Western Animation: A Grand Day Out

A Grand Day Out is the first short film featuring Wallace & Gromit.

Wallace and his dog Gromit realise that they're out of cheese and the shops are closed. The solution? Build a rocket in the basement and take a trip to the moon... which, as everyone knows, is made of cheese. While there, they have an encounter with a coin-operated robot who's desperate to go skiing.

It was released in 1989. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Animated Short Film, but lost to Aardman's other work, Creature Comforts.

This film provides examples of:

  • Art Evolution and Animation Bump: A rare example in that it occurs during the short itself. The very first scene animated was the sequence in which Wallace plans the rocket then builds it. Wallace only opens his mouth once (where he whistles for Gromit) and it completely lacks any detail, the characters gain tons of thumbprints and Wallace walks down the steps in a very weird way (he keeps his arms in front of him and they don't move at all) - presumably just to keep him balanced. In later scenes (in which Aardman had began assisting Park) the animation became somewhat smoother and shades of the characters' later designs start to appear. Towards the end of the short, a hint of Wallace's famous smile is starting to develop, although nowhere near what it would become.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Neither Wallace nor Gromit have any trouble breathing on the moon. (Then again, is this any more of a problem for scientific accuracy than the whole made-of-cheese thing?)
  • 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...
  • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers: Wallace's cheese obsession. The producers have great fun referencing the most bizarre and obscure cheese names possible. This namedropping, in fact, saved Wensleydale cheese, which was on the cusp of disappearing before Wallace and Gromit created a new demand for it. Creator Nick Park was actually unaware of the financial difficulties of the cheese makers. He simply selected Wensleydale because the name was fun to say and animate.
  • Bold Explorer: Wallace and Gromit head off to explore the moon.
  • Brick Joke: The ball kicked by Wallace shows up after the credits, still in motion.
  • Bungling Inventor: Wallace.
  • Cartoon Cheese: Averted, as moon cheese doesn't look anything like typical "orange-y swiss" cartoon cheese. More like cheddar. Wallace names several terrestrial cheeses in an unsuccessful attempt to determine what moon cheese tastes like, and finally concludes, "It's like no cheese I've ever tasted." He still keeps trying to name the cheese, though.
  • Cheesy Moon: The basis of the plot.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first short was much more surreal than all of the others. The character designs aren't quite fully developed (check out the shape of Wallace's head!) and cartoony jazz riffs run in place of the usual orchestral soundtrack of later films. It's also the only time Gromit makes any kind of vocalizations, albeit just wimpers and grunts.
  • Fall of the House of Cards: During the trip to the moon, after Gromit starts building a house of cards to pass the time.
  • Hard Work Montage: The construction of the rocket.
  • Intellectual Animal / Speech-Impaired Animal: Gromit.
  • Matchlight Danger Revelation
  • Minimalist Cast: A cast of only three, of which only one (Wallace) has a speaking part. (Not counting the nine rats who watch the launch).
  • No Antagonist: The robot cooker pursues the duo throughout the film, but it's Not Evil, Just Misunderstood.
  • No Mouth: Gromit
  • Oh Crap!: Multiple times.
    • "No crackers, Gromit We've forgotten the crackers!"
    • "The fuse! You forgot to light the fuse!"
  • Retro Rocket: The rocket they build.
  • Serious Business:
    • Everything relating to Cheese, according to Wallace.
    • Likewise, he finds the idea of eating Cheese without Crackers completely unthinkable.
    Wallace: The Crackers, Gromit! We've forgotten the Crackers! (Cue dramatic race-against-time music)
  • Silence Is Golden: Some sequences, such as Wallace at the drawing board and the rocket construction.
    • Most notably is when Gromit is standing under a door to hold it up as Wallace is sawing through it. This was the scene that convince Nick Park not to have Gromit speak because of how expressive his eyebrow was.
  • Silent Partner: Gromit
  • Silent Snarker: Gromit. When the film was in production, he was originally supposed to talk, but a scene where he reacts silently to Wallace stood out so much to the creators that they made him permanently silent.
    • All that remains of Gromit's voice are several whimpers and a yelp. The original voice actor intended for Gromit was the late, great Peter Hawkins, although it is unclear if the noises Gromit makes in the film were provided by him as he was not credited.
  • Stop Motion: The vast majority of the short is made up of this, though there are a few instances where conventional cel animation is used, particularly the shots of the rocket in-flight.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Wensleydale cheese.
  • The Unreveal: We never find out who built the robot or why it's coin-operated. It's just there on the moon and that's that.