We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Wallace & Gromit first saw light in “A Grand Day Out” (1989),a film in which Wallace is driven by his obsession for cheese to lead them on a foolhardy trip to the moon. That film was nominated for anOscar. Their next adventure, “The Wrong Trousers” (1993), was a30-minute feature in which the greedy Wallace rents out Gromit's room to a penguin who is planning a robbery. Wallace, who is attempting to automate all aspects of his life, has meanwhile invented a pair of robotic trousers that complicate matters wonderfully.
“The Wrong Trousers” won the Academy Award for animation in1995, and a year later Park was back to the Oscar podium to accept another Oscar for his latest film, “A Close Shave.” It is this film, along with a selection of other animated work by Park, his associates and friends, that makes up “Wallace & Gromit: The Best of Aardman Animations,” which runs through July 7 at the Music Box.
As “A Close Shave” opens, Wallace & Gromit have gone into the window-washing business, and encountered the formidable shopwoman Wendolene Ramsbottom, who runs a wool shop and has a robot “cyberdog” named Preston. Gromit instantly spots Preston as a phony, but Wallace isslow on the uptake, and soon they stumble over Preston's plot to employ an automatic sheep-shearing machine that clips the sheep and turns the wool into little pullovers, all in one operation. Nice enough, unless you're a sheep. Wallace & Gromit attempt to stop the evil experiment(which has meanwhile morphed into a Mutton-O-Matic machine), and the movie ends as all their adventures do, with a breakneck chase scene.
At 30 minutes, “A Close Shave” is the centerpiece of the Aardman program. The selection also includes “Wat's Pig,” by Peter Lord, a story in which twins are separated at birth, one to grow up as a king, the other as a pauper. When enemy troops storm the castle (inscenes inspired by Eisenstein's “Alexander Nevsky”), the king substitutes the pauper for himself, with ironic results.