DVDs for 9/29/09 – New Wallace & Gromit, old Tinto Brass and The Wizard of Oz on the Blu-ray Way

The cheese loving inventor and energetically eccentric entrepreneur Wallace and his silent but astute canine companion Gromit have become one of the most popular comedy duos in the movies after only three animated shorts (two of which won Oscars) and one feature film, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Not bad for a couple of plasticine creations brought to life through the painstaking process (and increasingly neglected art) of stop-motion animation. A Matter of Loaf and Death (Lionsgate) is their first screen appearance in four years and only their fifth film longer than three minutes since their debut twenty years ago, which makes it all the more exciting for fans young and old. Creator Nick Park is back at the helm for this “bread-based murder mystery,” which casts the pals and partners as bakers with a delivery business based out of an urban windmill that powers yet another magnificent collection of mechanical devices and Rube Goldberg contraptions. While Wallace falls in love with a former bakery pin-up girl, someone is killing the bakers around town and Gromit has a pretty good idea who… not that grinning goof Wallace will pay any attention to him in his starry-eyed infatuation.

Wallace and Gromit earn their bread and butter
Wallace and Gromit earn their bread and butter

It’s another half hour comic classic, with marvelously intricate bits of comic choreography and visual gags with the invention of Charlie Chaplin shorts and Bug Bunny cartoons, all rooted in the comfortable character of the moldable clay heroes. Fans of the series will be delighted. The DVD features the twenty-minute “How They Donut: The Making of a Matter of Loaf and Death” (it’s always a treat to see the models and the animators bring them to life) and a bonus “Shaun the Sheep” short, and it debuts in Blu-ray on a special edition disc featuring the Blu-ray debut of the previous three Wallace and Gromit shorts, A Grand Day Out (1989), The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1998), plus making-of featurettes for each short and all ten Wallace and Gromit: Cracking Contraptions of adventures in inventing (each under three minutes).

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