Sludgers is an aardvark who dreams of being attractive, and of wearing some truly finetrousers. Sludgers also has a terrific sense of rhythm and percussion. Discovered by a caterpillartalent agent, Sludgers is taken to the big city, renamed “Hamilton Mattress,” and is hired to playthe drums behind the scenes while a handsome but untalented bird mimes the gestures. WhenSludgers gets carried away with his drums and almost literally brings the house down, will hislooks stand i… the way of his career?
The lesson, of course, is to like yourself for who you are. The model animation is first-rate,and the voice work (by, among others, David Thewlis as Sludgers) is excellent. The short isn’t asscreamingly funny and dementedly inventive as the Wallace & Gromit features, but it isenormously engaging, and has truly snazzy score.
The 2.0 sound has some very solid surround FX: crowds, desert noises, rain and the like. Nota constant environment, but good work nonetheless. The dialogue is clear and free of distortion.The music is incredibly infectious and energetic, and unfortunately doesn’t come across withnearly enough power. This is especially true of the final song, and most particularly so of thedrums.
The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen image is sharp, though it could be pushed just a tiny bitmore. There is no edge or grain, and the colours are terrific: bright, cheerful, and full of contrast.The blacks are excellent too. All in all, a very attractive transfer, one that should captivateviewers young and old.
The commentary — by director Barry Purves, producer Christopher Moll and writer JohnWebster — is very much of the “wow, didn’t this turn out well” variety, but does point out allsorts of small details one might otherwise miss, and go into some detail about how a project likethis is made. The featurettes — “The Birth of an Aardvark,” “Enter the Aardvark” and “Behindthe Voices” — are, respectively, about the creation of the character, a general making-of, and alook at the voice talent. There are also trailers for Crocodile Hunter, Agent CodyBanks and Good Boy. The menu’s main screen and transitions are animated andscored, while the second-level screens are scored.
Excellent family viewing (though you don’t need a family to have fun).
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Making-of Featurette
- “The Birth of an Aardvark” Featurette
- “Behind the Voices” Featurette