Saturday, October 17, 2009

Review - A Matter of Loaf and Death

If you haven't yet heard of or watched Wallace & Gromit, you are truly missing out. I only got turned onto them in the late 90s and even then it wasn't until probably 2002 that I really started following the work of Aardman Animations. If the name or the style seems familiar, you may be remembering their film from 2000 Chicken Run which was a big success and is a lot of fun.


This fall marks the release of the newest short film for the duo, A Matter of Loaf and Death. The plot here is once again over the top and a lot of fun. It seems that Wallace has decided to transition their home into a bread mill and produce and deliver baked goods around the community. Naturally he has awful timing as there is a serial killer on the loose who is murdering bakers.

I love the semi-eccentric/bumbling Wallace and the insightful/unheeded Gromit. Prior to this, they have starred together in a number of short films (~30 minutes each) and one full length movie (Curse of the Were-Rabbit, which is hilarious). There are a number of even shorter segments showcasing some of Wallace's ill-fated inventions.

The pair of characters are wonderful. The hand sculpted animations are very cute and lovable. The writing and direction is smart and witty. I love the pacing and flow of this film. It is so much fun both as a bumbling mystery, a star-crossed romance, and a slapstick comedy.

My only complaint is that during one of the end scenes, we actually see one of Wallace's butt cheeks. In previous films, there have been subtle nuances and innuendos and even lightly veiled nudity (similar to the Austin Powers scene, if you remember that). However, this is the first time that I noted actual "nudity." Admittedly, the kids laughed and it was not explicit or sexual by any means. I just would have preferred the veiled humor rather than actually sculpting a buttock…for the kid's sakes if nothing else.

Still, in terms of complaints, that is fairly light especially when considering how absolutely fabulous the rest of the film was. The story is great. The animation is amazing. The characters, direction, writing, plot, etc is absolutely fabulous. The DVD comes with great bonus material including an episode from another Aardman series, Shaun the Sheep. The kids were laughing their heads off at the slapstick and situational comedy of the sheep's football (soccer) game.

If you have kids, I can definitely recommend the Wallace & Gromit franchise and this latest installment. If you don't have kids but can appreciate great youthful humor, British humor, or wonderful animation, you ought to check it out.


4.5 stars (out of 5)

And in case my review wasn't enough to intrigue you, or if it just whet your whistle for more, here's the trailer. Enjoy. :)