Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Creature Comforts: Who Doesn't Like Animals?

I have to admit, I can't compare the American version of Creature Comforts to the British version. I love Aardman animation – Wallace and Gromit in all their adventures, Chicken Run, the whole bit. I love it. But I've never seen the original British Creature Comforts, so I can't tell you how the British version is better. On its own, however, the American version is cute, and I can definitely see the charm and inventiveness that has made it popular.

One thing the Aardman team is particularly good at is expression. They're quite skilled at making little changes in their characters' faces to reflect nuances of mood. When Curse of the Were-Rabbit came out, the New York Times reviewer wrote glowingly of Gromit, comparing him to a silent film star in his expressiveness. And it's true. They know how to make those animals speak volumes, even the ones in the background who aren't saying anything at all, like a googly-eyed bird blinking pleasantly as her boyfriend talks about how much he likes her eyes. And while there is a lot of enjoyment to be had in the interviews themselves, particularly in the banter between couples, the animators throw in lots of purely visual jokes. One of the better ones involves a joke-telling lizard and a pair of crickets.

Ultimately, it's a fun way to spend half an hour, and if it's on, you might as well watch it. And now, I think I'll seek out the British version.


vance said...

While I can't say I would pave my schedule so that I would watch this show live (then again, it's on a monday, how exciting can mondays get in my life?), it definitely was super cute and funny and great comfort TV. Seriously, Grommit should have been nominated for best Actor. He's WAY better than half of the men out there.