Genre: Adventure, Comedy, and Short Running Time: 30 min.
Release Date: December 17th, 1993 MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Nick Park Actors: Peter Sallis, Peter Hawkins
his time spoofing a mad scientist routine, Wallace and Gromit must contend with technology gone awry. Gromit counts down the days until his birthday, while Wallace waits for his turn to try out the latest tweaks in his breakfast-preparation contraption, which not only slides the user out from the bed and into a chair at the table before dressing them, it also launches jam onto a piece of toast (like something out of “Modern Times”). Their “modern” lifestyle isn’t complete just yet, however.
Having not forgotten Gromit’s birthday, Wallace unveils his gift of techno-trousers, which are essentially just robotic legs designed to take the dog out for a walk. But Gromit is too intelligent for such automatons, as he’s quick to outwit the machine. The plot thickens when money problems arise, forcing Wallace to sublet their apartment to a mysterious penguin – who promptly takes over Gromit’s room. And then the penguin (who is actually famous criminal Feathers McGraw) plots to reprogram the trousers for his own nefarious purposes.
“The Wrong Trousers” brings a strange notion to the world of Wallace and Gromit: just how much difference is there between humans and animals? The penguin doesn’t speak, and generally acts like an animal, but he also shares a glass of wine with Wallace at the dinner table. Like many cartoons, it’s not always obvious how different species interact in a fantasy environment. Here, dogs seem to rank much lower than penguins or chickens or a sheep (which, based on a newspaper headline, had a trial in a courtroom).
But with the humor of a comedy and the designs of a horror movie, the film utterly masters slapstick timing. In fact, it boasts some of the most ingenious of all comic routines, including remotely controlling an unconscious Wallace into stealing a diamond from the city museum (a marvelous sequence of tension and wit), a hilarious confrontation with the poorly disguised penguin mastermind, and a toy train getaway sequence that, while making little sense geographically or physically, is an outstanding bit of inventiveness. “The Wrong Trousers” is the crown jewel of the Wallace and Gromit series.
– Mike Massie