Directors: Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar
Original Release: 2009
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
A Town Called Panic was the first stop-motion animation movie ever to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Based on a television show of the same name (Panique au Village in French), the Belgian/Luxembourgish/French production follows the zany adventures of three plastic toys: Horse, Cowboy and Indian. The story begins with Cowboy and Indian in a - you guessed it - panic over what to get Horse for his birthday.
From there, the plot follows the sort of nonlinear trajectory one might expect from a child at play. We meet the crazy neighbors, mermen and scientists determined to build the perfect snowball catapult. There's a love story, too, as Horse rather sheepishly pursues the affections of Madame Longree, a music teaching filly.
The frenetic pace and sensory barrage can be overpowering but overall, the movie's a lot of fun. Over the rest of the weekend, My Wife and I would occasionally call out to one another with "Chaval!" and "Indien!" just as the characters do in the film. For now, once is enough but I have a feeling this one may creep back into the Family Movie Night rotation at some point. Even the trailer is hilarious:
- As the film began, Our Girl did moan about the subtitles but I think she was won over by the humor.
- There is a bit of language - not the best choice for the youngest of children, though Our Girl (age nine) didn't seem troubled by it.