13 October 2005

It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

Hey guys, it's Donnie...Consider this both a letter of congratulations and an obituary.

Wallace and Gromit and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was the number one movie at the US box office this past weekend, and it continues to be one of the most well reviewed films of the year. I've seen it and it is absolutely wonderful. Hilarious and charming for audiences of all ages. This is a film of true craftsmanship and love of animation. You can still see the occassional fingerprint on the characters, and I smiled everytime I saw one.

Unfortunately, along with this stunning victory of Nick Park and Aardman Animation Studios (seriously, this thing is almost a shoe-in for the Best Animated Feature Oscar) came gut wrenching tragedy. While theaters were selling out accross the United States, the Aardman storage warehouse, which contained all the characters and sets from every project ever, including the three previous Wallace and Gromit shorts and their previous feature release Chicken Run, burned to the ground. The only thing to survive were sets and characters from Curse Of The Were-Rabbit, which are currently on display elsewhere to help promote the film.

This is a stunning loss. Someone compared it to the loss of Ben Hur's chariot, and I think that's pretty much right on the money. Aardman has had a deep and rich history over the years and to see it all go up in smoke is just plain awful. There was a Wallace and Gromit exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston a few years ago and it was fantastic. Being able to see the evolution of the characters over time and seeing the actual clay figures and sets...what a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.

Nick Park seems to be taking it all in stride, looking to the future instead of mourning the past, which is probably a good, healthy approach to take. Nonetheless, The Booth extends the folks at Aardman both our hearty congratulations and our deepest sympathies.


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