Sunday, April 26, 2009

WALLACE & GROMIT: A MATTER OF LOAF AND DEATH (Nick Park, 2008, UK) A madcap recipe of wondrous adventure whose ingredients include cheese, sweet cakes, infatuation, and murder whilst Wallace proves he may be the master…but Gromit the mastermind! Wallace and Gromit have opened a business called Top Bun, a dough to door delivery service full of timely humor and insane machinations baked with humor and sweetness. But a series of gruesome murders plagues the small town as local bakers are turning up dead: seems to be the work of a cereal killer. Creator/Director Nick Park has once again introduced us to the heroic exploits of this dynamic duo, but this time casting a darker shadow upon their fate. Park understands cinematic language as he uses intriguing mise-en-scene and Hitchcock-like camera angles to build suspense and anxiety. Wallace falls in love with Piella and is led astray by his heart, like an untethered balloon floating skywards, and soon to be dashed upon the hard reality of love. But Gromit discovers her dark secret and must save his master from becoming the last unlucky victim to fulfill her Hellish bakers dozen. The sincere and trusting Wallace and the silent but loyal Gromit are well-rounded individuals, each distinct and lifelike expressing their own unique characteristics. The creative stop-motion animation brings this clay to life, utilizing wonderfully intense close-ups to convey emotion (and devotion) through sublime facial expressions. Nick Park also delivers the goods with rollicking action as the narrative is insanely propelled towards its doughy and violent conclusion. Pay close attention for homage to Donny Osmond, ALIENS, TOP GUN, GHOST and of course Powell & Pressburger’s epic. Though Wallace ends up safe and sound Gromit becomes a victim himself…of puppy love. (B+)

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