Discs Are Rated
Wallace & Gromit: The First Three Adventures
review by Zach B.
Directed by Nick Park
Retail Price: $29.98
Features: Four of Nick Park's Early Animations,
Excerpts from "Inside The Wrong Trousers", BBC Christmas
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Frame, Dolby Surround English,
English Captions, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search
Aardman Animations is one of those best known little
studios. They're not so mainstream in America, but they do
have their loyal fans such as myself. Though over the summer
of 2000 they did score a major hit with "Chicken Run" (and
are under contract with Dreamworks for several more films,
including a "Wallace and Gromit" feature length film) and
made them more of a household name in the States, most
people got a glimpse into the brilliant world of Aardman
with these Oscar® winning (well, two of them are. The
other was only nominated but Park won that year anyway)
This "Wallace and Gromit" DVD features all three of the
shorts. All of them are brilliant, and great fun for all
ages alike. For those unfamiliar with Aardman, they
specialize in clay/stop-motion animation. It's an incredible
tedious proccess, since you have to shoot a frame, stop and
adjust the models and whatnot and repeat. Still, the process
is pretty neat, and these short films show how much of a
reward it can be.
The first one which started it all, is the Oscar®
nominated "A Grand Day Out". Being the first of the series,
you'll probably notice that this is sort of a test run, and
that the other two shorts have evolved since this. Meaning,
characters and technical aspects are a little different, but
no make no mistake, this is still an excellent short. We
meet Wallace and Gromit, as well as Wallace's love for
cheese. In spite of this, the two decide to build a rocket
and venture to the moon to get cheese, since, as everyone
knows, the moon is indeed made of cheese. However, a little
trouble comes their way with a skiing robot with some bad
memories... As stated, this short is very enjoyable. It's
fun, it's light, and I'm sure many of you will enjoy it.
Next, is the Oscar® winning (and my personal favortie
of the three, plus the first "Wallace and Gromit" I saw) is
"The Wrong Trousers". Wallace, our nutty cheese loving
inventor, is running a little low on funds and decides to
rent a room in his house. He does get someone, a penguin...
who is really a crinimal mastermind! Gromit is feeling a
little rejected from Wallace, but learns the dangerous truth
about the new lodger. The penguin plans on using Wallace's
Techno-Trousers for a big heist. Not if Gromit can help it!
This is my favorite. Most likely because we meet Gromit and
Wallace a little more, and get to know them. The short film
is whimisical and has some great scenes and moments,
especially the finale, which I thought was amazing.
The final one, also winning an Oscar®, is "A Close
Shave". This one has a more darker edge to it, and does
feature some really nice moments too. It has an interesting
story, and is an excellent "Wallace and Gromit" adventure.
This one has Wallace falling in love with a woolshop owner,
and Gromit becomes framed for kidnapping sheep. However,
Wallace's love's dog is the real crinimal, and is up to no
good with Wallace's latest invention, the "Knit-O-Matic".
All of these are wonderful, and run around a half hour
each. Also for your convience, each short has chapter stops,
which I was a bit surprised to see since the running times
are short. Still, I was happy to have them anyhow. "Wallace
& Gromit: The First Three Adventures" should be in any
animation fans DVD collection.
Presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, all
three of the films look really decent. Colors are a little
murky now and then, as well as the occasional speck of dirt.
Still, detail is really good and the picture is pretty
crisp. The resolution is also wonderful. The transfers are
very nice, and a lot better than I thought they would
The English Dolby Surround is decent. There was a little
background noise now and then, but I didn't find the
surrounds to be so good. Dialogue and music is clear. It's
nothing spectacular, it simply fits. It could have been
better though, and was expecting more with the surrounds. Ah
Surprsingly, Fox has graced us with some nifty features
for us "Wallace and Gromit" fans! (I was expecting a bare
Most notably are the Four Early Animations by Nick
Park. These were stop motion films Nick Park, the
director of the "Wallace and Gromit" shorts. The quality
ranges, but they are old, so they are not the best. They are
quite an interesting watch, and shows he was just as
creative as he is now as when he was a kid, and had
potential to be a filmmaker...
On the more disappointing side, only Excerpts of
"Inside The Wrong Trousers", which go behind the scenes
and how that one was made. It's really cool to see how it
was done, but it would have been nice if the whole hour long
documentary was included. On the subject matter of the
making, it would have been great if Park recorded audio
commentaries for all three, but oh well. Still, the excerpts
are here, and is a nice addition to the package.
Finally, there are BBC Interstitals, basically
short promos saying you're watching BBC (British
Broadcasting Company) or BBC 2. They are all
Wallace and Gromit fans should be really pleased with
this release. The sound is average but the picture is pretty
sharp. The extras are a nice filling, and the price to get
all three of these charming short films on one disc is
excellent. Animation and Aardman fans, pick this disc up!
Also, if you're thinking of getting this disc, act now! Due
to the new BBC and Warner alliance, this disc will be going
out of production.
(4/5 (all three), NOT
included in final score)
(3.5/5, NOT an average)