3.23.2006

canines

A coyote was caught in Central Park two days ago, but only after leading New York City police, parks department workers and the media on a wild chase.

I remember the last time a coyote appeared in New York City, in 1999. Coyotes are extremely intelligent and among the most adaptable of mammals - and their habitat is always being developed by humans - so you never know where they'll turn up. Even so, how an animal like this ends up in Central Park makes me shake my head in wonder. This one's bound for a wildlife rehabilitation farm in upstate New York.

Last night we saw another adorable canine: Gromit. We watched "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit". It's very enjoyable, and if you don't know Wallace and Gromit, this is a good place to start.

We've been fans of Nick Park and his insanely detailed plasticine animation since seeing "Creature Comforts" and "A Grand Day Out" ages ago at New York City's Film Forum. The screening included a making-of documentary, about Park's painstaking animation techniques, and his incredible commitment to his vision.

After toiling on "Creature Comforts" for more than five years, Park had finished about ten minutes of his movie. Once the film-school studio discovered his work and offered their resources, it took another two years to make the rest. Which means it took seven years to make a 30-minute film.

Now, with a whole studio at his disposal, the work is just as finely detailed, but richer, more fleshed out. Although I didn't like "Chicken Run," the first Nick Park/Aardman/Dreamworks feature, I love all the Wallace & Gromit films: "A Grand Day Out," "The Wrong Trousers" (penguin!) and "A Close Shave" (sheep!). They're so much fun.

The "Were-Rabbit" DVD has lots of extras, and in this case the "making of" featurette is really worth seeing. There's also a summary of Park's career, in which you can see snippets of the other films.

As much as I admire Park's work and his dedication to his vision, I just adore Gromit. It's his face! Those facial expressions just drive me crazy. Check out this film, you'll enjoy it.

13 comments:

James said...

I keep doing this, but here's another off topic: a good Tom the Dancing Bug cartoon on the current state of US politics. You may have to watch an ad to see the whole thing. If that takes you to Salon's home page, just go to "Comics", then "Tom the Dancing Bug".

Scott M. said...

As well, Laura, just to let you know the two Canadian "peacemaker" (horrible name) hostages have been freed.

As well, another tragedy in Canada with no lives lost in the Queen of the North disaster... what's with that? We have airplane crashes where everyone is all right, we have marine disasters in the middle of nowhere and everyone is safe and happy, our derailments lately only hurt the baggage car (I wonder how many Via has left?)...

David Cho said...

Hey, what do you know. I watched it last weekend, and it was very delightful.

David Cho said...

BTW, how can you not like Chicken Run? Ginger's persistent effort for freedom and the ending I thought were just great and inspiring.

L-girl said...

I like Tom the Dancing Bug! I'll check it out.

As well, Laura, just to let you know the two Canadian "peacemaker" (horrible name) hostages have been freed.

I saw that, of course. What wonderful news! Since I hadn't blogged about their story at all, I didn't post about the conclusion. I don't have anything new to add.

We have airplane crashes where everyone is all right, we have marine disasters in the middle of nowhere and everyone is safe and happy, our derailments lately only hurt the baggage car

If I believed in such things, I'd have to say good karma. :)

BTW, how can you not like Chicken Run?

I thought a lot of the imagery and references were inappropriate for a kids' movie. I saw it when it first came out, so I can't remember the details of what I didn't like about it. I just remember I found it very heavy and oppressive, not at all funny and playful.

James said...

I thought a lot of the imagery and references were inappropriate for a kids' movie.

I don't think it was really meant as a "kid's movie". It is, after all, a remake (sort of) of "The Great Escape"! I'm all in favour of animated films that realize that they don't have to be kids' movies. :)

L-girl said...

I'm all in favour of animated films that realize that they don't have to be kids' movies. :)

Oh, me too! But in the US at least, it was marketed as a kids movie - the old "kids movie that adults will love too".

I just didn't like it for kids or adults. :)

Wrye said...

I like any movie that sets out to make a reference to every rabbit movie ever made, including Watership down.

Chicken Run was an interesting branching out into another "British" genre. I regard it as the test bed for Curse of the Were Rabbit--in which case, it's a cracking success.

Scott M. said...

Since I hadn't blogged about their story at all, I didn't post about the conclusion.

Oh! I thought that was the impetus behind the post "safer", when Tom Fox (american "peacemaker") was found dead and the others were OK.

teflonjedi said...

I too am a fan of the Wallace and Gromit movies! I saw the latest in the theatre last fall, with a good friend and former co-worker of mine, right before I gave my notice. Good memories, definitely.

David Cho said...

I see what you are saying, Laura. Yeah, there was that imagery that of concentration camps, which is probably not appropriate for kids.

Expat Traveler said...

Laura - if you want to stay on top of things, check out this breaking news...

On Chinahanding right for neclear weapons.

L-girl said...

I thought that was the impetus behind the post "safer", when Tom Fox (american "peacemaker") was found dead and the others were OK.

That was about the international aid worker who was released unharmed after his captors learned he was Canadian. His name is Adam Budanowski (may not be correct spelling). A related, but different, story. :)