Plasticine Rocks #earlyman #filmreview

I’m not entirely sure when I first saw Wallace and Gromit in action, but I do know it was in The Wrong Trousers. Since then I’ve marvelled at the skill of stop motion animation, the storylines and the in-jokes, adopted ‘Cheese Gromit?’ into my vocabulary to mean ‘fancy a snack’ and accused the Textiliste of having a Wendolene haircut which did me no favours.

I looked forward to the latest Aardman film, therefore, with some mix of hope, relish and trepidation.

The premise, not to plot spoil here, is that early man invented football after a natural disaster only for his descendants to lose touch with the game until their idyll is turned upside down by a mercenary set of invaders. The invaders, a sort of mix between the nutty Romans and the French, are skilled at football and a match is set up to sort out the vexed question of land ownership.

It has all the ingredients of a perfect evening of smiles and simple pleasures.

And, yes, the cultural funnies – taking the mickey out of English football’s obsession with its one world cup win are all there, as are the commentators whose dialogue is an amalgam of every cliche there has ever been.

Time passes easily enough – Aardman films aren’t there to challenge the intellect – and my attention didn’t wander but… you knew that was coming, didn’t you – … it’s all a bit samey, a bit like a franchise that’s got a bit tired. The baddie a classic Aardman baddie, even looking the same; ditto the goodie, Doug and the love interest. Why aren’t the heroes female? Has there been a female Aardman hero? Can’t immediately think of one but I’m sure I’ll be corrected.

Trepidation won out, I fear. A film too far, for me, from this stable. I read one critic pan Aaardman for not being Pixar but, to me, that’s just so much baloney. They are each their own wonders. But both, whatever the skill and creativity of the models and the filming, are utterly dependant on the script engaging you and this one really doesn’t. Same for all films, of course and maybe we’ve been a bit spoilt, but I fear this one will go straight to DVD…

PS This was a new cinema for me – the Peckham-plex, an independent in the heart of rural Peckham (*coughs). Funny old place, Peckham. On the one hand the Rye, where we alighted has some lovely old cottages that are part of the ‘new’ Peckham, of chocolatiers and artisan kebabs; but about face and the mobile phone shops, promising to unlock any phone in seconds and meat shops that smell like a cross between an abattoir and a Lebanese podiatrist are ever present – reminding oddly of the Brixton I first knew in 1980 when I came to London – edgy, a bit seweragy and open all hours, ubiquitous neon and plastic-backed menus and spoons on chains so you can’t steal them. It’s waiting to up-and-come, to gentrify and meanwhile it wears its credo in the street art tags and herbal atmosphere. The ice cream, though, was excellent and not the price of a small riverboat.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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8 Responses to Plasticine Rocks #earlyman #filmreview

  1. How can Aardman be criticised because they’re not Pixar? That’s ridiculous, as you say they are very different. It would have to be an amazingly funny storyline to match ‘The wrong trousers’ though. I haven’t seen this one, but will wait until the DVD version I think 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s always a pleasure to read your reviews Geoff, though Wallace and Gromit largely passed me by unnoticed. The script is everything!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. JT Twissel says:

    I like your comment about the film was not meant to challenge your intellect! Gentrifying I though was uniquely American.

    Like

  4. Ritu says:

    A film to wait for the DVD then eh his Geoffleship!

    Like

  5. Peter Le Pard says:

    I’m going to be that annoying person who mentions the Aardman female hero, namely Ginger from Chicken Run :). I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the film though, even for its faults. I constantly want so very much to like Aardman films, but I was slightly dissapointed by their last outing with Pirates!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wendolene hair! I don’t wonder you weren’t popular…

    My first was ‘A Grand Day Out’. Those mice all whipping out their sunglasses at the launch is a small detail but perfect. However, the phrase which always comes to mind if I’m struggling to get into me trahziz is “It’s the wrong trousers, Gromit!”

    Thanks for review. Shame, but will definitely watch when it arrives on tv.

    Like

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