Alright, there’s Bullitt and The French Connection and Ronin and The Bourne Identity. But for my money, the best movie chase scene ever is from Aardman Animations’ The Wrong Trousers. The chase comes right at the end of the 30-minute short and features Wallace and Gromit trying to apprehend a jewel thief. It’s hilarious, exciting, and meticulously crafted. Pay special attention to the editing and sound, particularly in the last 20 seconds. Masterful.
BTW, if you haven’t seen the entire short, it’s free on Amazon Prime right now…it’s probably my favorite short film ever. (Ok, Powers of Ten. But then The Wrong Trousers!)
Aardman’s films and shows (particularly Shaun the Sheep) are some of my favorite things to watch with the kids. Animator Merlin Crossingham shares how the Gromit character is built, from his stainless steel skeleton on up.
In the first film, A Grand Day Out, Nick was going to make Gromit speak and had planned a whole mouth design. The first time he animated Gromit, however, he found that the way the character could communicate using body language and expressive eyebrows was much more powerful than by speaking. So he made a snap decision not to give Gromit a voice, which he’s stuck to. Our good animators are able to let you know instantly what the model is thinking or doing.
Cities, businesses, and artists are producing small batches of paper currency designed to be spent locally. I love the £20 note from Bristol, England (above)…it’s got Wallace’s head on it!
The local currency, though, is intended not as collectible but to encourage trade at the community businesses where they are accepted, rather than chain stores, where money taken in tends to flow out of town and into the coffers of multinational corporations. (Compare it to the farmers’ market: Homegrown lettuce now has a whole new meaning.)
“If you use a local currency, you keep the money local, and that has a ‘lifts all boats’ vibe to it,” said David Wolman, the author of “The End of Money.”
A Matter of Loaf and Death, the Wallace and Gromit short formerly known as Trouble At’ Mill, will be shown on the Beeb in the UK at the end of December.
In this new masterpiece viewers will catch up with Wallace and Gromit who have opened a new bakery — Top Bun — and business is booming, not least because a deadly Cereal Killer is targeting all the bakers in town so competition is drying up. Gromit is worried that they may be the next victims but Wallace couldn’t care — he’s fallen head over heels in love with Piella Bakewell, former star of the Bake-O-Lite bread commercials. So Gromit is left to run things on his own when he’d much rather be getting better acquainted with Piella’s lovely pet poodle Fluffles.
Rumor is that a US showing will soon follow.
Nick Park and Aardman Animations are doing a new Wallace & Gromit film called Trouble At’ Mill (pronounced Trouble At The Mill). Unlike Chicken Run or Were-Rabbit, it’ll be a 30-minute film made for TV, like A Close Shave or The Wrong Trousers.
Wallace and Gromit have a brand new business. The conversion of 62 West Wallaby Street is complete and impressive, the whole house is now a granary with ovens and robotic kneading arms. Huge mixing bowls are all over the place and everything is covered with a layer of flour. On the roof is a ‘Wallace patent-pending’ old-fashioned windmill.
Animated movies have an animal problem and aren’t working as well as they used to at the box office. “There are all these people saying we are going to be the next Pixar. We say, ‘Who is your John Lasseter?’” The box office performance of the Wallace and Gromit movie is unfortunate…I’ve caught it a couple of times on cable and it’s really quite good.
Quick interview with Nick Park about Wallace and Gromit. I’m testing an experimental Salon feature where if you click through to an article from kottke.org, you don’t have to apply for a Day Pass to read it…let’s see if it works.
Update: Didn’t quite work for me…clicking the link took me to Salon’s front page, not to the article. I clicked the back button and tried again and it worked the second time. Anyone else have a problem with it?
Update #2: Other people are having the same problem and Salon is looking into it.