A huge disappointment, crude and simple compared to Aardman’s earlier, more sophisticated and multilayered work. No satire or subversion, just a bog-standard triumph-of-the-underdog story.
Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach looked at a sweet-and-sour children’s story through a peculiarly skewed eye and said, This can be so much more. And they turned it into something touching and funny, and magically absurd and at the same time pointedly real. They turned it into something genius.
It’s probably very much funnier if you’re already a bit of an Anglophile, if you drink a lot of tea and long to attend a weekend house party in the 1930s at a manor in Sussex where you take the train down from London and someone meets you at a station that’s called a ‘halt’ and you don’t think murder is all that bad as long as the mystery of it is solved by a gentleman who has his manservant dress him for dinner. Cuz the Wallace & Gromit claymation toons have always been very much about both celebrating and sending up the peculiar British character, and you have to recognize it as a bit silly and a bit of an exaggeration that was never really real anyway but still completely love and embrace it nevertheless to really get the warmth and affection with which they — the Wallace & Gromit toons, that is — are offered for your entertainment.
I guess it’s officially tradition now: I can’t narrow the best films of the year down to only 10, so, like Nigel Tufnel’s amp, this one again goes to 11. Film critics and fans alike have been heard to complain that 2000 was an awful year for film, but I’m not sure that that is … more…