Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Wallace and Gromit don't do postmodernism

On Christmas TV the BBC showed a new Wallace and Gromit short, "A Matter of Loaf and Death". The consensus seems to be that it was, like all their work, fabulous, though AA Gill called them tired and misogynistic in the Sunday Times (takes one to know one perhaps). I liked it a lot, though not as much as the 1990s shorts and the feature a few years back. My favourite Aardman film is Chicken Run, even if Mel Gibson did voice work on it.

What struck me on "Loaf", if we can call it that, is that all the postmodernism has gone out of Aardman. "The Wrong Trousers" and "Chicken Run", like "Toy Story" and "Shrek", appealed above all to semioticians, theorists, post-structuralists and small children. They were part of postmodernism's last cry, the moment when, having permeated the rest of culture and society, postmodernism arrived in the preschool market. I also saw Pixar's "Wall-E" over Xmas, and again postmodernism is conspicuous by its absence.

What does this tell us about postmodernism? That five year olds think it's old hat? That's got to be a bad sign for any cultural movement, in so many ways.

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