A Grand Day Out tells the story of a man’s desire for cheese being so strong, so irrational that he builds a rocket to fly to the moon instead of walking to the corner store.
It’s also the first of Aardman’s Wallace and Gromit films, which, alongside Creature Comforts, really propelled the stop-motion animation studio to international acclaim.
That backdrop, I was totally unaware of when I first watched the short at some point in the 1990’s, but what I did know is that I really hated the film from about the 14:10 mark omward where Wallace and Gromit find the short’s antagonist, Cooker.
Cooker is a coin-operated gas range (money gives it life) that was for some reason left on the moon.
It’s obsessed with tidiness and goes around policing things with a Billy Club. Perhaps a profound look at humanity’s pollution of our orbit and planets with space junk? Probably not. Still, it’s job seems to be keeping things neat and tidy, which Wallace doesn’t do as he continually vandalized the moon y eating it.
It also comes murderously close to braining Wallace at one point before running out of time, which really isn’t a punishment that fits the crime.
It’s a weird, fascist, kinda evil gas range living on the moon, so we shouldn’t have too much sympathy for it, but then it starts to dream about skiing back on Earth.
From that point onward, we see Cooker’s story become a mad dash to escape the moon as it attempts to board Wallace’s rocket.
We suddenly feel sympathy for Cooker as it hangs on to the hope of returning home which, spoilers, it doesn’t quite manage to do.
After it gets exploded out of the rocket, Cooker ends up using some of the scrap metal to build itself some skis and then it gets a happy little ending where is goes up and down the slopes on the moon.
It even waves goodbye to Wallace and Gromit despite them vandalising its home.
And all seems good right until Cooker hits the last slope in the short film and doesn’t come back up…
That, to me, was a profoundly depressing moment in the short film, which I noticed even as a kid.
Presumably and down at the bottom of the slope, Cooker’s time ran out and it’s now either stuck in one of two modes of thought: the exhilaration of skiing or a feeling of profound melancholy having reached the bottom of the slope.
Imagine, first, being stuck on the moon and, second, being stuck in a kind of in-and-out state of consciousness. Cooker is frozen in time basically until some hapless tourist comes by to put money into it on the freaking moon.
It’s a profoundly lonely ending for a robot who was simply responding to people vandalising its home.
Anyway, I found his depressing, how about you? Did you find this a sad, lonely ending? Or am I thinking too much about this? Also apparently Cooker is in some Wallace and Gromit video game, but I don’t consider that canon.