Review: Wallace and Gromit in ‘A Matter of Loaf and Death’ (2008)


Director: Nick Park | 25 minutes | animation, short film | Original voice cast: Peter Sallis, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier, Sarah Laborde

In “Wallace and Gromit in” A Matter of Loaf and Death, “we fall into the middle of the tension: a baker is slapped with his own rolling pin and dies. It turns out there is a serial killer who chooses bakers as a victim. Let that be the new profession of inventor Wallace and his loyal, intelligent dog Gromit … The house of Wallace and Gromit has been converted into a real bakery called “Top Bun”. The two friends have installed all kinds of gadgets to make baking life as easy as possible. Not only does the mixing, kneading and baking take place automatically, there is even an old-fashioned mill on the roof of their house, so that Top Bun can provide the necessary flour themselves. The van is used to deliver the sandwiches. Business is very good.

On one of their delivery rounds, Wallace and Gromit head straight for a cycling lady and dog, who seem to be having trouble with the brakes. Wallace is barely able to save the lady and her poodle Fluffles. He is instantly in love, because the lady turns out to be none other than fashion model Piella Bakewell, who regularly appears prominently in the Bake-O-Lite bread and pastry commercials. The romance between Wallace and Piella soon blossoms, but Gromit is suspicious because he does not trust Piella. Does she know more about the murdered bakers?

In the best animation tradition, “Wallace and Gromit in” A Matter of Loaf and Death “, the fourth short feature by the famous clay-doll duo, looks better than the earlier work. Compared to the first film “A Grand Day Out”, our favorite inventor and the smart dog look much more sophisticated and there is even more attention to detail and background. Story-wise there is no real progress, but rather a few steps back; the viewer understands exactly how it works just as quickly as Gromit. Still, Park manages to put in some Hitchcock-like scenes: the exceptionally beautiful, exciting and atmospheric recording in Piella’s bedroom is one of them. And a “Wallace & Gromit” with a slightly lesser story, is still head and shoulders above the average. With some big nods to other films, visual jokes and characters you have to love, you will irrevocably want to see this film that has been worked on with so much visible love.

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