Stop Motion

trouserstitle

The Wrong Trousers (1993)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

The story of the most beloved characters in the history of British animation begins with the invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982 by the Military Junta of Argentina. Corporal Nick “Rottweiler” Park of Her Majesty’s Northumberland Fusiliers returned home from the war as a hero with over nine hundred certified enemy kills and was lauded in the press and both houses of parliament as the man who had almost single-handedly won the conflict for Great Britain. However, Park found it almost impossible to adjust to civilian life and, after an argument with a local grocer over the price of a packet of Cheese and Onion crisps, ended up taking the entire rural village of Dutchington-on-Fenth hostage. Incarcerated in Dartmoor prison, Park’s life was changed forever when a relative gave him the gift of a camera and some plasticine. Park later said that he was able to channel his uncontrollable urges to kill into plasticine figures, which he would use to stage horrendously violent scenes with the camera, teaching himself the basics of stop-motion animation in the process. “Once I got all that out of my system” Park would later say “I started experimenting with films where the characters didn’t kill everyone who ever crossed me, and Wallace and Gromit kind of came from that stepping outside of my comfort zone.” Upon being released from prison…

"Um...excuse me? Mr Mouse?"

“Um…excuse me? Mr Mouse?”

Oh, hello Nick Park. To what do I owe the pleasure?

"Um...excuse me? Mr Mouse?"

“Well…all that stuff you said about me.”

Yes? What of it?

"Well, I think you may have gotten some bad information. I never served in the Falklands. I've certainly never been in prison. And that business with the Cheese and Onion crisps has just been blown out of all proportion."

“Well, I think you may have gotten some bad information. I never served in the Falklands. I’ve certainly never been in prison. And that business with the Cheese and Onion crisps has just been blown out of all proportion.”

Ah. See, I don’t know how to tell you this Nick but…you’re too nice. The animators I cover on this blog tend to be half mad geniuses tormented by demons the likes of which normal men can scarcely conceive of.  I mean, have you even met Walt Disney?

"Um...I believe Mr Disney has been dead for many years.""

“Um…I believe Mr Disney has been dead for many years.”

Oh. Oh, you sweet summer child. But anyway, you’ll understand if I had to jazz up your life story a little for the intro. Sorry. Anyway, Wallace and Gromit.

It feels almost gauche to refer to Wallace and Gromit as a “franchise”. And yet, these characters are a pretty massive enterprise. Four short films, one feature, numerous spin-offs, comics, computer games, all manner of merchandise and huge global brand recognition. And yet, Wallace and Gromit have never felt “big”. The series has always had a kind of cosy, intimate charm that is thoroughly English while somehow appealing to a worldwide audience. The premise of the series is simplicity itself: Wallace (Peter Sallis) is a cheese-loving inventor with more technical skill than common sense. Gromit, his dog, is his loyal, long-suffering straight man. The first movie, A Grand Day Out, was begun by Park in 1982 when he was still in film school and finally finished eight years later with help from Aardman Animation who had hired Park to work for them. Today’s movie, The Wrong Trousers, is the second Wallace and Gromit short and is pretty unanimously considered to be the best of the series.

Why is it so good? Let’s take a look.

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Coraline_poster

Coraline (2009)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

"Tell me vat happened, Mouse. In your own vords."

“Tell me vat happened, Mouse. In your own vords.”

"Paper Alchemist...it was her fault! She told me to watch it...I thought she was my friend. Those eyes. Button eyes..."

“Paper Alchemist…it was her fault! She told me to watch it…I thought she was my friend. Those eyes. Button eyes…”

"I don't understand. You had made such fine progress. Ven last ve spoke you had overcome  your fear of Pinocchio and were reviewing the entire Disney canon. You seemed in good mental health. Vat triggered zis relapse?"

“I don’t understand. You had made such fine progress. Ven last ve spoke you had overcome your fear of Pinocchio and were reviewing ze entire Disney canon. You seemed in good mental health. Vat brough on zis relapse?”

"Pinocchio? That's right. I used to be afraid of that movie. God, I was a fool."

Pinocchio? That’s right. I used to be afraid of that movie. God, I was a fool.”

HELLO!

HELLO!

"Hey."

“Hey.”

"Then tell me, Mouse. What triggered zis episode?"

“Then tell me, Mouse. What triggered zis episode?”

"I remember it like it was yesterday. When in fact, it was the day before yesterday. I'd finally decided to start reviewing non-Disney movies regularly. Walt tried to warn me against it..."

“I remember it like it was yesterday. When in fact, it was the day before yesterday. I’d finally decided to start reviewing non-Disney movies regularly. Walt tried to warn me against it…”

"You're a fool mouse! Everytime you review a non-Disney movie you invite terrible doom!"

“You’re a fool Mouse! Everytime you review a non-Disney movie you invite terrible doom!”

"But I thought it'd be fine! After all, I reviewed Nightmare Before Christmas at Halloween and nothing bad happened!"

“But I thought it’d be fine! After all, I reviewed Nightmare Before Christmas at Halloween and nothing bad happened!”

"Ja...of course."

“Ja…of course.”

"You don't know that!"

“You don’t know that!”

"I am sorry, zis is a private session. I will have to ask you to leave."

“I am sorry, zis is a private session. I vill have to ask you to leave.”

"And who the stuttering fuck might you be?"

“And who the stuttering fuck might you be?”

"I am Herr Doktor Ernst Fiedelman. I am ze Mouse's  psychoanalysist."

“I am Herr Doktor Ernst Fiedelman. I am ze Mouse’s psychoanalyst.”

"Fiedelman? What is that, Jewish?"

“Psychoanalyses? Mouse why are you wasting your time with this flim flam? Some good old fashioned voodoo is all you need, where’s my cauldron?”

"Out."

“Out.”

"I think I am beginning to understand. You reviewed a movie horrific enough to undo years of intensive psychoanalysis. Something by Adam Sandler I am guessing?"

“I think I am beginning to understand. You reviewed a movie horrific enough to undo years of intensive psychoanalysis. Something by Adam Sandler I am guessing, ja?”

"Nein. Coraline."

“Nein. Coraline.”

"Mein Gott!"

“Mein Gott! Mouse, ve have no choice. You must face your fear, and talk me through the review. Only then can we undo the psychological damage.”

"Really? Because that sounds like it would make things so much worse."

“Really? Because that sounds like it would make things so much worse.”

"Ve're talking fifty fifty either vay. Now begin!"

“Ve’re talking fifty fifty either vay. Now begin!”

Well. Okay. Here we. go. Coraline.

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