Thursday, 11 February 2010

Nick Park "A Matter of Loaf and Death" (2009)

Academy Award winners already, Wallace and Gromit are British institutions, and their latest, made for television film, A Matter of Loaf and Death, has been nominated for this year’s awards. Indeed every film featuring them has been at least nominated. When A Grand Day Out failed to win the award it was director Nick Park’s other film, Creature Comforts, that deprived the pair of the honour. Therefore their latest adventure has something to live up to. Dog and master are running a bakery company, Top Bun, powered in the Heath Robinson mode we have grown to love. Wallace though is infatuated with Piella Bakewell, star of a series of loaf centred television commercials, and a lady intent on achieving the baker’s dozen, twelve bakery men having recently disappeared in mysterious circumstances. The film is the first outing for our heroes since the glorious The Curse of the Were-Rabbit in 2006. The most watched programme on television in the UK this Christmas, plus the highest audience in playback mode on the corporation’s iPlayer, the new half hour short is a treat though lacking the budget of its predecessors and some of the striking set pieces a more generous funding would have allowed. It also is darker in tone than its predecessors. I saw the film at Christmas and it is unavailable on-line. However there is a 20 minute making of version on YouTube, How They Donut. One of my secret pleasures in life is to listen to Peter Sallis speak and I should be delighted if that were to be after a successful awards ceremony. Those plasticine figures are magical in my eyes but maybe, just maybe, the Oscar will go to a film a little different this year. That suggests to me Logorama. (I have already covered Fabrice O. Joubert’s French Roast, a beautifully crafted comic drama and very real contender if the judges reward subtlety.)


Pavlovich said...

I think this film is the pick of the bunch. I love it as much as any of their previous short films. All the nominations are good however I believe some of the short listed films that missed out could have easily been included in their stead."The Cat Piano", "Sebastian's Voodoo" and "Alma" are strong contenders in my opinion.

Ian Lumsden said...

Here's me being studiously neutral. All three films you mentioned would have been nominated last year.