The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (2012) – 6/10 stop-motion animated adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Animation Supervisor: Loyd Price
Senior Animation Supervisor: Jay Grace
Co-Director: Jeff Newitt
Producer: Julie Lockhart
Director, Additional Voices and Producer: Peter Lord
Producer: David Sproxton
Original Book and Screenplay Writer: Gideon Defoe

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (2012)

Desperate to win Pirate of the Year competition, Pirate Captain redoubles his effort to steal as much gold as he can but the key to unrealised treasure is much closer to home.

6/10

I do not understand why pirates are held up as aspirational heroes. This is a film designed for all ages yet promotes stealing, murdering and self-interest. The film’s positive message that friends are worth more than gold, even worth more than ham, is clearly presented but overwhelmed by a finalĂ© that emphasizes the magnitude and awesomeness of Pirate Captain’s law-breaking reputation. He wins by being branded, essentially, an international terrorist; he is labeled as a pirate Osama Bin Laden. Hmm. That said, the film is quite entertaining, has a couple of nice gags and is paced very well. With a bit of luck, all that stealing, murdering and selfishness will go over your child’s head in favour of growing a luxuriant beard. Even if they’re a girl.

This movie contains bad language, violence.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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The Wrong Trousers (1993) – 10/10 stop motion classic comedy action movie review

Cast / crew
Animator, Writer, Characters Creator and Director: Nick Park
Animator: Steve Box
Peter Sallis: Voice of Wallace
Writer: Bob Baker
Writer (Additional Contributions): Brian Sibley
Producer: Christopher Moll

The Wrong Trousers (1993)

Wallace buys Gromit a pair of Techno-Trousers to take him for walkies but their lodger sees them and envisages an entirely different, and more nefarious, usage.

10/10

While this is lightning-in-a-bottle stuff and one of the most brilliant half-hours of film ever created, writer, animator and director Nick Park has shown with his subsequent movies that this funny, imaginative, snappy, charming and warm-hearted adventure wasn’t a fluke. Climaxing with a classic chase sequence which features a moment as good as Bond’s Lotus diving into the water or anything you can name, this is a pleasure from start to finsh and is absolutely, categorically, undeniably a must-watch for everyone.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) – 9/10 stop-motion animated action adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Peter Sallis: Wallis / Hutch
Ralph Fiennes: Victor Quartermaine
Helena Bonham Carter: Lady Campanula Tottington
Peter Kay:
Nicholas Smith:
Liz Smith:
Supervising Animator: Loyd Price
Producer: Claire Jennings
Producer: Carla Shelley
Producer: Peter Lord
Producer: David Sproxton
Producer: Nick Park
Writer (Screenplay): Steve Box
Writer (Screenplay): Nick Park
Writer (Screenplay): Mark Burton
Writer (Screenplay): Bob Baker
Director: Nick Park
Director: Steve Box

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

Wallace and Gromit’s latest job is Anti-Pesto – a service aimed at protecting vegetables from rabbits – and the most important period of the year is coming up: the annual Giant Vegetable Competition at Tottington Hall hosted by the lovely Lady Tottington herself. As the day draws closer, though, a massive wererabbit comes from nowhere and starts wreaking catastrophe among the carrots.

9/10

Idiot Americans flocked to see the average Madagascar in shocking numbers while virtually ignoring this superbly imaginative and distinctive slice of near-genius. The lack of momentum carried around the world and it is likely the film barely made a profit. Ridiculous. This is a warm, witty, charming, endlessly inventive and breathlessly paced movie. It isn’t perfect, though, and definitely loses something in the third act (the music during the action sequence perhaps). Perhaps we were just spoiled with the brilliant climactic chase sequences of The Wrong Trousers (model railway) and A Close Shave (stunt sheep) but the finalĂ© here is definitely less cohesive, brilliant and thought out than what has gone before. However, it does contain the biggest laugh of the show when the plane chase comes to an enforced pause and Quartermaine’s dog Philip gets them going again.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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A Close Shave (1995) – 8/10 stop-motion sheep-rustling romantic comedy action adventure movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Nick Park
Peter Sallis: Voice of Wallace
Anne Reid: Voice of Wendoline
Key Character Animator: Steve Box
Writer: Bob Baker
Producer: Carla Shelley
Producer: Michael Rose

A Close Shave (1995)

Wallace and Gromit become entangled in a fiendish sheep-rustling plot when they are called on to wash the windows of beautiful local shopkeeper Wendoline Ramsbottom.

8/10

It feels so mean giving this wonderful, hilarious, imaginative, technically astonishing film eight stars. Yet there is a lack of emotional involvement (with the romance and Gromit going to prison elements) that was there in The Wrong Trousers. Still, you can look at those linked screenshots and realise that the even the weaker elements are peppered with wonderful ideas and funny gags. It culminates with a completely classic chase climax featuring sheep, a motorcycle, porridge and a terminator. The sequence is absolutely gob-smacking and extraordinarily funny. In summary, then, this is an eight, yes, but a must-watch, all-time classic.

This movie contains momentary and mild comic violence.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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Flushed Away (2006, Computer-Animated Adventure Movie) – 4/10 review

Hugh Jackman: Roddy
Kate Winslet: Rita
Jean Reno: Le Frog
Bill Nighy: Whitey
Andy Serkis: Spike
Shane Richie: Sid
Ian McKellen: The Toad
Director: David Bowers
Director: Sam Fell
Producer: Cecil Kramer
Producer: Peter Lord
Producer: David Sproxton
Writer (Story): Sam Fell
Writer (Story): Peter Lord
Writer (Story): Dick Clement
Writer (Story): Ian La Frenais
Writer (Screenplay): Dick Clement
Writer (Screenplay): Ian La Frenais
Writer (Screenplay): Chris Lloyd
Writer (Screenplay): Joe Keenan
Writer (Screenplay): Will Davies
Head Of Character Animation: Jeff Newitt
Sam Fell: Liam, Prohpet, Ladykiller, Fanseller
David Bowers: Goldfish, Fly, Shocky, Henchfrog #1, Tadpole

Flushed Away (2006)

Roddy St. James, a pampered rodent, finds himself in the London sewer and desperate to get back to his posh Kensington residence.

4/10

Clearly trying too hard to be wacky and charming from the off but instantly and never succeeding. I cannot fathom movies that insist we watch cowardly, self-obsessed, charmless fools ("useless, whiny, stuck-up, pompous big girl’s blouse" according to the script) just so that they can have a character arc. Nor movies that deliberately include a mime under the (criminally mistaken) belief that they are hilarious. Still, this miserable quality of work fits in perfectly with Dreamworks Animation’s contemporary output and I suppose, on the plus side, it doesn’t promote bestiality. One thing it proves beyond all doubt is that Nick Park’s efforts with Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run were more than just iconic design. Much, much more.

This movie contains mild bad language and mild comic violence.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

A Matter of Loaf and Death (2008, TV)

Cast / crew
Director: Nick Park
Peter Sallis: Wallace
Sally Lindsay: Piella Bakewell

A Matter of Loaf and Death (2008)

Now operating successful bakery Top Bun, Wallace is smitten when he runs into the former Bake-o-Lite girl, Piella, but Gromit quickly discovers that she is a serial killer who has already seen off twelve bakers.

7/10

A lot of fun with lots of nice details and puns and movie references but the necessity of screaming through the plot (it doesn’t feel anything like thirty minutes long) means nothing makes a lasting impression. Still, while The Wrong Trousers, especially, and A Close Shave are both rather better, it’s nice to see the BBC making some original dramatic entertainment for their Christmas schedules rather purely stuffing it with the horror of ‘talent’ and ‘celebrity’ shows and it’s a genuine joy to see animators fingerprints in Wallace and Gromit.

This television contains , violence and violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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