Monday, May 13, 2013

Family Movie Night: A Town Called Panic

Title: A Town Called Panic
Directors: Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar
Original Release: 2009
Choice: Mine
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Image via 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:

Cross-generational considerations:
  • 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.


  1. Replies
    1. Empire Magazine called it "Toy Story on absinthe." I've never tried absinthe but from what I know of it, A Town Called Panic pulls one in quite the opposite direction.

  2. Sounds like the sense of fun this inspired merited more than three stars?

    1. It's another high 3, Suze. Again, as with others, I reserve the right to change my mind - especially if it's one Our Girl asks for again someday. For children's movies, at least for now, I do think her opinion is more important than my own.