A Year in Shorts Day 30: "A Grand Day Out"
When it comes to the Academy Awards, few duos have quite such a successful track record as Wallace and Gromit. With five theatrical releases to speak of (four shorts and one animated feature), the two have racked up five Academy Award nominations, winning three of them! Heck, they’re so successful that even their spin-offs got an Oscar nomination. And it all started in 1989 with A Grand Day Out.
Like all Wallace and Gromit productions, A Grand Day Out was directed by Nick Park and produced by Aardman Animations. Much like Oktopodi, the short started life as a school project and took over six years to complete. It follows absent-minded inventor Wallace (Peter Sallis) and his dog Gromit as they decided to go to the moon to pick up some cheese.
As you do.
A Grand Day Out is a very funny, very charming and very British short, as anyone familiar with Wallace and Gromit should expect. To go into too much detail on the story would be to spoil the fun, and we wouldn't want that. Suffice it to say, A Grand Day Out is a good time, filled with a lot of inventive visual humor, technically marvelous animation and a delightful voice performance from Peter Sallis.
Is it the best Wallace and Gromit short? No, but that's to be expected. The story meanders a bit (apparently as a result of Park having to cut out a great deal of his script), and the animation (not surprisingly) isn't as polished as the shorts would be in later years. But really, none of that is that big of a deal. It's still fun to watch, and the simple fact of the matter is that stop motion gets a lot of leeway in my book. Stop motion animation has a certain charm to it, so even when it's not perfect, it's still pretty great.
While A Grand Day Out was undeniably a huge success, it didn't win the Oscar that year. Instead, Best Animated Short went to Creature Comforts which was... also directed by Nick Park and released by Aardman Animations. Man, even when Wallace and Gromit lose, they win!
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