Western Animation: A Close Shave

A Close Shave is the third short film featuring Wallace & Gromit.

Wallace's crush Wendolene turns out to have ties to the local wool shortage, leading to Gromit being imprisoned for sheep-rustling, forcing Wallace to stage a daring jailbreak with the help of a woolly jumper-wearing lamb named Shaun. The three must face the real villain in a final showdown for all the yarn.

Released in 1995, it won the 1995 Academy Award for Animated Short Film.

Shaun later got his own Spinoff called Shaun the Sheep.

This film provides examples of:

  • Accidental Hand Hold
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Preston, the villain, was once a good robot dog that according to Wendolene suddently became evil.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Shaun and the other sheep in general.
  • Animation Bump: While the character animation is pretty much the same quality it was in The Wrong Trousers, this short ratchets up the scope of things, including animating large flocks of sheep, and including extensive outdoor scenes.
  • Becoming Part of the Image: The villain frames Gromit for the sheep kidnappings by tricking him into sticking his head through a picture of a butcher in front of Shaun the sheep, and then taking a very incriminating photograph.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Gromit, who takes it in his stride.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: Gromit never speaks, so this is the only way you know what he's feeling. It's really incredible, the emotion you can wring out of an artfully-squashed bit of plasticine...
    Wallace: "We've tested this on Gromit. Haven't we, lad?"
    Gromit: (eyebrows rise mournfully) *nods*
  • Bittersweet Ending: Wallace saves Wendolene, but true love is thwarted as he discovers she is allergic to cheese. Even Wensleydale.
  • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers: Wallace's cheese obsession. The producers have great fun referencing the most bizarre and obscure cheese names possible.
  • Brand X: Played with inasmuch as Wallace and Gromit are working as window-cleaners when they meet Wendolene; "Windolene" is a cleaning product sold for cleaning glass.
  • Bungling Inventor: Wallace.
  • Chekhov's Gun: At the beginning, Wallace and Gromit clean windows with the aid of a gun that shoots soapy water. Near the end, it gets repurposed as an offensive weapon that fires globs of porridge.
  • Civilized Animal: Gromit is usually depicted as walking upright, and is capable of creating and operating complex machinery. Generally he's shown to be significantly more shrewd and sensible than his master. However, despite all of this, everyone treats him the same as you treat any dog.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • When Gromit is put in prison, there's graffiti on the wall reading "Feathers Woz 'Ere".
    • Wallace and Gromit have a series of three models of the rocket from A Grand Day Out on their wall instead of the more traditional ducks.
  • Conveyor Belt-O-Doom: Features in the climax.
  • Cool Sidecar: The sidecar of Wallace and Gromit's motorcycle can double as an aeroplane. It also comes with a retractable rapid-fire cannon that the heroes usually use to shoot soapy water up onto windows they're cleaning from ground level, but during the climax Gromit loads it with porridge to fight the villain.
  • Darker and Edgier: Unrequited love, sheep rustling, blackmail, attempted murder, implied actual murder... and Word of God says that it was originally supposed to be even darker! Of corse, because this is Wallace & Gromit, it's all played as ridiculously as possible.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Wallace saves Wendolene, but true love is thwarted as he discovers she is allergic to cheese.
  • Duck!
    Wallace: Where?...Aah! (Ducks)
  • Doppelganger Dating: Wendolene looks remarkably like Wallace in a dress and a wig, shares many of his mannerisms, and has a faithful canine companion. She's not an inventor herself, but her father was.
  • Double Take: Preston has a few, notably when he spots Gromit chasing his truck on a sidecar-turned-airplane in the rear-view mirror.
  • Edible Ammunition: The porridge cannon.
  • Evil Counterpart: In many ways, Preston is an evil version of Gromit.
  • Finger Twitching Revival: Or, robotic-foot-twitching.
  • Foreshadowing: When Wendolene points out the portrait of her inventor father holding a spanner, Preston is also predominantly in the picture, foreshadowing the fact that her father actually built him.
  • Frameup: Gromit is framed as a sheep-rustler.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Just before Gromit crashes off the cliff in the detached side-car, Feathers McGraw briefly appears at the side of the path.
  • Funny Background Event: During Wallace and Wendolene's first meeting, Gromit is cleaning the windows on a bungee cord in the background, which then gets more hilarious when Preston disrupts his operation, leaving him bouncing up and down helplessly, before finally just hanging there upside down with his arms folded.
  • Genius Book Club: In prison, Gromit passes the time by reading Crime and Punishment (by, according to the cover, Fido Dogstoevsky).
  • Girl of the Week: Wendolene.
  • Human Ladder: Well, sort of. It's a Sheep Ladder.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Gromit.
  • Intellectual Animal / Speech-Impaired Animal: Gromit.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Wallace and Gromit give Shaun his name after he is accidentally shorn.
    • Preston gets pressed on!
  • The Merch: It was this short that really chained off the series' popularity with toy companies. While Gromit naturally proved merchandisable, kids were even more eager to scoop up plush toys and backpacks of Shaun.
  • Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: Wendolene seems perfect for Wallace, until he discovers she is allergic to cheese.
  • No Mouth: Gromit
  • Not Even Human: Preston is a robot!
  • Not What I Signed On For: Wendolene tries to back out of being Preston's rustling partner when she discovers that he plans to grind the sheep into dog food and sell it.
    Wendolene: "It wasn't so bad when it was just the wool, but... this is evil!"
  • Orchestral Bombing: When Gromit attacks in his sidecar-aeroplane, it plays out like a scene from war movie, with the soundtrack to match.
  • Packed Hero: The villain intends to do this to the heroes, complete with Conveyor Belt-O-Doom into a machine which produces canned dog food. In the end it is the villain who gets crushed up and delivered into the cans. Not as gruesome as it sounds, since the villain is really a robot.
  • Parody: Of wrongfully-accused/prison-break movies.
  • Punny Name: Shaun rhymes with "shorn" (as in "sheared") in non-rhotic varieties of English.
  • Robot Dog: Preston
  • Robotic Reveal: When Preston is put into the sheep-shearing device, sparks fly, and the Robot Dog emerges stripped to the metal.
  • Shout-Out: Lots of clever thematic ones to the Tim Burton Batman films and the two Terminator films in the climactic scenes. Also, the sequence of Wallace going through the automated process of getting dressed into his window-washing overalls is a big Homage to Thunderbirds.
  • Silent Partner: Gromit, who is also...
  • Silent Snarker: ...and it's remarkable how expressive he is considering he is always portrayed without a mouth, leaving the rest of his face to convey all of his emotions.
  • Skewed Priorities: Played for laughs with Wallace, who is more outraged that Preston stole his knitting machine and then impressed by Preston also having built a giant meat grinding machine than the fact that he and the others are about to be fed into said machines.
  • Stop Motion
  • Super Strength: Preston is exceptionally strong, able to snap a wooden staff in two almost effortlessly and break out of the Knit-o-Matic when he is stripped down to his robotic shell.
  • Tempting Fate: Played for laughs. At the end, Wallace and Gromit sit down to have some cheese, with Wallace remarking "and not a sheep to worry us" as he goes to lift the food cover. Guess who he finds munching on their snack.
  • Thing-O-Matic:
    • The Knit-o-Matic machine.
    • And later we see Preston's Mutton-o-Matic
  • Title Drop: When Gromit programs the Knit-o-Matic machine to give Preston a "Close Shave".
  • Totem Pole Trench
  • To the Batpole!: Wallace has a ludicrously complicated set of slides and machines to transport himself from his armchair to his motorbike and get dressed for work. (Gromit then simply walks into the garage through a door from the kitchen, rolling his eyes.) Wallace's method of getting to the motorbike is a huge nod towards the old Thunderbirds show. As is the flipping pond when they leave the garage.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Cheese, particularly Wensleydale, is Wallace's favorite.
  • We Don't Need Roads: The sidecar of Wallace and Gromit's motorcycle can double as an aeroplane.
  • Wham Line: "He's malfunctioning!"