Wallet and Grimace

The latest instalment of Wallace and Gromit, A Matter of Loaf and Death, had more viewers this Christmas than the Queen’s Speech (then again, who cares what that outdated old windbag has to say?). But still, it saddens me that the Doctor Who special ranks lower than what has become the biggest symbol of the commercialisation of the holiday.164668

Wallace and Gromit, for those who don’t know, are the principle characters in a series of animated shorts and one movie. Wallace is a cheese-loving Yorkshireman, and Gromit is his dog, a Labrador. I have been with them since I was a kid, thirteen years old and staying up to watch as much of the animation season on late-night TV as I could manage. It was 1989, and one of the shorts shown was A Grand Day Out, the first outing of Wallace and Gromit and one of the greatest animations ever made.

A Grand Day out is the story of an old man, for whom no back story is provided, and his dog, who build a rocket in their basement in order to travel to the moon. Why? Because they love cheese, and everyone knows the moon is made of cheese. When they get there, they encounter a sort of park-keeper robot which wants to learn to ski. Yes, it’s pure nonsense. You cannot predict where the plot will go or what the characters will do, and that’s entirely the point. It skids from normal to weird to dark to wonderful without taking a breath, and the audience accepts it because it’s orchestrated with such charm and style that in this universe, anything can happen and we don’t mind what it is.

Why then, did Nick Park feel the need to depart entirely from that universe and shove his characters into a saccharin world of light and faux suspense? The Wrong Trousers followed in 1993, and expands on the idea of Wallace as madcap inventor, with his entire domestic life handled by ‘wacky’ inventions which go wrong (leading to the worst-written line of dialogue in history “they’re the wrong trousers, Gromit, and they’ve gone wrong!”). The general public seemed to accept this turn of events. I did not. In A Grand Day Out, Wallace and Gromit build a fully-functioning rocket ship, which is precisely what you’d build if you want to visit the Moon. They build it despite being set up as a normal old man and his dog, they build it against expectations. That’s what’s clever about it. The Wrong Trousers is closer in tone to Pee Wee than its own origin, with stupid ‘labour-saving’ devices playing a central part. This is kiddy stuff.

At this point the merchandising (also known as ‘the sweetest cherry’) madness begins. Wallace’s gurning face appears on everything from pajamas to breakfast cereal. I don’t mind that, to be honest, it’s no less than I’d do if I invented a franchiseable-character, and if the fanbase is big enough you might as well exploit…sorry, cater to it because otherwise the counterfeiters will. Plus, who is going to turn down millions in revenue? And as The Simpsons showed, you can merchandise the hell out of something right from the start and not compromise the actual art.

Unfortunately, one novelty umbrella too many seems to have taken its toll on Wallace and Gromit because what attempt at clever writing and novel storyline existed in the first instalment and just about in the second was completely missing by A Close Shave (featuring the hilariously-named Shaun the Sheep). This marked the beginning of the ‘pun title’ phase of W&G, for reasons still unfathomable to me. The titles are not consistent in this regard, with Cracking Contraptions and the movie Curse of the Were-Rabbit following. As W&G’s following grew, so did the need to cater for an increasingly diverse audience. The bigger the fanbase, the broader the appeal needs to be. The broader the appeal needs to be, the more dumbing down there is. Which brings us to A Matter of Loaf and Death. Watched by millions, it opens with the murder of a baker, then cuts to our ‘heroes’ running a bakery, for no reason that I care about. A Grand Day Out always gave me the impression that Wallace was retired, spending his last days happily eating cheese and building rockets. Not so. He’s as sprightly as a teenager and immersed in a small enterprise, the world of bread. Thrilling. Enter the female lead, a chubby ex-model who appears to arouse Wallace to the point of crashing his bread van. I don’t want to see Wallace in a state of erect excitement, thanks. Equally, I don’t want to see Gromit falling in ‘puppy love’ with a freaking poodle with eye makeup. You remember Scrappy Doo? There’s a reason why he was Scooby’s nephew and not his son, and that reason is DOG SEX and kiddy viewers don’t mix.

I can’t say much more about A Matter of Lots of Wealth without spoilers, although suffice to say the plot is so freaking obvious and identical to the last three or four outings that it wouldn’t matter anyway. It seems obvious to me that Wallace and Gromit are money-making machines, formulaic crowd-pleasing ratings-grabbers which take precedent over art or originality. For those of you thinking of watching Loaf and Death, consider A Grand Day Out instead. I promise you’ll be richer for it.

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  1. My closest friend graduated from UT with a degree in English and a minor in French history. I am a dual major in computer science and applied mathematics. When we discuss a piece of art, literature, or any discreet product of a creative process, I often wonder if we read or saw or heard the same thing.

    I bring up the areas of study because I think it reveals something – perhaps not much – of how we approach things. He approaches art as though it were some kind of enigma to be unraveled and only then can it be truly appreciated and understood. I could not care less what the motivation of the creator was, I care only, in a purely selfish way, whether or not I connected with the work. If it is well created, not insulting to my intelligence, and doesn’t bore me to tears, then it is at least a minor success.

    That being said, having not seen this latest Wallace and Gromit, I have no idea what was disappointing about the progression of the series. Taken as individual units, they all seemed like innocuous fun. Neither brilliant, nor drowning in the slime of the lowest common denominator that seems to define a great deal of the television and movie mediums.

  2. I think you’re being a little harsh here.

    I don’t really understand why you’d think that Wallace and Gromit are the “biggest symbol of the commercialization of the holiday”. There didn’t seem to be any mention of any holiday in the short, nor was there any product placement or obvious attempt at advertising Wallace and Gromit merchandise. As I understand it, they made another short film, and the BBC decided to air it on christmas day.

    I understand you don’t like the way the series progressed after its initial outing. Lots of stories change over time. Doctor Who started off as a somewhat educational show about about an alien girl and her dotty grandfather traveling through time with a couple of human teachers.

    Wallace and Gromit might not be your thing, but that doesn’t make it a “formulaic crowd-pleasing ratings-grabbers which take[s] precedent over art or originality”. In the past twenty years there have been four short films, a feature-length movie and a handful of two-minute clips. That’s hardly a media empire.

  3. I agree that W & G are falling in to that crowd pleasing bracket, but bring on the cheer as things are getting pretty grim over here in the UK and many people would rather see Nick Park et al make some money from his art than watch an over-privileged royal who rules by chance of birth.

  4. I have not seen the Wallace & Grommit in question. All I know is that my son looooooves the DVD with 3 shorts. For a while, when he was three, he started to speak with an English accent. Took me weeks to figure out why. “Not without My Handbag” is also one of my favorites by the same guy. Not a W&G, but very interesting.

  5. Sorry Teek, have to disagree here.

    I’ve not seen the newest W&G adventure, but I’ve seen the other shorts as well as the feature-length film, and I have to say that they are fantastic pieces of animation.

    To me, a lot of what we take away from a work such as these is based on the expectations we bring in. It seems odd to me that so much of what you dislike stems from your not wanting Wallace to have been an inventor and from an unfortunate over-commercialization which, though cheap, stems from the fact that people really do connect with and love these characters and their world. I too have a hard time, occasionally, separating the popularity of a thing from the thing itself.

    And I understand somewhat, honestly, because I agree with you about “A Grand Day Out” being the best of the shorts. But my own personal expectations for the works of W&G comes from a different place than yours I think. The earliest Nick Park creations to reach me in the US weren’t W&G, but his anthropomorphic zoo denizens from Creature Comforts, so that’s where most of my childhood nostalgia goes.

    I sort of watch Wallace and Gromit with a view towards animation history as well as an eye for what makes them different than CGI or hand drawn animation. There is great craft in the way Nick Park makes his films… both in the painstaking effort of stop-motion animation, and in the way he tells his stories. His sense of visual storytelling never fails to impress me, and Gromit is really an incredible mime for a piece of plasticine. The way Park & co. get him to convey emotions is remarkable and relies on knowledge of the tradition of great silent film comedians and sound-era physical comedians like Keaton, Chaplin, Tati, and Sellers.

    Also, one important thing to note is that while you and I get older, the target audience for these works remains roughly the same. They fit into that class of nominally-children’s stories which also appeal to adults. And while the first foray certainly captures something very innocent and appealing (a robot that just wants to ski? FANTASTIC!) the rest of the adventures sort of appeal in different ways (an evil, mute penguin who disguises himself as a chicken? FANTASTIC!) And, honestly, no matter what they did it would be hard for them to continue in the manner you seem to expect, with Wallace as an old retired man on a quest for cheese. It seems that things would feel a bit more formulaic if the subsequent films followed the pattern, and I can’t totally get on board with saying that it should have been a one-time only thing if what they captured at first couldn’t be recaptured. I have no problem with people asking for more, nor with Park and Co’s obvious love for the characters, nor with both of those things causing the adventures to grow and change.

    Again, I do understand how you feel. Overcommercialization can ruin anything, and it’s always sad when things we liked as kids depart from whatever it is that we expected them to be, but I don’t see SUCH a huge divide here. And, frankly, I think that the craft and style of the Wallace and Gromit films places them high above most of the competition in that genre/demographic. One of the things that distinguishes, say, Aardman works or Pixar films, from their competitors really is the grasp of visual storytelling each have. Nick Park and the folks at Pixar really, really get it. The others…not so much, most of the time.

    Anyway, sorry to hear that you were disappointed and I’m greatly looking forward to seeing Loaf and Death whenever I can do so here.

  6. The only bad thing about this year’s W&G was that it was only 30min! Pretty much every age group likes them and the commercialisation as far as I can see extends only to a Brand of Cheese, some T-shirts, and amusingly shaped bottles of BubbleBath.

    Besides, if we didn’t have Nick Parks, we’d back to watching nothing but the unfunny pairing of the least funny men in British history: Morecombe & Wise on Xmas day, and I would have to kill myself. Just the first few bars of “Bring me Sunshine” and I want to throw myself under a bus to make it stop.

    I agree DrWho special was poor, but that’s due to the new format, a 90 or 120min format for it would have made it feel less compressed and allowed the characters to develope more fully.

    Overall though I think the BBC did a pretty good job this year, W&G, Pirates of the Carribean, The Royle Family

  7. I’ve enjoyed all of them. Grand Day and Close Shave are my favorites. I also think the non stop sexual innuendo in Curse of the Were Rabbit is pretty damn funny. The closer the adult humor to the little ones heads while it whizzes by the better.

    My new Gromit boxers arrive next week!!

  8. I’m largely with @Expatria here, although The Wrong Trousers is actually, by a narrow margin, my favourite W&G film. In addition, where I live, I simply don’t see W&G merchandise, so the issue of commercialization doesn’t touch me, emotionally.

    In fact, the opinions expressed in the original post are so diametrically opposed to mine that it works as effective advertising for the new film, which I will try to see at the soonest opportunity.

    If you’re expecting the hardcore W&G fans to be as rabid as the Twilight devotees, you may be disappointed. After all (cheap shot alert!), aren’t most of them stoned out of their gourds, anyway?

  9. I saw a matter of Loaf and Death on new years eve, with several adults and children. We all found it hillarious.

    Seems to me you’ve fallen in love with the first installation of a series of whacky and inconsistent adventures and expect all installations to not only be consistent with the hard facts but also your impressions and personal interpretation.

    You applaud the nonsense of A Grand Day Out and criticise the other installment based on how the nonsense is different. You critisise the change from totally whacky and unpredictable, but also how things aren’t the same.

    I also think, as Expatria says, you’re projecting a lot of external things onto this series, and part of it might be the lack of novelty to _you_. The first installment might have seemed utterly novel to you, but Donald Duck went to the moon in a self built ship, on fuel he invented after getting a bump on the head, in 1944, Swedish animated character Junkyard Nick (Skrotnisse) and his friends went to the moon in a junk rocket ship in 1983, and Ronald McDonald went to the moon for cheese in a 1975 TV-ad (according to this guy’s list).

    You’re seeing todays episodes with a whole lot more knowledge of the world and of entertainment, which, _in part_, causes your feeling that they’re less innovative.

    And one more point that I feel the other’s have missed, and I’m totally playing a psychologist here, which I’ve no business of doing. You saw the second show at _17_. Old enough to hate everything, young enough to still hope that the wondrous feelings of childhood can be awakened.

    You were expecting to feel as a 13-year-old, but instead felt as a the 17-year-old you were. And now you’re stuck as that opinionated 17-year-old forever, and I feel sorry for you.


  10. I didn’t grow up with W&G — they moved into my life at about the same time Maria did. But I did grow up with Scooby Doo, so Teek’s comparison does help draw parallels to cartoon that was once brilliant in its madcap way but has been reduced to a soft-serve pabulum since. Kind of like American foreign policy of the last 30 years :)

    I don’t see it in W&G myself, but as Blake said, apart from some extra toys where Curse of the Were Rabbit came out, the merchandising doesn’t make it to the States. Not like The Simpsons or Family Guy or those blow-up dolls for Gossip Gir–… well, never mind those.

    I’ve seen the new one too, and I think you’re right in that it’s weaker than others (although I find A Grand Day Out to be the weakest of all of them, but that’s just me), but I can’t help but view it through a lens that normally looks at the vast wasteland of American TV programming. The last fresh thing on American network TV was Arrested Development. The closest analog to W&G I can think of is Robot Chicken but I may be getting a stop-motion false positive. (And neither of those were really safe for kids. Kid-friendly TV here is enough to make you sob.)

    I sympathize, Teek. But any W&G is a relief over here.

  11. Interesting POV, but I don’t share it.

    Perhaps it has to do with the order in which I saw the W&G shorts. Living in the US, I didn’t see W&G during its initial showing. Rather, I discovered it while watching a PBS special on the animations of Nick Park. I ordered the three video set that included The Wrong Trousers, A Grand Day Out, and A Close Shave. Thus Wallace’s personality was baselined as the bumbling madcap inventor in The Wrong Trousers, and the other shorts and then later the movie seemed consistent to me.

    If I saw A Grand Day Out first followed large interval to the next short then perhaps I would have had a different opinion.

  12. Interesting comments! I think most people have a ‘thing’ that they feel has betrayed its roots. Most people get this way about Phantom Menace and so on, although personally I really enjoy the new movies. I think maybe Indiana Jones and the Assrape of Crystal Healing inspired a similar annoyance in a lot of people – if you hated that then you’re close to how I feel about W&G (except Raiders was always intended to make money, of course).

    W&G has become somewhat of a Christmas tradition in the UK (even Nick Park acknowledges that), the new shorts get their premiere on Christmas Day (although not a new one each year) and the Beeb pay top dollah for the privilege. W&G-related merchandise is everywhere at Christmas, and it’s always worse when it’s a year when there’s a new one.

    I do feel that the jokes are ‘lowest common denominator’, yes. The humour is reduced to strings of puns (I love puns, as the title of this article shows, but there is no denying they’re lazy humour). The plots are now all the same. Crime caper, plot foiled by intelligent dog using wacky inventions.

    I don’t always feel the original is the best, as my Star Wars example shows. The Simpsons is another example. The first series is nice, but hardly the best. It took a few years and investment in great writers like Conan O’Brien to reach its potential, and that’s despite reaching a wider and wider audience every season. W&G is going the other way though, dumbing down in what I can only assume is an effort to garner the biggest ratings on Christmas Day, or sell to the most territories. I don’t know, maybe Nick Park thinks that his latest character design, a penis head with lipstick and Marge Simpson’s stylist, is truly original and inspiring. I’ll be watching my Futurama box set instead of W&G next year though (and I don’t mean the new Futurama, it’s rubbish).

  13. I suppose what this comes down to, just like the dreaded “Twilight” thread from Hell, is that there is no accounting for taste. :-D

    What I may like, Teek may hate, and vice versa. As much as we hate to admit it, some of our favorite forms of entertainment are going to change due to percieved or actual “market conditions.” After all, if no one were going to pay to view/read/listen, few would make their programs, shows, etc. The artist frequently gets lost in the Accounting Department.

    For what it’s worth, since I am also in the US, I take each Wallace and Grommit as it comes, a lighthearted treat that comes not nearly often enough.

  14. @QuestionAuthority: Stop being so reasonable! :D

    You’re quite right of course, and taste depends on perspective. Loads of kids today probably love the new Scooby Doo with actual ghosts, and would be bored by the original series. Heck, there are going to be people who prefer Crystal Skull to Raiders. Trouble is, if you love Raiders and hate Skull, you probably think those people are fools, like they think you are. And so it goes. Ditto Batman. Which is the best Batman movie? What about the comics? Bond? My favourite Bond movie is Casino Royale, but I know people who think that it betrays the movie franchise’s roots (ignoring how close it is to the book, but that’s another thread entirely).

    There’s enough ‘stuff’ in the world for everyone, but I do lament how Wallace has become nothing more than a gurning retard and Gromit’s entire ‘range’ consists of raising his eyebrows to express exasperation (and no other emotion). Then again, I bet people who love the new ones would watch A Grand Day Out and think “hey, this isn’t the W&G I love! Where’s the crime caper? Why are they on the MOON?”.

    I miss the moon :(

  15. @Blake Stacey: I confess, I haven’t been following the Twilight thread. It didn’t occur to me that we had a shitstorm over a negative review already, I had decided a while back that if the new W&G was more of the same pap I’d write this. The degradation of the franchise has been bugging me for years.

    Ooh, I should have posted my Wall-E review! I hated that too :D

  16. I think I saw “The Wrong Trousers” first and “A Grand Day Out” later. My take on things:
    “A Grand Day Out” – good story, animation a bit shaky
    “The Wrong Trousers” – definite improvement in animation, decent story
    “A Close Shave” – story’s a bit weak
    “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” – very odd, seemed to rely on running gags, dumbed-down
    “A Matter of Loaf and Death” – haven’t seen it yet

  17. @tkingdoll: Amen sister regarding Wallllll-EE.

    Nothing like finding the first half of a movie fun and interesting and then getting a schlock Hollywood primary school lesson about how bad, fat, lazy, dirty, shitty and stupid humans are and if we don’t get smart, clean up, wipe our ass and plant a tree we’re DOOOOMMMMED!!!!

  18. To make a very twisted, and almost entirely inaccurate analogy, it’s sort of like the Monty Hall Problem of sequels/series. Let’s take Star Wars. My kids were first introduced to the new trilogy, a series of movies clinically proven to cause cancer in lab rats, but it’s what they know so their opinion of it is quite high. I was raised with the original Holy trilogy. Presented with a different set of information at a different time, changes the value of the series. For me. Or something like that.

    I was introduced to W&G at 16, and introduced to the first three installments all at once. There was no build up of anticipation from one to the next, no experience with any other of Nick Park’s work. So I wasn’t in a place to be disappointed.

    I have only used the word “introduced” four times in this post. Let’s make it a nice five: introduced.

  19. Yeah, context and frame of reference are very important to your perception. I remember, in the early 90s, photoshopping a lizard in a leather jacket and adding the caption “Reptile Without a Cause”. A teen-aged neighbor saw this and assumed it was a play on “Rebel Without a Pause” by Public Enemy. He’d never heard of “Rebel Without a Cause”. I thought this was interesting, since Public Enemy was obviously making a reference to the James Dean movie and here was a prime example of their target audience who completely failed to get it.

    Along similar lines, my kids think of the Flintstones primarily as pitch men for breakfast cereal.

  20. Steve, I wonder if there’s anything that is universally considered ‘bad’? I believe that every film ever made is probably someone’s favourite film, somewhere in the world. Example: the first guy I ever dated told me his favourite movie was Weekend at Bernies. He didn’t get a second date. A friend of my sister puts Mariah Carey’s Glitter at the top of their movie list.

    Someone just said to me that the movie Swept Away is an example of something considered by everyone to be crap. It is now my mission in life to find someone whose favourite film is that one.

    Then again, I love Showgirls. Love it with a passion. What do I know?

  21. In 2006, “Zyzzyx Rd” grossed (in the US) $30 on a budget of $2,000,000. I’ve found no information on how many people sat through the entire movie. IMDB has a ratings scale from 1-10. This movie somehow managed to get over 300 votes, roughly 1/4 of which were 1 and 1/4 of which were 10. The rest were distributed evenly between 2 and 9. So, about half either loved it or hated it.

    It’s never been released on DVD so I’m guessing it must’ve been screened outside of the US at some point. Either that, or every person who saw it that first week voted 25 times.

  22. “It’s like no cheese I’ve ever tasted!”

    I also grew up with W&G, but when it became available to me it was in the 3-VHS boxed set along with The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave. A Grand Day Out was always my favorite, although I can’t say I didn’t enjoy The Wrong Trousers (mostly because of the penguin with the glove on its head who listens to “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” at ridiculous volume levels all the time). I didn’t even make it a quarter of the way through the Were-Rabbit, and have no intentions of watching the newer ones, as I’m scared that it would taint my perception of W&G from A Grand Day Out.

  23. I would try to defend Wall-E, but I fear I am surrounded by a bunch of blinkard Dr. Who fans, so it would be pointless :D

  24. Has anyone else seen Creature Comforts?

    A short about zoo animals.

    I loved it.

    That is the first thing I ever saw from park.

  25. @Teek: Reasonable? Me? Hell, I still have trouble getting used to seeing Roger Moore as James Bond! LOL

    @Steve has a very good point. Sad to say, I have discovered a generation gap in cultural knowledge, unless the younger person happens to be a film addict. Many references go right over their heads or worse, are misunderstood. :-(

    “Plan 9 from Outer Space!” Bwa ha ha ha!

  26. I read this post in the same vein I heard my pals in high school talk about how they liked some band “before they were popular” and “sold out.” (Which selling out didn’t really happen.)

    Or like arty friends of mine now who deliberately keep information about the theater they do out of the hands of the local population and then claim their small crowds are evidence of how edgy they are. (They aren’t.)

    This was a silly post.

  27. I happened to see it. It wasn’t great, but good for a few chuckles.

    I saw Wall-E too, and didn’t really hate it. Although, yeah, the second half has too much actual speaking by fat human descendants.

    It’s what I like about Grommit: he gets the point across without speaking a word. Although Wallace does seem to get increasingly dumber and clumsier.

  28. @Justin: How you read the post is up to you, but dismissing my opinion based on your dislike of what your friends used to say is not hugely helpful to the discussion. I have given lengthy justifications for my opinions (which are that the show has dumbed down because it is a commercial giant, if you care you re-read the post), and at no point said or intended for the original, A Grand Day Out to remain obscure as your rant seems to imply. It annoys the hell out of me that it IS obscure, I want them to be showing that on Christmas Day instead of the one that steals a joke from the first Batman movie frame for frame.

    I don’t mind if you disagree with my assessment of Wallace & Gromit. I would happily hear your counter-arguments about why the latest versions are as good as/better than the original. For some reason you declined to supply those counter-arguments and resorted to calling my opinions ‘silly’ based on your experiences with your friends. That’s not hugely helpful to be honest. If you disagree with my assessment of Loaf and Death, I’d like to hear why. If you disagree with my simply expressing a dislike at the change in a cartoon I like, then you are probably best off avoiding my posts entirely. I may have bad things to say about the new Doctor Who or the next X-Men movie.

  29. You know, I always viewed the changes in Wallace’s visible personality as dead necessary to the W&G films. It may help to bear in mind that like a lot of people who commented before, I saw Grand Day Out, Wrong Trousers, and Close Shave all at once.

    Thing is, Wallace doesn’t have much of a personality in Grand Day Out. He’s an inventive man, who owns an amazing dog and likes cheese, and that’s fine because it’s all you really need to know about him. But when the next movie came around, and it started involving his everyday life more, you MUST learn more about his behavior and personality. It would be difficult to avoid, and would make for a very flat character (metaphorically, anyway).

    Naturally, not everyone can be happy with the direction Park chose to take his life and habits, since we all want different things. I happen to like the way Wallace’s personality filled out, and I’m not entirely sure if there’s a direction he could feasibly have gone to maintain the absolutely non-sequitur nature of Grand Day Out for more than another film or two without becoming fairly boring.

    To be fair to you, though, I haven’t seen the new film, and Curse of the Were-Rabbit wasn’t quite as good as the first three movies. I had thought that was due to the W&G format adapting poorly to longer films, but I could certainly be wrong.

  30. I think I liked this one better than “Curse of the Were rabbit“. Of course, that might just be because it’s shorter, and thus a better format for the kind of jokes and story they tell …

    Also still wondering which joke was stolen frame for frame from the first Batman movie (assuming you don’t mean “Batman begins”, which I’ve yet to see * hangs head in shame *)

  31. @tkingdoll:

    I can only hope you mean the FIRST first Batman movie, as in the Adam West, 1960’s, campy Batman.

    And I can only hope the joke is the one where Batman can’t find a good place to get rid of that bomb.

  32. Go and see Batman Begins!!!

    But no, that’s not the one I mean. The first Batman movie was the 1966 epic starring Adam West.

    The scene that Loaf and Death ‘parodied’ (although I don’t think it meets the criteria for a parody as it’s too obscure, unlike the Ghost and Alien parodies they did) is where Gromit is trying to find somewhere to throw the big bomb. He goes to one window only to see nuns below, runs to another to find ducks. That’s identical to the same scene in Batman, prompting me to wonder why they can’t write their own visual jokes.

    Talking of which, there was so much out of date, un-topical content in Loaf and Death I wondered if I’d fallen into a time warp. I mean, Ghost? Weapons of Mass Destruction? I know these things take a long time to make but sheesh.

  33. Yeah, I had noticed the jokes being a bit dated. But 1966 is going beyond dated. That’s just digging up old stuff and hoping nobody notices …

  34. @tkingdoll:

    I’ll settle for some Mr. Kipling’s. Miss those slices since getting back to the US!

    That or, err, a job that could get me back to the UK? Though I suppose that’s a bit more valuable than a cake :-P

  35. well one can say it makes money and hasn’t declared bankruptcy!

    heck, it’s well known and British and hasn’t been farmed out to Bulgaria or China (yet). Entertainment is one of the biggest money makers for England (with the BBC and movies and such). People don’t think of entertainment as a commodity that employes people.

    As an art form, yeah the first was the best. That’s the one I enjoy watching over and over.

    I’ll bet there is some other animator out there now, making great films and ready for an appreciative audience. That animator is probably doing it on a shoestring, and in many ways, that’s a good thing.

    Sort of like Orson Welles syndrome. “Citizen Kane” would have sucked if it had the self indulgent budgets that he was allowed (briefly) later. Or the whole Star Wars…let’s face it the new ones suffered by TOO much “ohhh let’s do this…” Just because you can make a fight with a thousand ships is no reason you should.

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