The Wrong Trousers

Wallace and Gromit in The Wrong Trousers (1993)

“Well this is a fine how’d-ye-do, isn’t it Gromit?”

Today’s movie features the iconic British animated duo, Wallace and Gromit, in the Academy Award winning short The Wrong Trousers. The movie really is a lovely and entertaining way to spend 30 minutes, but compared to the two other Oscar-winning shorts I’ve reviewed, this film hardly seems worthy of being in the same club.

This isn’t to say that the film isn’t a remarkable piece of cinema in its own right. Director Nick Park truly elevates stop-motion clay animation to heights I haven’t seen before, and his characters are amazingly expressive. There’s on big action sequence late in the film that is particularly impressive when I pause to consider that it was painstakingly hand-crafted using the process that typically produces one second of finished footage per day.

Of course, about two years after this short was released, Pixar’s Toy Story would come along and totally and irrevocably disrupt the apple cart, but at the time I can see why the film would get extra credit for being innovative.

As for the story, it’s a nice little family friendly tale about an eccentric inventor Wallace (Peter Sallis), his silent but bright and expressive dog Gromit, a pair of high-tech self-propelled trousers, and a nefarious penguin master-thief. The story is entertaining, but I thought it was a bit too much of a kids story, that lacked the cross-generational appeal that’s typically found in acclaimed animation.

Still there are some fun moments, and the animation is really quite impressive when you pause to think about it. So, while I think the film is probably not quite deserving of its revered place in the cinematic canon, it is certainly worth seeing.

[Wallace & Gromit in The Wrong Trousers (1993) – Directed by Nick Park – Unrated]

OM|ED Rating: Worth SeeingWinter Shorts series