by Nick Park
It’s no secret that most stuff made for children is garbage. Real gems, like the Nick Park Wallace and Gromit shorts and films are the exception and I am so thrilled that Van is a huge fan. The contraptions and inventions of the hapless Wallace and his best pal pup Gromit are mesmerizing for a little boy obsessed with machines, pipes and wheels.
The first set of shorts include the noirs A Close Shave and The Wrong Trousers as well as the moon adventure A Grand Day Out. They were followed by the feature Curse of the Wererabbit. The hand sculpted characters are not only charming – what they are able to achieve with the painstaking technique is remarkable.
If the first movies represent the pinnacle art of stop motion claymation, the later short A Matter of Loaf and Death shows that old techniques don’t have to be abandoned for new, that computers, which were used can actually inhance the animation and make for quicker production. I’m hoping that eventually means more Wallace and Gromit some day even though most of the original claymation figures and sets were destroyed in a fire years ago (sob).
Beyond the meticulous designs and techniques, these films are well written and as entertaining for adults as they are for children without being crass or stuffed with pop culture references.
I know I am very lucky that my son has taken such an interest in such a great series. I’d gladly chat about what happens in Curse of the Wererabbit a thousand times than have to sit through one Barney. You can find them on Netflix instant with the exception of Curse of the Wererabbit, available for purchase on iTunes.