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DVD Review: Wallace & Gromit – A Matter of Loaf and Death

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Yes, the lovable pair from Aardman Animation is back for an all new adventure — Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death. This time Wallace and Gromit are in the baking business delivering daily baked goods with their "Dough to Door" delivery service.

For those of you new to the wonderful world of Nick Park's creative clay characters, Wallace is a lovable, yet scatter-brained inventor with all sorts of interesting schemes to keep the cupboard full of cheese. And Gromit is Wallace's dog, though he's much more than a simple pet. Gromit is Wallace's partner in all things and most of the time ends up doing all the work. And in A Matter of Loaf and Death, Gromit is once again pulling Wallace's buns out of the fire.

The beauty of the Wallace and Gromit features and shorts is the loving care that goes into every single frame. These characters are animated using traditional stop-motion techniques and clay figures. Sometimes called "claymation," the clay figures are matched against clay props and painted backdrops. Each second of animation takes 24 separate shots and an amazing detail-oriented approach.

A Matter of Loaf and Death starts with the murder of Baker Bob, killed by an unknown assailant with his own rolling pin — the twelfth victim of the killer-at-large. It all goes downhill for Wallace and Gromit after that, literally — the duo save poor Piella Bakewell and her dog Fluffles as gravity and a bike with broken brakes send them hurtling down a hill towards the zoo.

Though Gromit finds clues that make him suspect Miss Bakewell is up to something, he spends most of the rest of the movie trying to convince Wallace. But Wallace and Bakewell start a whirlwind romance that leads to an impressive chase and a couple of broken hearts.

Of the movies so far, I have to admit this one was one of my favorites. There are some hilarious homages to great filmmakers and films scattered throughout. The opening scene and one later in the movie when Gromit discovers the waiting 13 pedestals for bakers' hats in Bakewell's house were both great Hitchcock moments. And when Fluffles saves the day with a yellow forklift and oven mitts, I fell over laughing thinking of the scene with Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in Alien fighting the queen alien. I had to pause the movie until I could stop laughing.

Beyond the audio commentary with director Park and editor David McCormick, the only other real feature is "How They Donut: The Making of A Matter of Loaf and Death". "How They Donut" provides a great look behind the scenes at the process the crew go through to capture just a handful of frames for the film, from constructing the models to setting the stage and verifying each and every detail is just perfect between frames.

Also included is a demo of the Wallace & Gromit Grand Adventure video game (see a review of the game here) and a bonus episode of Shaun the Sheep called "Off the Baa!" (see a review of Shaun the Sheep on DVD here). Both the game and Shaun the Sheep definitely warrant checking out if you're in the mood for more of Wallace & Gromit and their friends!

Once again, Aardman and Nick Park have created a fun adventure to share with Wallace and Gromit fans. Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death provides animation that is great for the whole family. Be sure to check it out at your favorite retailer on September 22, 2009!

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About Fitz

Fitz is a software engineer and writer who lives in Colorado Springs, CO, with his family and pets, trying to survive the chaos!