Tag Archives: Nick Park

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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Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005, Nick Park and Steve Box)

So how does Nick Park do feature-length? He does really good.

The Wallace and Gromit adventures are always good (is there one that’s less than the rest, I think so, but can’t remember which one), so I wasn’t worried about The Curse of the Were-Rabbit in that way. Maybe I wasn’t worried about Were-Rabbit at all. I suppose, during the endless previews for shitty “family” movies, there was a tingling of possible badness, but it went away during the the opening credits of Were-Rabbit.

Wallace and Gromit are audience proprietary… people show you the Wallace and Gromit movies. When you meet another person who loves them, you sort of nod. There’s no secret handshake, but it’s implied. I suppose that’s the worst worry of Were-Rabbit, that it would somehow fail and Wallace and Gromit would then fail. Nick Park’s done an amazing thing–he’s managed never to disappoint and Park’s got a really varied audience.

I don’t know, necessarily, that I want another Wallace and Gromit feature, though. I want the same methods in making it applied to short films, just so we get more stories. Still, it’s amazing how much Park got away with–he assumes the audience has a real familiarity with the characters, something you probably aren’t supposed to do with films of this nature, something I’m sure DreamWorks had went into a fit about (they also wanted to replace Wallace’s voice).

I don’t really know what else to say about it.

3.5/4★★★½

CREDITS

Directed by Nick Park and Steve Box; written by Box, Park, Mark Burton and Bob Baker; directors of photography, Dave Alex Riddett and Tristan Oliver; edited by David McCormick and Gregory Perler; music by Julian Nott; produced by Claire Jennings, Carla Shelley, Peter Lord, David Sproxton and Park; released by DreamWorks Animation and Aardman Features.

Starring Peter Sallis (Wallace), Ralph Fiennes (Victor Quartermaine), Helena Bonham Carter (Lady Campanula Tottington), Peter Kay (P.C. Mackintosh), Nicholas Smith (the Rev. Clement Hedges) and Liz Smith (Mrs. Mulch).