Wallace and Gromit

Columbia Pictures

There’s much to be mocked about sidekicks, one of the easier targets in film. We’re set up to picture a simultaneously meek and booming catchphrase-machine clad in a matching uniform, seemingly created solely to follow our protagonist around and hype them up on their journeys. While plenty of that variety exist, there’s a different and far more interesting breed of sidekicks who prove to be so much more — valuable assets who, really, are so much better than the leads in the first place. Here are seven sidekicks who are smarter and more capable than the heroes they’re supporting.

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silent running drones

If you’re going to see Despicable Me 2 this weekend, there’s a good chance it’s because either you or your children mostly want to see the Minions. Who cares about Gru and the human children let alone whatever the plot is this time around when those little yellow blobs are running around causing trouble? This is just a hurdle until the spin-off movie that’s centered just on the Minions comes out next year. Why do we love them so much? Movies.com writer Perri Nemiroff gave a few likeminded reasons earlier this week, comparing them to pets and plush toys come to life. She also notes that their gibberish is always “immensely more entertaining than any line of human dialogue.” The lack of intelligible dialogue is the reason I believe they’re so popular, combined with their slapstick antics. They’re Keystone henchmen, basically, characters that continue the tradition of silent comedy well into the era of sound cinema. In fact, they are cinema, almost purely visual treats (without their gibberish and occasional English word they would still be as funny). They’re reportedly modeled after the Jawas from Star Wars and the Oompa Loompas from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, while Steve Carrell (the voice of Gru) believes the Minions “are as close to a modern day version of the Marx Brothers as I’ve seen.” One of the Marx Brothers in particular, for me. Harpo was one of the earliest figures in film to maintain the tradition of the dumbshow pantomime once […]

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The Wrong Trousers

Why Watch? There is never a wrong time to enjoy some Wallace & Gromit. This particular short, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 1993, is especially good for walkies. Aardman Animation has a unique sensibility that’s partially antique, engagingly modern and thoroughly British. There’s an innocence to their comedy (even when a penguin is bounce-testing a bed). Not content simply to astonish with craftsmanship that takes a large amount of time and an even larger amount of skill, these stories thrill with a grand sense of adventure and a lot of ridiculous fun. The Wrong Trousers may be their very, very best. What will it cost? Around 30 minutes. Skip Work. Watch More Short Films.

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Boiling Point

Political correctness is the bane of the artistic community, or so it would seem. It appears as though you can’t do anything in this world without upsetting anyone, and once they’re upset you must do backflips to appease them. Well, I’m here to say: fuck the blind. Just kidding, I’ve got nothing against the blind. But a recent news articledoes have me up in a furor. Aardman Animation, the company behind Wallace and Gromit and the upcoming feature The Pirates! Band of Misfits, are ditching already completed work on a joke about lepers because some people might feel bad. Are you serious?

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You may have been able to gather by now the fact that we love trailer mash-ups around here. And this mash-up, a mix of Quantum of Solace and Wallace and Gromit, has caught our attention.

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