Sometimes when you watch something you know from the very first moment that what you're witnessing is brilliant and complex and simple and funny and marvelous and completely unbelievable and totally relatable at the same time. What you're watching is, undeniably, pure genius. From story to dialogue to look and feel, that which is unfolding on the screen before you is wondrous and you never quite want it to end. Released this past week – and to Blu-ray no less – is Wallace & Gromit – The Complete Collection.
Yes, the title may be something of a misnomer; it's not actually the complete collection of every Wallace & Gromit story – it lacks the feature film – but it is the complete collection of film shorts, including the new A Matter of Loaf and Death. It is also, if the above paragraph didn't make it clear, utterly brilliant.
Wallace and Gromit, for those not in the know, are a man and a dog, respectively. The two reside in merry old England and have an affinity for cheese, particularly Wensleydale. Their first short, A Grand Day Out, released in 1989, features the two realizing that they are wholly out of cheese. As they were planning a mini-holiday anyway, rather than going to the supermarket to pick up more cheese, they opt instead to build a rocket and fly to the moon – which, as we all know, is made out of cheese.
For any other man and dog, the process of building a rocket would be a hugely intricate one, requiring time, money, and resources quite possibly beyond one's ability to obtain. For Wallace and Gromit it is all in a day's work, and they are even able to outfit their rocket to feel like their sitting room (if one is going to go to the moon to get some cheese, one might as well do so comfortably). Yes, the moon robot is not entirely enthralled with someone showing up and slicing off bits and pieces of his home, but once he is able to fashion a set of skis in order to slide down the cheesy slopes, he doesn't seem to mind having had some visitors.
Clearly, Wallace and Gromit are not your average characters, and their adventures are not your average adventures. The two, from first stop-motion clay animation frame to last stop-motion clay animation frame, exude more personality than your average animated (or real) character. Wallace, while he is nowhere near as intelligent as Gromit, does have a number of ingenious inventions (though Gromit tends to be the brains behind making them work), and always seems to be looking out for his fellow man (and dog). For his part, Gromit, tends to be both amused and bemused by his companion, and often frustrated that Wallace's lack of intelligence puts the two into precarious situations.