885. A Matter of Loaf and Death – Nick Park

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SUMMARY: In the midst of a slew of murders in which twelve bakers have been killed, Wallace falls in love with the voluptuous Piella Bakewell. Once again, it is up to Gromit to protect his master from harm.

WHY IT’S HERE: The first new Wallace and Gromit short since 1995’s ‘A Close Shave’, ‘A Matter of Loaf and Death’ also became the fourth of the duo’s shorts to be Oscar nominated (the disappointing feature film ‘The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ had also been nominated for Best Animated Feature three years previously). A huge event in Britain, where Wallace and Gromit were already a festive staple, the Christmas premiere of ‘A Matter of Loaf and Death’ gained the highest Christmas day audience figures in Britain for five years. Although it falls slightly short of its predecessors, ‘A Matter of Loaf and Death’ was immediately embraced as another great short from Nick Park and it improves with subsequent viewings. Although the previous shorts had explored dark themes, ‘A Matter of Loaf and Death’ pushes a little further, opening with an on-screen murder and once again placing the star duo in mortal danger at the hands of the amusingly overbearing Piella Bakewell. Park noted that his experience of working with DreamWorks on ‘The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ had been filled with interferences, with demands to change key details, while his return to the BBC had marked a welcome return to minimal input from those not directly involved in the project, allowing Park to work his magic uninterrupted. Reliably amusing and brilliantly animated with all the usual little touches, it was great to see Wallace and Gromit back in the short form medium in which they most thrive.

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