Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf And Death - Review
Review by Jack Foley
THOSE talented folks at Aardman Animation – aka Nick Park and company – gave television viewers a real treat at Christmas when their latest offering, Wallace & Gromit – A Matter of Loaf & Death formed a focal point of the BBC’s Christmas Day line-up.
Their first short since 1995’s A Close Shave, the 30-minute Christmas cracker found Wallace (as ever voiced superbly by Peter Sallis) running a successful bakery called Top Bunn and relying on his trusty dog, Gromit, for the bulk of their ingenuity.
With success comes notoriety, however, as the pair become a target for a cereal killer who has already bumped off 12 other bakers in the year.
Far from taking the threat seriously, however, Wallace embarks on a perilous relationship with a new girlfriend, Piella Bakewell (Sally Lindsay) as Gromit looks on with increased suspicion.
Can the good Gromit save his boss from an impromptu flour nap? Or will Piella’s own dog, Fluffles, get in his way?
As ever with an Aardman production, the attention to detail is immense and the numerous references spot-on (everything from Hitchcock to Tarantino is referenced). Indeed, you’ll probably need to view it at least three times before you see and appreciate everything.
The Plasticine protagonists, meanwhile, prove themselves as hardy as ever in dealing with their enemies, especially during the climactic showdown that pits Gromit against Fluffles in another memorable battle of canine wits.
Aardman returned to the shorts format after their ill-fated partnership with DreamWorks Animation was prematurely brought to an end because of perceived box office failures across the Atlantic. Yet this was a collaboration that provided audiences with The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit as well as Flushed Away, two further examples of Aardman brilliance.
Now left to their own devices, however, Aardman and four-time Academy Award winning director Park have provided a thrilling reminder of why they can justifiably be referred to as the UK equivalent of Pixar. Don’t miss it!
Running time: 30mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: March 23, 2009