A Grand Day Out (1989)

Six is a very good age for a kid to meet Wallace and Gromit. A Grand Day Out is certainly the least of their adventures, but it still brings a smile to anybody’s face, and the little bit of slapstick that we see when our intrepid duo build their rocket had our son laughing out loud.

I saw the second film before this one, and have always been curious about Nick Park’s direction for the characters. The later productions feel more fully formed and confident, but that doesn’t mean that this one is lacking, or that it feels like he’s flexing his muscles. A Grand Day Out would have been a memorable and satisfying bit of whimsy, absolutely deserving of its accolades, if he’d never followed it up with more. It just suffers in comparison with how ridiculous and madcap their other adventures would be.

I like how the central silliness of the odd robot on the moon is never addressed. Who built this policeman – slash – janitor, and why does it require 10p coins to do anything? I love how it communicates with its arms, just as Gromit communicates with his eyebrow. It’s such genius to express all that character through body language when the bodies are so restricted. And of course, all the mice in Wallace’s cellar have sunglasses, which is lovely.

It’s a huge pleasure to reacquaint ourselves with these two. We’ll be watching a few more of their adventures over the next few months.

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