After A Grand Day Out last week we thought we should cover this brilliant 1993 short film from Nick Park and Aardman Animations.
The Wrong Trousers
Right, it goes without saying this 30 minute stop-motion animation film is just goddamn brilliant. Only A Close Shave (1995) could top it.
As a technical achievement this is still something else. The creativity with the clay characters is quite astounding, really.
Although a short film (due to the sheer amount of time it takes to create such a project), it packs a lot in.
At the start, we get to see a bit about the duo’s early morning routine.
We find Wallace (an eccentric English inventor—voiced by Peter Sallis) in a spot of debt due to his wildly out of control inventing habits.
He rents out his spare room to help up his funds—a Machiavellian penguin turns up and becomes besties with Wallace.
However, Gromit isn’t so keen and is actively forced from the house.
The penguin’s arrival coincides with Wallace’s invention of some suction trousers (or pants, if you’re from North America).
And the aquatic flightless bird realises he can use the trousers to make a daring diamond heist. Which he duly plots out in meticulous fashion.
As far as we can remember, this is the only film we’ve watched where a penguin is the antagonist. We’re happy to be corrected, if you can think of any others.
Anyway, the heist works pretty well. And film buffs are treated to a really quite exceptional bit of stop-motion animation.
With the diamond in his possession, it looks like the dastardly penguin has won!
But Gromit returns in time to save the day. He confronts the penguin and this triggers off a series of events in that there Yorkshire.
And so we have the film’s famous closing segment, a highly entertaining chase sequence through Wallace’s kitchen.
At the time, this was arguably the greatest moment in stop-motion animation history. Really landmark stuff—pushing the boundaries of what was possible.
Nick Park and Aardman Animations have pushed things far beyond even The Wrong Trousers, with feature-length Wallace and Gromit films.
And we must note the budget for 1993 was pretty impressive—over £600,000. That’s compared to the £11,000 budget for A Grand Day Out.
Well, totally worth the funding. We think the film holds up very well.
It may be twee, sure, but it’s a charming little romp with some genuinely outstanding animation.