Review: Wallace & Gromit: A Grand Day Out (1989)


Director: Nick Park | 23 minutes | animation, comedy, family, short film | Original voice cast: Peter Sallis

“A Grand Day Out” was the first encounter with the duo Wallace and Gromit. Director Nick Park worked for a whopping six years on this 23-minute film and it was part of his graduation project. He used the technique of stop motion animation, where every second is divided into 24 separate frames.

Over the years, he has tinkered with the story a lot. For example, Gromit was a cat in the beginning, but because a dog is bigger, it seemed easier to work with in clay. Also, Gromit initially had a voice, which was even recorded and he would do tricks and run around. When they were working on the first scene, Park already realized that it would be difficult to film and he found it more challenging to express Gromit’s character through the facial expressions. And he succeeded very well!

Wallace is a middle-aged single man, so Gromit is his dog and his best friend. Wallace is an inventor and that offers the opportunity to add all kinds of funny gadgets to the story.

In this first adventure of the clay-molded duo, they are in dire need of a vacation. But where should the journey go? After rejecting all kinds of options, they quickly agree, they are going to the moon! After all, they have run out of cheese and after all, everyone knows that the moon is made of cheese. Soon the two build a rocket together and the first step on the moon is taken. They come across a kind of yellow angular R2D2. It turns out that this machine is also very sensitive, because he (she?) Really wants to go to Earth for a skiing holiday. On the other hand, Park shows his resistance to machines, because the robot starts to live its own life and turns against whoever made it come alive (Wallace who put money in the machine). This is a recurring theme in the W&G movies.

The story is simple, but very effective. This is mainly due to the characters that Nick Park has created for his film. Wallace, the silly and clumsy inventor, and Gromit, the super-intelligent and sensitive dog, are two extremes. Furthermore, the film is full of visual jokes, such as the mice in the basement simultaneously putting on sunglasses against the light of the rocket taking off. It is a film that is suitable for both young and old and becomes stronger through repeated viewing, because you keep discovering new things.

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