Tuesday, October 11, 2005

W&G Whee!

If you haven't seen Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit yet, then stop what you're doing- I mean it, stop right now- go and see it. Best animated film of the year if you ask me. You weren't asking me? Oh, OK, well I'm tellin' ya then. Solid storytelling, great characters (Victor Quartermain is ingenious), cute bunnies and cheese! I won't ruin the story for you, though. Oh, and the Madagascar Penguins short was a fun ride, as well. Very tight and clever short story telling. Nice work there as well. That one might be on a track to an Oscar nomination.

Only two disappointments, but neither of them is with the film. First yesterday morning the Aardman warehouse burned to the ground destroying much of their history and collections of sets, puppets, etc. The actual production facilities were untouched, so that's a good thing. But it's kinda sad to think that the original set for Wallace's kitchen is gone :o( But Nick Park had the right response. He said in light of other recent tragedies around the world where thousands have lost their lives and their entire worldy possessions, losing some old sets and puppets wasn't the biggest thing in the world. Bully for you, Mr. Park for having your head on straight!

Second, the film topped the US theatrical weekend charts, but at only $16.1 mil scored a bit less than the Corpse Bride's opening take. I still like CB a lot, but W&G is a substantially stronger film overall. Hopefully strong word of mouth turns W&G into a bit of a long run hit. Even so I'm sure Aardman and Dreamworks aren't going to fret over it. W&G have such a huge international following that it's very likely that the international till for W&G will be bigger than the US domestic pull.
Some killer animation in W&G that really got me excited were the first few scenes of Laddy Tottington. The animators did a great job of carrying that kinda rich ditzy dame character into the poses and animation. The way she held her hands, the way she kind walked a little tilted and sideways after Victor at times- good stuff! Also look for the scene when Victor wants to box with Wallace. His animation there is hysterical! It's further reinforcement of my belief that it's not the technical execution of details in a scene that makes it great but the very foundational ideas that hit the pose or the gesture in such a clear and recognizable way that shows the true power of animation. Nailing the technical details sure helps, but it cannot hold a candle to great imaginative ideas in pose and timing. Long live great ideas shown out in fantastic poses and sharp timing!

"Look at my wife's brassicas... ravaged in the night." Classic. Go see it. Why are you still reading this blog? Go!!!


Lars van Schagen said...

i'm going to see it wednesday. and hearing you also giving it good ratings is making me wanna go even more...

greetings Lars

Anonymous said...

Saw it over the weekend with my kids. I haven't laughed so hard in a film in a long time!
I like the way they didn't hide all the fingerprints in the clay. Love that human touch, you know? Like a Rodin sculpture.
For awhile, I was wondering if they could keep the plot going for the full 90 minutes (or however long it was), but they put in some nice twists, and great character development.
a friend of mine complained that they re-used a couple of gags from "Close Shave", but they pulled them off better here, so I forgave them that.
Go! Laugh! Now!

- T

Anonymous said...

I thought the part where the bad dog took out his turqoise daisy wallet to aid the further flight of the plane was hilarious! That was so unexpected! Glad to hear you enjoyed the animation Keith. :)

Anonymous said...

watched an interview with nick park and was amazed to find out that they had used a bit of help from CG, he let us stew for a bit, letting us guess. I found out but maybe you dont so i wont tell you. Its simply amazing, I love all their stuff.