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Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death

I have been a fan of Wallace and Gromit for years, so I was a little bit surprised to learn that I had completely missed hearing about the latest Wallace and Gromit short, “A Matter of Loaf and Death”.  According to my sister-in-law in England, it was part of last year’s Christmas TV programming over there.  It was released on DVD here in the states on September 22, 2009.  Fortunately my husband was able to nab a copy from the library, and we introduced our little boy to the charming Wallace and Gromit last night after dinner.

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For dedicated Wallace and Gromit fans, “A Matter of Loaf and Death” will seem heartwarmingly familiar.  Wallace and Gromit haven’t changed much since we last saw them, in the full-length film “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”.  Wallace still has trouble with relationships, with Wendolene and Lady Tottington nowhere to be seen.  And he still hasn’t found his calling in life; this time he and Gromit are dabbling in the baking business.

We open with the familiar scene of Wallace in bed, the ever-loyal Gromit manning the various contraptions and keeping business running smoothly, pausing only to wake Wallace up in a typically ingenious method.  It isn’t long before Wallace finds a new lady friend, and also some serious trouble.  As usual, Gromit must overcome his inability to communicate with the naive Wallace in order to ultimately save the day.

Every Wallace and Gromit film after “A Grand Day Out” has been a crime drama of sorts, and this one is no exception.  Along with that comes some mild violence and subjects that may give some parents of little ones pause.  There is no blood and gore, but some scenes suggest violence and may be scary for some young kids.  At the very beginning of the film we see a dead baker collapse face-first into some bread dough.  The villain character is very mean and somewhat violent.  We also see a brief glimpse of Wallace’s exposed bum.  This comes about due to an accident, and isn’t really distasteful, but some may find it offensive.

As is typical of Wallace and Gromit, this one is as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids.  There are several pop-culture references, and I especially enjoyed the tribute to the original Batman: The Movie.  The attention to detail in the sets and the the stop-motion animation are, as always, fascinating.  My son was completely transfixed for most of the 30 minute run-time, which says a lot considering his age and attention span.

Compared to the other Wallace and Gromit shorts, this one seemed very fast-paced.  A lot happened in a short amount of time, and it seemed like it was over before it began.  Most of the action centers around Wallace and Gromit’s home and I think the lack of scenery change makes the 30 minutes go by more quickly.

Overall I really enjoyed “A Matter of Loaf and Death” and think it is a very worthy addition to the wonderful collection
of Wallace and Gromit films.  If you love Wallace and Gromit, you won’t want to miss this latest installment!

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