets finished and Wallace and Gromit look up at it in amazement to see what a grand job they've done. The rocket looks spectacular in his orange glory. I wanted to travel in a rocket into space. And my mum and dad built me a rocket made out of cardboard boxes so I could fly in it! Oh how I have such fond memories!
Wallace and Gromit are all ready to go as Gromit's at the rocket controls and Wallace lights the fuse to take off. They think they've got everything on board and set off the countdown and open the doors for take-off into space. But then Wallace realises they've forgotten something. `No crackers, Gromit! We've forgotten the crackers!' No! They can't go off without any crackers! So Wallace rushes back inside the house to get a weight full of crackers to carry. Just as the fuse is nearly short, Wallace manages to get back inside the rocket and both he and Gromit are ready for take-off. There's a long silence before the rocket commences take-off. Then the rocket shudders violently as it's waiting to take-off, until Gromit releases the handbrake. They're off into space and on their way to the moon, which was very exciting to watch.
I enjoyed it when they're in the rocket and relaxing in their comfy chairs whilst they're on their way to the moon. They've made the place so homely inside their rocket, haven't they? Gromit is trying to make a tower out of deck of cards and Wallace is enjoying reading his paper and a slice of toast. Then they find they're arriving on the moon, and it was amazing to see the moon in its cheesy wonder. Wallace makes to land, pulling up the handbrake and ruining Gromit's tower of cards which got me laughing.
Wallace and Gromit explore the moon surface and have a nice picnic trying out the cheese that's there in the shape of cones. I love Wallace and his obsession of cheese, making him so quirky and eccentric. I also love Gromit who doesn't say anything yet you can tell what he's thinking by the look on his face. Gromit tolerates Wallace's eccentrics sometimes, but he's ever loyal and faithful to his master. Wallace doesn't know what to make of the new cheese he and Gromit have found since it's neither Wensleydale or Stilton.
On the moon, Wallace and Gromit come across an antiquated oven and storage cupboard that's alive whenever you inserted coins into it. This is the Cooker and he can move about with hands, wheels and an adjustable antennae. He's curious by the new arrival when he wakes up to see the rocket and the picnic left lying about. He discovers a book on Skiing and seems to have a dream to ski himself. He's not happy when someone been eating his cheese on the moon and when he spots Wallace eating cheese with cracker, he's determined to give him a lesson by applying a truncheon to his head. Can Wallace and Gromit escape the Cooker's wrath and get back to the rocket safely?
This is a superb short animated film with Wallace and Gromit. I'm very fond of this film and despite it losing out to an award that was given to `Creature Comforts', it's a humble beginning to a classic duo of a man and his dog.
`THE WRONG TROUSERS'
This is my favourite `Wallace and Gromit' film. `The Wrong Trousers' is a brilliant story made in 1993 and I love every minute of it from start to finish as it contains so much. It's pretty frightening, but I love the train set in this short story. This story was written by Nick Park and Bob Baker (who created K-9) in 'Doctor Who'.
It's Gromit's birthday today, which sends a buzz making me think it's my birthday in May whenever I watch this. Gromit receives a card from Wallace that has a musical tone, much to Gromit's annoyance. Wallace comes down to breakfast. I love it when Wallace comes down with Gromit pulling the lever and the bed rises up to send Wallace down through the drop to end up in the dining room. It's like one of those `Thunderbirds Are Go!' moments where Nick Park was inspired. It gives Wallace a touch of pain on entry, but it's a sequence I remember fondly and is one of my favourites. He gets dressed by mechanics putting on his clothes which was very funny to watch. Wallace gets a slice of toast splattered with jam that's comes speedily to him from Gromit as one of his inventions. Wallace really enjoys the toast he's given. `Cracking toast, Gromit!'
Wallace discovers he's got a lot of bills in the post and realises he's short of cash to pay them which makes him worried. But he's not going to let that spoil Gromit's birthday as he gives him his presents, provided by the 905 which is Wallace's new train set sprawled out about the house on train tracks. I really love that train set whenever it comes up in the story, since I love trains anyway from my `Thomas the Tank Engine' days when I was little. Wallace gives Gromit his presents which are a dog collar and something more interesting that's in the living room.
Gromit comes across some walking mechanical legs in wrapping paper which stalks towards him menacingly. I found that really scary when I saw it thinking they were coming for me as well as Gromit. But it turns out to be the second part of Gromit's present as Wallace unwraps the paper and presents it to him. The mechanical legs are `Techno Trousers. Ex-NASA. Fantastic for walkies' according to Wallace. Wallace gives this present to Gromit for the Trousers to do the walkies for him by attaching the dog collar. Wallace programs the Trousers pressing the control buttons and the Trousers are on their way, dragging Gromit with him. Gromit's not happy with this present that Wallace has given him, and would rather play in the park than be given walks by this mechanical contrivance.
Wallace advertises a `room to let' for a lodger at their house to cover up paying the bills. The lodger soon shows up and it turns out to be a penguin. This definitely startles Gromit when he sees him. The penguin happens to be Feathers McGraw and he takes over the house from Gromit who pushes him out of his comfy bedroom and wins favour with Wallace in getting the paper. This gets Gromit annoyed who can't sleep at night with Feathers playing the radio loudly and is forced and gets locked out in a kennel outside. I felt for Gromit whenever he's crying or upset and he can't take it anymore and decides to leave Wallace forever. This provides Feathers an opportunity to carry out his plan as he turns out to be a criminal and is intent on using the Techno Trousers for his own devices.
The next morning Wallace gets stuck in the Techno Trousers upon entry from bedroom into dining room. He now calls them the `wrong trousers' since the controls are missing and they seem to be walking against his will under the control of Feathers McGraw. Then all this walking in `wrong trousers' tires Wallace out, Feathers makes a start on conducting his crime unaware he's being watched by Gromit who suspects his plans. Feathers eventually uses Wallace again in `wrong trousers', now wearing a rubber glove on his head making him look like a chicken. He uses Wallace asleep in `trousers' to commit a robbery and steal a diamond from a museum which he does wearing a helmet on his head containing a remote-controlled claw. He'll have to avoid the laser beams in order to do this.
My favourite sequence in `The Wrong Trousers' is where Gromit and Wallace with Feathers the penguin on that train set in a fast chase sequence towards the end. I love it when Wallace is at the end of the train set and Gromit's way ahead trying to grab Feathers. Gromit manages to grab Feather's revolver and get himself out of the Trousers eventually. I found it funny when Gromit and Wallace are running out of train track and Gromit uses the spare track in the box very quickly to avoid getting off the track and to catch up with Feathers. I wonder if Gromit and Wallace can reach Feathers in time before he gets away.
This is a brilliant `Wallace and Gromit' film that is definitely my favourite. I have such fond memories of watching `The Wrong Trousers' when I was little and it's right it managed to get an award becoming the success it is today. `All's well that ends well, that's why I say.'
`A CLOSE SHAVE'
This is another cracking good `Wallace and Gromit' made in 1995 that I enjoyed watching. Again another frightening story with suspense and thrills, but it contains a wealth of new characters and lots of sheep going `Baa!' I love Wallace and Gromit when they're driving out in their motorbike and sidecar for window washing. Again this story was co-written by Nick Park and Bob Baker.
In this film, we have that same sequence where Wallace comes down for breakfast through drop in bedroom to reach dining room. He fancies porridge and gets a bowlful from the new Porridge Gun he's invented. But the Porridge Gun ends up going out of control and splats over Wallace's face until Gromit switches it off. I found that sequence very funny when I watched it. Something been eating through the wires. What could have done that? Mice perhaps? Somebody's certain eating through the cheese and the newspaper without Wallace and Gromit realising.
The two are soon called to do a window cleaning job at a wool shop run by Wendolene Ransbottom (voiced by Anne Reid). I love that `Thunderbirds' sequence where Wallace slides down to reach the motorbike and sidecar with Gromit and they're off out of the garage to the wool shop. They arrive and get to work on cleaning the windows. Wallace meets Wendolene and falls in love for the first time. I love this set up where Wallace falls in love and gets to know Wendolene in the shop, learning she's daughter of an inventor. Wallace admires that since he's an inventor too. Wendolene also has a dog named Preston, who seems pretty serious, sinister and menacing whenever Wallace and Gromit meet him.
Wallace and Gromit return to their house to find the place ravaged. They discover a sheep who managed to get into their house during last night. This is Shaun the Sheep who we meet for the first time, named by Wallace and Gromit. Shaun is a sheep full of mischief and seems to love eating anything - food, fabric, plant or paper. Wallace and Gromit give Shaun a wash where they put him in the Knit-O-Matic, Wallace's new invention. They give him a wash first, which soon ends up in a `light shave' when the machine goes faulty which I found pretty tense and scary when watching it as I worried about the sheep. Fortunately Shaun manages to stand on its four feet alive and gets a pullover knitted for him from the machine. Wallace and Gromit keep him as their new pet, not realising that Preston the dog is intent on capturing him and steals the blueprints for the Knit-O-Matic.
When Wallace and Gromit do some more cleaning on the clock tower outside Wendolene's shop - I laughed when Gromit got splashed with Daz shampoo from Wallace's Porridge Gun - Wallace pays Wendolene another visit. Wallace however discovers something odd and suspicious regarding Shaun the Sheep, which ends up him letting out a flock of sheep from a lorry and getting kidnapped by Preston who drives him away in the lorry. Gromit gets framed for sheep rustling and is sentenced for life in prison, much to Wallace's dismay and upset as well as Shaun and all the other sheep who end up living in Wallace's house.
Gromit is alone in prison despite being given dog food and a jigsaw present, making him upset and lost on hope bursting into tears. That is until he gets a message on the jigsaw when he's finished it. He's soon rescued by Wallace, Shaun and the whole of flock of sheep when he escapes from prison. Soon Gromit is on the run, now a fugitive and is hunted down like...well, a dog. Both he and Wallace discover that Wendolene and Preston are the ones doing the sheep rustling when they round up the sheep into their lorry. Preston soon turns on his owner when she tells him off and locks up Wendolene in the lorry with the flock. She demands to be let out and protests `being turned into dog meat'!
Wallace and Gromit are soon in on the chase to rescue Wendolene from Preston as well as for all the sheep including Shaun. They ride on their motorbike and sidecar which soon gets spilt apart. I love it when Gromit's sidecar turns into an airplane when he's falling down a deep drop and flies off to meet up with Wallace on motorbike. Wallace on motorbike tries to rescue Wendolene and sheep whilst Gromit shoots at Preston in front of lorry with Porridge Gun splattering all the windows. Can Wallace and Gromit save the day, foil Preston's evil and unveil his true nature?
`A Close Shave' is great by comparison and certainly contains lots more action and adventure than ever before. It deserves the award it got, as it's one of the finest `Wallace and Gromit' films ever made.
On the original DVD, there's a special documentary called `The Amazing World of Wallace and Gromit'. It's narrated by Andrew Sachs and it focuses on the history of `Wallace and Gromit' covering all three short films which I enjoyed. There's also a photo gallery and some Christmas Idents that were shown on BBC2 for the `Wallace and Gromit' repeats back in the 90s which I enjoyed.
These three short films of `Wallace and Gromit' are true classics and treasures. I have fond memories watching these when I was little and still enjoy watching them to do this day. I love every minute of these films from start to finish, including Julian Nott's theme music for 'Wallace and Gromit'. Peter Sallis who provides the voice for Wallace shines through and I love every minute of Gromit's facial expressions. They're great to enjoy and are good to watch over a cup of tea and some cheese and crackers. If you're watching these for the first time with your children, you won't be disappointed. So long, and `don't forget the crackers!'
Find out what happens to Wallace and Gromit in their own movie called 'Wallace and Gromit - The Curse Of The Were Rabbit'.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Mar 2014 15:50:38 GMT
I appreciate the effort gone into writting this Tim, While I'm not quite up on Wallace & Gromit this review was a pleasure to read & kept my interest throughout.
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Mar 2014 08:00:40 GMT
Last edited by the author on 27 Mar 2014 08:06:16 GMT
Tim Bradley says:
Glad you enjoyed this review, timelord. These animated shorts mean something special to me and I fond memories watching them when I was a kid.
Bob Baker (who created K-9) wrote 'The Wrong Trousers' and 'A Close Shave' with Nick Park apparently. I've added this detail to my reviews for both these stories.
Thanks for your comments. Tim.
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