Wallace and Gromit's Cracking Contraptions
|Wallace & Gromit's
Cover art for the Cracking Contraptions R2 DVD
|Directed by||Loyd Price
|Produced by||Harry Linden
|Written by||Merlin Crossingham
|Starring||Peter Sallis - Wallace|
|Music by||Julian Nott|
|Editing by||John Carnochan|
|Distributed by||Atom Films, BBC|
|Running time||Approx. 2 minutes x 10 episodes. Total Running Time: 23:49 minutes in all|
Wallace and Gromit's Cracking Contraptions is a series of ten Wallace and Gromit stop motion animations varying in length from 1 to 3 minutes. Each episode features one of Wallace's new inventions and Gromit's skeptical reaction to it. The series was produced and released in 2002 by Aardman Animations.
Episodes were broadcast individually on BBC One throughout the Christmas period, 2002. They were subsequently released on a limited-edition BBC VHS and Region 2 DVD. The series was also included as a bonus feature on some DVD releases of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and can be found on the Wal-Mart exclusive DVD, "Gromit's Tail-Waggin' DVD", packaged with "The Curse of the Were-Rabbit". All ten episodes were later aired as a 25 minute compilation on BBC Three during Christmas 2008, shortly before The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit premiered on BBC One.
Episodes first appeared on the Internet at Atom Films: Soccamatic for free viewing 15 October 2002, and the entire series for paid subscribers 21 October 2002-July 2003. Starting April 2003 Microsoft sponsored free viewing of individual episodes, one per week. Christmas Cardomatic was viewable free in December 2003.
The series is now available free online at the Aardman YouTube channel ("aardman").
The episodes appeared as comic strips in the 2010 Wallace and Gromit annual.
This was the first time Wallace and Gromit were produced in widescreen.
Wallace and Gromit head to the local football field for a bit of practice, with Wallace shooting and Gromit playing goalie. Frustrated at the ease with which Gromit blocks every shot, Wallace activates his Preston North End Soccamatic, a machine that kicks dozens of balls toward the goal. Gromit ducks to avoid the barrage, but when Wallace stops to load in more balls, he dons a vest and gloves that inflate to completely block the goal. Wallace suggests that they switch to tennis; after the credits, he serves a ball that bounces off Gromit's vest, then calls out, "15-love!"
To activate the TV set without leaving his chair, Wallace launches a tennis ball into a hole in the wall. It triggers a mechanism that extends the TV across the room on a telescoping shaft, so that Wallace can reach the on/off and channel buttons. When he accidentally tunes into the wrong program, he finds that he has no more balls available; Gromit hands him the TV remote, but he throws it into the hole instead of using it normally. The remote jams the mechanism, causing the TV to shoot across the room and pin Wallace to the wall.
To speed up his cooking, Wallace activates the Autochef, a robot chef with a tea nozzle, a frying pan and a temperature gauge. He has it cook scrambled eggs, but they end up on Gromit's head instead of a plate. Next Wallace tries to fry eggs, but the Autochef throws them onto Wallace's face, blinding him. As it goes haywire and starts to squirt hot tea around the room, Gromit blocks the nozzle. The pressure buildup causes the Autochef's head to explode and tear the room apart, and Wallace decides to have a continental breakfast the next day.
For the annual Grand Snowman Competition, Gromit is building a snowman that depicts Wallace as Rodin's "The Thinker," but is interrupted by the arrival of Wallace with his new Snowmanotron machine. It builds a crude snowman and crushes the body of Gromit's creation, whose head falls off in his paws. An annoyed Gromit goes back into the house, slamming the door hard enough to dump a load of snow off the roof and onto Wallace so that it covers him completely. Mistaking Wallace for a better-looking snowman, Gromit adds a carrot nose and eyes. He wins the competition, but Wallace catches a cold and has to thaw out at home.
A Christmas Cardomatic
Wallace has built a machine to make Christmas cards, with a camera hooked up to take the pictures for them. He has set up a crudely built snowy landscape in the living room, and Gromit - dressed in a bird costume - is reluctantly posing for the pictures. Wallace is pleased with the results, then hoists the backdrop away and walks off, not noticing the picturesque winter scene outside the window. The birds perched out here wave to Gromit, and one blows a party noisemaker at him when Wallace calls out for him to lick the stamps.
To speed up the task of bringing cheese home from the shop, Wallace deploys a remote-controlled trolley equipped with a camera and accessories to retrieve/carry items. Though it successfully picks up the largest wheel of Edam in the shop Wallace frequently patronises, the weight causes one wheel to fall off. Gromit guides it to grab a loaf of French bread, which it uses as a cane to limp home. The other wheel comes off at the front door, stopping the trolley and, in the process, dumping the Edam in the garden. Wallace sends Shaun the Sheep to bring it in, but Shaun begins eating the cheese instead. Wallace keeps calling Gromit, who is still in the basement, to stop Shaun, but Gromit ignores him while Shaun happily munches away on the cheese.
Wallace is unable to sleep after eating too much cheese, so he activates his Snoozatron to remedy the problem. The device wakes up Gromit, who puts on a sheep costume and heads downstairs; meanwhile, robotic arms fluff Wallace's mattress and pillow, place a hot water bottle on his chest, and give him a teddy bear as a record of lullaby music starts to play. After Gromit reaches the dining room, a huge spring built into the floor repeatedly bounces him upward, through a trap door in the ceiling, and into Wallace's bedroom. Wallace literally counts sheep and soon falls asleep, but the mechanism continues to bounce Gromit up and down as he gets bored and starts reading the newspaper.
The Turbo Diner
While trying to repair the Autochef, Wallace tries a new replacement contraption, the coin-operated Turbo Diner. After he inserts a coin into the wall panel, he and Gromit sit at the table and the device clamps down their wrists and ankles. A powerful vacuum sucks all the debris off the table, after which another mechanism sets it, delivers a fully cooked meal, and lights the candles (with Gromit ducking to avoid the flame jet it uses for this last). Once the table is ready, though, the Turbo Diner's meter runs out and the two are left clamped to their chairs, unable to reach the coin slot or controls. As the candles burn out to leave the pair in darkness, Wallace says, "Don't worry, I've got a great idea", in homage to the 1969 film The Italian Job.
The Bully-Proof Vest
On a stormy night, Wallace nervously ventures into the kitchen to get his tea, not noticing a figure that hides in the shadows. He sits down to eat a cracker, only for it to be snatched out of his hand and reappear in a corner of the room. The figure turns out to be Gromit, who advances on him threateningly with a rolling pin, but Wallace activates the Bully-Proof Vest strapped to his chest. A spring-loaded boxing glove pops out, knocking Gromit across the room and through a door, and Wallace declares the invention a success. However, he trips on the rolling pin and falls, triggering the vest so that it launches him upward with enough force to embed him in the ceiling.
The 525 Crackervac
To speed up Gromit's chores of sweeping up, Wallace activates the 525 Crackervac, a vacuum cleaner with sharp metal teeth that can suck up cracker crumbs at high speed. When it starts trying to snatch a packet of Wallace's crackers, he yanks the box away and throws it to Gromit, who eventually lassos the machine and rides it like a rodeo bull. Gromit ties a knot in its suction hose, causing the rear end to burst and shower dirt all over both Wallace and the area of the room around him. He woozily asks Gromit to get the dustpan and brush he had been using at the start.
- New Wallace & Gromit Series Hits AtomFilms Animation Magazine, 14 October 2002.
- 'Wallace & Gromit's Cracking Contraptions': Nick Park Talk Today: Online Chat with Nick Park. USA Today. 16 October 2002.
- "Wallace & Gromit". Atom Films. Archived from the original on 1 June 2003. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- Wallace & Gromit: Cracking Contraptions - Playlist on YouTube. Aardman Animation YouTube channel. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- Wallace and Gromit's Cracking Contraptions at the Internet Movie Database
- Cracking Contraptions on the official website
- Cracking Contraptions on the BBC website