am 2. August 2015
WALLACE & GROMIT: A MATTER OF LOAF AND DEATH  [20th Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] A Bubbling! Punning! Clockwork Piece of Magnificent!
The “Claymation” animation heroes of `A Grand Day Out,' `The Wrong Trousers,' `A Close Shave' and `The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,' are back in another classic 'who-doughnut' mystery from the Four time Academy Award® winning Director Nick Park.
Cheese-loving inventor Wallace [Peter Sallis] and his long-suffering faithful dog Gromit have this time started a brand new bread baking business entitled the 'Top Bun' bakery in 62 West Wallaby Street that now houses a new bakery, complete with ovens, robotic kneading arms and an old-fashioned rooftop windmill. Business is flourishing at `Top Bun,' but it's not due to Gromit's skills with dough, but somebody has killed 12 other bakers in town. Not that Wallace is worried or oblivious to the danger, but instead he is dough-eyed in love with Piella Bakewell [Sally Lindsay], former star of the Bake-O-Lite bread commercials
While they enjoy being the 'Toast of the Town,' Gromit soon realises his master's life is in jeopardy, and turns sleuth to solve the escalating mystery – before Wallace becomes the next victim of the Cereal Killer's baker's dozen.
FILM FACT: As with the previous Wallace and Gromit films, ‘A Matter of Loaf and Death' was nominated in 2010 for an OSCAR® by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science; however, sadly it did not win. It was also nominated for Best Animated Short. 2009 Annie Awards: Won for best Animated Short Subject. 2009 BAFTA Awards: Won Best Short Animation. 2009 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival: 2nd place for Animated Short Film or Video.
Voice Cast: Peter Sallis, Sally Lindsay, Melissa Collier (Fluffles voice), Sarah Laborde, Geraldine McEwan (uncredited) and Ben Whitehead (uncredited)
Director: Nick Park
Producers: David Sproxton, Miles Bullough, Peter Lord and Steve Pegram
Screenplay: Bob Baker and Nick Park
Composer: Julian Nott
Cinematography: Dave Alex Riddett
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English: 5.1 Dolby TrueHD master Audio and 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 29 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Aardman Animations / 2|Entertain [BBC]
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: Aardman Animations Wallace & Gromit, the lovable “Claymation” duo created by animator Nick Park, are celebrating their 20th Birthday Anniversary, but they haven't seen much small-screen action during the last 15 years. This isn't counting their 2005 big-screen adventure, `The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,' or a handful of invention-themed shorts, entitled ‘Cracking Contraptions,’ but it will prove one point: they're almost too big for Television now. Spin-offs like `Shaun the Sheep' feel perfectly at home on the smaller medium, yet the prospect of new Wallace & Gromit material is something else entirely.
This time, the eccentric Lancashire inventor and his long-suffering canine companion have started their own bakery business: Top Bun. Their house has been fully converted to cover everything bread based, even going as far as having a windmill in the house, which must annoy everyone else living near 62 West Wallaby Street. Wallace currently runs one of the most profitable bakeries in town, but that is mainly because 12 other local bakers have been murdered by a "Cereal killer." Soon, he becomes distracted when he saves the life of Piella Bakewell, former star of the Bake-O-Lite bread adverts. Eventually the two fall in love, although Gromit has his suspicions, partly due to the behaviour of Piella's nervous pet poodle Fluffles.
For me, the best moments in the film are the visual gags. Everything from a shed full of knifes labelled "WMD", to a book called Electronic Surveillance for Dogs by B. A. Lert, to even a forklift truck with oven mittens. ‘A Matter of Loaf and Death’ is absolutely wonderful, as is everything that Wallace and Gromit have been in. However, this film is of great importance to us Brits because it is the first adventure since the feature film. As a result, this is more British. It is slightly cheekier and how else can you do gags about people falling in love with dough rising) and full of gags that only we British would get. My personal favourite moment involved a sign reading "Yorkshire Border – Keep Out!"
Their latest made-for-TV adventure and their first since `A Close Shave'  is `A Matter of Loaf and Death,' and it literally went by in a blur: production began in January 2008 and it aired in time for Christmas. In comparison, their debut adventure `A Grand Day Out' that took roughly six years to complete, since it was practically a one-man show. From the first frame onward, it's easy to see that Loaf and Death is polished, slick, and has been crafted by more than one individual, yet it still retains the personal, hand-crafted atmosphere that has become one of Aardman Animations hallmarks. It's certainly closer in tone to `A Close Shave’ and `Curse of the Were-Rabbit' than the first two outings - but even though the story feels familiar at times, `A Matter of Loaf and Death' is still an exciting and enjoyable ride.
But as you view this brilliant “Claymation” animation, we get loads of other very funny references and inside jokes, from all types’ of genres that you should look out for and they are as follows: The scene of Piella and Wallace “moulding” the dough, which recalls a similar moment (with clay) in the film ‘GHOST.’ Vinyl record called “Puppy Love” by Doggy Osmond, which is heard at end of film. Other albums include “The Hound of Music” and one by a group called “The Beagles.” Gromit reads “Electronic surveillance for Dogs.” Fluffles sleeps in a box marked “Meatabix,” the same brand name of dog food as seen on the box from which Gromit spies on Feathers McGraw in ‘THE WRONG TROUSERS’ and Gromit owns the DVDs for “Bite Club,” “The Bone Identity,” “Pup Fiction,” “Where Beagles Dare” and the “The Dogfather.”
There's a sinister force just below the surface, a damsel in distress, and despite the carnage being carried out, it's treated lightly and paired with plenty of terrific sight gags. Those looking for an entirely new adventure may find themselves slightly disappointed with A Matter of a Loaf and Death, but the disappointment won't last long. As usual, the animation, voice work and music are absolutely top-notch; in fact, the only minor complaint is that it seems to be over a little too quickly. This is, of course, a natural handicap, since Wallace & Gromit are fresh off a feature-length adventure, but it's hardly a deal-breaker. From top to bottom, `A Matter of Loaf and Death' is a charming, fast-paced adventure that Aardman Animations enthusiasts should certainly enjoy this magic animation.
Blu-ray Video Quality – As for the transfer itself? Well the colours are so life like and brilliant and at times you think you are watching a 3D film. The image details are awesome and the black levels are consistent and the digital problems are kept to a minimum. So all in all a totally worthy performance from Aardman Animations and they get a 10 out of 10 from me. But reading reviews in America, I see they have only released this Region A/1 Blu-ray in a cropped version from its original UK 1.78:1 aspect ratio for the release. Why didn't Hit Entertainment in the USA preserve the original ratio format, or given the Americans both aspect ratio options, at the very least, it is simply dumbfounding, especially since the UK is an All Region Blu-Ray release, that got the aspect ratio right.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The All Region release has a fully-fledged 5.1 Surround mix. Dialogue is crisp and clear and the music rarely fights for attention. Dialogue is crisp and clear and the music rarely fights for attention, but it's obvious that the original version of this film sounded much more ambitious. Optional English captions, which are advertised as subtitles on the menu, are also included during the main feature only.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary with Director Nick Park and Editor David McCormick: Who do a really great job of keeping things lively during this short session and Nick Park and David McCormick mix in a standard amount of behind-the-scenes trivia, but they also point out a few continuity errors along the way. Overall, it's a totally recommended listen for fans of Wallace & Gromit of all ages.
Special Feature: The Making of How They Donut: The Making of A Matter of Loaf and Death  [1080p] [20:19] The previously-mentioned behind-the-scenes documentary. Featuring participation from members of the Aardman creative team, there's plenty of great info and visuals on display here. As a fan of animation and sculpture, it's always nice to peek behind the curtain.
Special Feature: Picture Gallery  [1080p] With this Slide Show you get roughly 15 different awesome images from different parts of the film and if you want to, you can use the pause button to study in detail each image. While this Slide Show is running, you get the music from the film in the background.
Special Feature: Video Game Demo of ‘Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures’  [DVD-ROM activities] This is a very talky demo and is a bit clunky and more confusing than fun, but maybe younger audiences may find it more engaging.
Special Feature: When Wallace Met Harvey  [1080p] It is an in-depth documentary about how to create a Wallace & Gromit Advertising Campaign, to launch the new Harvey Nichols store in Bristol in Partnership with Aardman Animations. You get to see behind-the-scene on how the Aardman Team create the actual animation advertising campaign, especially with the famous “Claymation” animation characters from the Wallace & Gromit film.
Trailers [1080p] Timmy Time and Shaun The Sheep Episode "Off the Baa!"
Finally, it's been almost 15 years since Wallace and Gromit last starred in a small-screen adventure, but `A Matter of Loaf and Death' shows that Aardman Animations hasn't lost a step. Our story's suspenseful twists and turns are peppered with surprises, slapstick and sight gags, though many story elements are nearly identical to `A Close Shave' and `Curse of the Were-Rabbit.' All things considered, though, there's more than enough great material here to consider `A Matter of Loaf and Death' a worthy entry into the Wallace & Gromit Collection.' But one thing that really bugs me is, why can't they release `The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit' on a Blu-ray disc, instead of the inferior DVD format? So come on you people at Aardman Animations, get your act together and please don't delay in letting us massive fans of Wallace & Gromit have more of this stunning very British humour animation adventures with your other animation films that are only available on the inferior DVD format. Despite this, I am so happy and proud to have this in my Blu-ray Collection and I am a very happy bunny. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
Ware, United Kingdom