A Close Shave

A Close Shave ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

The third installment in the Wallace and Gromit series, and the first where the titular duo have a new job of the day. In this film, they are Window-washers. This is also the first film to feature a love interest for Wallace.

A mysterious case of sheep rustling is going on throughout the country. They visit Wendolene, a woman who runs a wool store, and Wallace falls head over heels for her. Wendolene also owns a dog, Preston, a sinister presa canario. A sheep, Shaun, appears in Wallace and Gromit's house. Wallace puts Shaun through his washer and Knit-o-matic (he only planned to wash him but he went through the Knit-o-matic when it malfunctioned, as Wallace's gadgets often do), giving him the sweater that results. Preston spies on the machine and steals the blueprints.

When Wallace and Gromit come back to wash Wendolene's windows the next day. Gromit is suspicious of Preston and sees him stealing Shaun (and many other sheep) in a truck but he lets them free (meaning Wallace adopts them as well). Unfortunately, Preston framed Gromit as the sheep stealer instead. The next day (literally; Wallace is seen reading morning, afternoon and evening newspapers, meaning it only took a day) Wallace and the Sheep find out about what happened to Gromit, being given life imprisonment. Fortunately, Shaun gives him a jigsaw puzzle with a message and Shaun, the other sheep and Wallace break him out of Jail.

They find out Wendolene and Preston are behind the sheep rustling, but Wendolene is only reluctantly part of the scheme. But now, Preston doesn't just want to steal wool, but make Dog Food and he betrays Wendolene. Wallace and Gromit get split up and then come back together to save Wendolene from Preston. Preston is put through his own reverse-engineered Knit-O-Matic, removing all his fur. However, Preston punches and makes dents on the Knit-O-Matic and the shavers break. It's here where we get the big reveal:
Wendolene - He's malfunctioning!
Wallace - Mal-what?
Wendolene- Malfunctioning. Preston is a cyber-dog!
Wallace - Cyber-what?
Wendolene - A robot! Daddy created him for good,
but...he's turned out evil!

Now, Preston's true Robotic Terminator-like form has been revealed. He begins to approach Wendolene, Wallace, Gromit and the sheep. But with the jumper made from his faux-fur, he's blind and accidentally causes Wendolene, Wallace, Gromit and the sheep and himself to go up to the conveyor belt in front of the "Mutton-O-matic", for converting sheep into dogmeat. Fortunately, Shaun swings down from the top and forces Preston in with an anvil, causing him to breakdown.

Wallace repairs Preston, making him good once more, but also a remote-controlled robot. Wendolene says she's allergic to cheese, which is Wallace's favourite food, leaving Wallace heartbroken. Wallace looks on the bright side, saying they'll be more for him and Gromit, but as Wallace is about to have some cheese, Shaun turns out to have ate it.

A close shave is wonderfully enjoyable short with great animation and you can clearly tell how they were being creative and had a lot of fun with this special. The new characters all have wonderful designs such as Wendolene with her "Der Golem" hairstyle (I haven't been able to find anything definitive but I think it's a reference, and it would certainly foreshadow the robotic reveal of Preston), Preston in both his real dog and robot forms is also a great design and the unique shape and personality they gave Shaun helped make him distinct. Shaun the sheep was so popular he got his TV series and two movies.

The only really noticeable animation error was the fact that we see Preston's Eyes, ears and arms in the cans, when it was his back half that was crushed by the mutton-o-matic. It's such a minor mistake that it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

Each of the Wallace and Gromit films spoofs a different genre (except, arguably, A Grand Day Out); A Grand Day out spoofs Sci-Fi adventure (in my opinion), The Wrong Trousers spoofs Heist movies, Curse of the Were-Rabbit spoofs Horror films (especially the classic "Hammer Horror" movies) and A matter of loaf and death is a murder mystery. A Close shave spoofs wrongfully-accused and prison-break films, in how Gromit is wrongfully thought to be the sheep rustler and Shaun breaks him free.

A great stop-motion classic.

Watch this if you like: Wallace & Gromit: A Grand Day Out, Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death, Wallace & Gromit A Grand Day Out, Wallace & Gromit The Wrong Trousers, Wallace & Gromit: The Best of Aardman Animation, Chicken Run (2000), Flushed Away (2006) Arthur Christmas (2011) The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (2012), Early man (2018), ParaNorman (2012), Coraline (2009), The BoxTrolls (2014), Kubo and the 2 strings (2016), Corpse Bride (2005), Crime and Punishment (1935), Brief Encounter (1945), The Third Man (1949), Beetlejuice (1988), Monkeybone (2000) Frankenweenie (2012), Die Hard (1988), Die Hard 2 (1990), The Little mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015), Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer's Llamas (2015), Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966), Scream Street (TV series), The Gruffalo (2009), The Gruffalo's Child (2011), The Golem: How he came into the world (1919), Room on the Broom (2012), Vincent (1982), Alien (1979), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Morph (1977–present), Creature Comforts (1989–2011), The Terminator (1984), Terminator 2: Judgement day (1991), Love Actually, Savage Grace, The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), Colour Me Kubrick: A True...ish Story, The Fantastic Mr Fox (2009), Isle of Dogs (2018)

Reviewed by Carlos

This Review is part of Carlos' Christmas 2018 Series of Reviews

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