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HTF REVIEW: Wallace & Gromit in Three Amazing Adventures



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#1 of 32 OFFLINE   Matt Stone

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Posted September 24 2005 - 11:03 AM

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Wallace & Gromit in Three Amazing Adventures
Directed By: Nick Park

Studio: DreamWorks
Year: 2005
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 1 Hr. 30 Mins.
Rating: UR
Audio: 2.0 Dolby Digital (English), 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono (French)
Subtitles: English, Spanish, and French
MSRP: $19.95
Street Date: 20 September, 2005

Review Date: 24 September, 2005
(Ratings are out of five stars)

Summary
From Chicken Run Director/Creator Nick Park comes a collection of Wallace & Gromit shorts. This DVD features A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers, and A Close Shave as well as 10 previously unreleased mini-shorts entitled Cracking Contraptions. The three shorts featured on this DVD were all nominated for Academy Awards, and the later two took home the Oscar.

A Grand Day Out(24:29) was the first film from Park and tells the story of inventor Wallace and his canine sidekick Gromit blasting off in a homemade rocket to see if the moon is really made of cheese.

The Wrong Trousers(31:01) has Wallace and Gromit team up to stop a diamond heist by a diabolical penguin.

A Close Shave (32:02) features the investigation of some sheep rustlers by Wallace and Gromit.

Not unlike the recent CG animated films from Pixar, the Wallace and Gromit shorts (along with the theatrical film Chicken Run) play well to audiences both young and old. The overall level of humor appeals to children, but the in-jokes and subtle character interplay resonate with adults. Wallace & Gromit does tend to opt for underplaying jokes rather than slinging them out a mile a minute like the Pixar films. Another difference is the clay animation used here as opposed to the CGI. I have a soft spot for physical effects, so seeing the stop motion animation is a breath of fresh air. Personally, before watching this DVD, I wasn’t to familiar with Park and Lord’s work. I saw Chicken Run theatrically, and I’ve known of Wallace and Gromit for a long time, but never got around to seeing the shorts. I can now see why their work is so highly appreciated among film fans.

Film Rating: Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

Video
The video quality is less than stunning, but is free from pesky compression artifacts and edge enhancement. It seems to be very accurate to the source, but the color palette is pretty drab. Each short is presented in its original full-frame aspect ratio. If you’re a big fan of the series, you should happy with the video.

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Audio
The audio quality is what you might expect from a low-budget clay-mation short: passable. The soundtrack is mostly made up of homemade sound effects and dialog and obviously isn’t reference material. Sound effects are very accurate, and the score sounds good. There isn’t much dynamic range, but considering the material, I’m happy with the results.

Audio Rating: Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

Extras
Cracking Contraptions(23:48) – This extra features 10 mini-shorts that highlight a few of Wallace’s different inventions. You can watch each individually or all together with the play all feature. The shorts are pretty...well...short, but if you’re a fan of Wallace and Gromit, you’ll have a fun time.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Sneak Preview(2:59) – A sneak preview of the upcoming theatrical Wallace & Gromit feature film.
Cracking Contraptions: Behind the Scenes(7:54) – This feature is fairly short, but dense. It features on-set interviews with Nick Park and the rest of the crew. They touch on not only the Cracking Contraptions shorts, but on the entire history of Wallace & Gromit. Considering how little I knew about the series, this was an interesting look behind the scenes.

Extras Rating: Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

In Closing…
I may not have been too familiar with Wallace & Gromit before I watched this DVD, but I can definitely say that I’m a fan now. The humor is subtle and the use of clay-animation is very charming. As far as I can tell (fans can correct me here), this DVD features all of the major Wallace & Gromit releases thus far. The quality is less of a concern than the content, but it is far from below average. If you’re looking for some old-fashioned cartoon style humor, I suggest picking this one up. It can be found online for less than $15 and is guaranteed to provoke some laughter. On the other hand, if you already own one of the other Wallace & Gromit sets, you may want to just give this a rental to check out the Cracking Contraptions shorts.

Edit: From reading other's comments in this thread, it appears that there are two large omissions on this version of the W&G shorts. First, commentaries on the three shorts from Director Nick Park. Secondly, the original music track has been altered on The Wrong Trousers. Due to rights issues, it appears that DW replaced the original music. I'm not editing my ratings of the DVD, because as someone who hadn't seen the series previously, the omissions did not make a difference to me. That being said, if you're a completest...be warned.

Overall Rating: Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
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#2 of 32 OFFLINE   Mark Walker

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Posted September 24 2005 - 11:39 AM

So the commentary tracks that Park did for the Warner Bros set were not carried over, nor was the truncated documentary made during the making of "The Wrong Trousers."

humph.

Well, at least I have both previous incarnations of the W&G trilogy on DVD. Still easily worth picking up because of the inclusion of the Crackling Contraption shorts, which, btw, were used to train the newer animators before taking on animating W&G for the feature film, and the low MSRP.

Paramount, please release DRAGONSLAYER on Blu-ray

Dragonslayer_1981HTF_zps4e370848.jpg

 

 

Vermithrax Pejorative deserves to be seen in high-def.


#3 of 32 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted September 24 2005 - 03:43 PM

I bought this for Cracking Contraptions, and was keeping my fingers crossed that they'd release the original version of The Wrong Trousers. No such luck. It still has all the pathetic music replacements. Thank God I've got the original dvd of that, but it's a pain having these on different dvds, and it can't be that expensive to get the music rights to do muzak versions of 3 songs, at least one of which should be public domain by now. Posted Image
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#4 of 32 OFFLINE   JohnS

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Posted September 25 2005 - 04:22 AM

Quote:
It still has all the pathetic music replacements


talking about the Happy Birthday tune from the birthday card??

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#5 of 32 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted September 25 2005 - 04:59 AM

talking about the Happy Birthday tune from the birthday card??
That, plus Happy Talk from South Pacific, How Much is that Doggie in the Window, and Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree.
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#6 of 32 ONLINE   DaveF

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Posted September 25 2005 - 08:13 AM

I was excited to read this review, having only seen "The Wrong Trousers" and wanting to see the other W&G episodes. But now hearing about music replacements and missing commentaries makes me uncertain whether this is the DVD to buy. Are the original versions out elsewhere on DVD? Or is this the best W&G collection for now?

#7 of 32 OFFLINE   Matt Stone

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Posted September 25 2005 - 08:31 AM

To comment on my review...obviously with my lack of familiarity, I had no no idea about the music replacement. I'll edit the review to make note of that.
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#8 of 32 OFFLINE   Sten F

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Posted September 25 2005 - 09:13 AM

Quote:
Are the original versions out elsewhere on DVD? Or is this the best W&G collection for now?

Yes, they are still available. I would go for the Warner Bros. version as it has the features missing from the new release.

Moreover, I was fortunate enough to buy Region 2 of "Cracking Contraptions" exclusively released through CDWOW. Therefore, I won´t be double dipping the new release. I´d like to hear the commentaries, though.

Here is a review of Contraptions:

DVDTimes
DVDWeb
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#9 of 32 OFFLINE   Dustin James

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Posted September 25 2005 - 12:27 PM

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#10 of 32 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted September 25 2005 - 01:07 PM

Having just watch the Contraptions, I have to wonder if R1 is suffering music replacements on that as well.

This is pure speculation, but in one of the shorts, Gromit faces off cowboy style with a vacuum cleaner, and during a rather long shot, some very bland generic music plays, and the scene is rather dead. I have no way of knowing, but I can just imagine this originally having some Good, Bad, Ugly music or some such (it would be much funnier that way). Anyone with the R2 release know what music (if any) plays here?
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#11 of 32 OFFLINE   Mark Bendiksen

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Posted September 26 2005 - 12:51 AM


Quote:
That, plus Happy Talk from South Pacific, How Much is that Doggie in the Window, and Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree.
Yikes...all of those songs have been replaced?!? The "Tie a Yellow Ribbon..." bit is perfect and works so well. I guess I'll hold onto my old copy as well. Posted Image


#12 of 32 OFFLINE   Tony Kwong

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Posted September 26 2005 - 01:21 PM

aw crap! music replacement? I was gonna replace/ upgrade LD copy...


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#13 of 32 OFFLINE   DonRoeber

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Posted September 26 2005 - 01:32 PM

I think I'm going to have to tripple dip for the Cracking Contraptions shorts.
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#14 of 32 OFFLINE   Patrick H.

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Posted September 26 2005 - 03:42 PM

Since I missed the prior versions of these, it's nice to finally get them on disc, although it is pretty much a minimal-effort tie-in with the upcoming film. I don't think I've ever seen 'The Wrong Trousers' without the music changes, so those didn't bug me. The missing extras from earlier releases certainly do, though. Also, the shorts are presented out-of-order...'Wrong Trousers' and 'A Close Shave' are reversed in sequence on the disc, although the packaging lists them correctly. A minor quibble, but just another thing that makes me wish a little more effort had gone into the whole package.

#15 of 32 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted September 26 2005 - 03:54 PM

Having heard all this, I'll stick with my CBS/FOX original. Never did get the WB version. While I would love to have the Cracking Contraptions, if they've mucked with the music on those as well, I'll pass.
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#16 of 32 OFFLINE   Sten F

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Posted September 28 2005 - 08:41 AM

There seem to be a contradiction in regards to Cracking Contraptions being anamorphically enhanced or not.

According to Home Theater Forum they are.
Quote:
These shorts are actually anamorphic widescreen as opposed to the three main shorts featured on the DVD.

However, DVDFile states they are not.

Quote:
My only disappointment was that these shorts appear to have been shot in 1.78:1 and could have been presented in anamorphic video; they are not.

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#17 of 32 OFFLINE   Al (alweho)

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Posted September 28 2005 - 08:44 AM

Quote:
However, DVDFile states they are not.
They are most definitely not anamorphic on my copy of the new disc.
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#18 of 32 OFFLINE   Matt Stone

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Posted September 28 2005 - 09:05 AM

Just checked, and they are indeed non-anamorphic. I watched the discs on my computer, and my software identified the shorts as anamorphic. Obviously this was incorrect. I apologize and will correct the review.
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#19 of 32 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted September 29 2005 - 03:03 AM

The original Fox DVD suffered from noticeable edge halo-ing that was not present on the subsequent WB release. Other than that, I've been pretty happy with it.

Regards,
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#20 of 32 OFFLINE   David Stone

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Posted September 29 2005 - 04:24 PM

Does anyone know if either of the two previous DVD releases included the original music on "The Wrong Trousers", or is it only available on laserdisc?

If so, was it the "Wallace And Gromit: Their First Three Adventures" from Fox or the "Incredible Adventures Of Wallace And Gromit" from Warner?

Thanks!
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