A shot from A GRAND DAY OUT WITH WALLACE AND GROMIT, directed by Nick Park for Channel 4.

A Grand Day Out with Wallace and Gromit (1989, Nick Park)

A Grand Day Out is about as close to pure magic as a movie can get. It’s this fantastic story, gentle in the right parts, sharp in the right parts, but it’s also this adorable and technically masterful bit of animation. Director Park brings this delightful Britishness to it; from Peter Sallis’s performance to the comedic portrayal of British lifestyle. Sallis’s Wallace is a self-aware caricature. Park’s attention to detail isn’t just to the stop motion animation, it’s also to the story.

But then there’s the subplot about the moon robot who really wants to go to Earth and ski. It’s got a lovely story too; because it’s a gadget, Park is able to do a lot more with it’s physicality. So Day Out goes from being a situation comedy, albeit a fantastical one, to a slapstick comedy, albeit a fantastical one.

Park’s storytelling instincts are key. The way he lets the Wallace and Gromit opening story tapper off while slowly bringing in the robot makes Day Out grand. Park’s enthusiasm for the project never dampens–less gadgets in the second half, but more action–and it translates to the viewer.

The whole production’s excellent, of course, from Julian Nott’s music to Rob Copeland’s editing. A Grand Day Out flows beautifully. Park’s composition, the way he’s able to imply movement through sound, he makes the story excel at every moment of animating pragmatism.

Like I said, pure magic.

3/3Highly Recommended

CREDITS

Written, directed and photographed by Nick Park; edited by Rob Copeland; music by Julian Nott; released by Channel 4.

Starring Peter Sallis (Wallace).


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