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Friday, February 19, 2010

Movie Review: A Town Called Panic

A Town Called Panic - A Films We Like Release


Release Date: February 5th, 2009 at AMC Yonge & Dundas

Rated G for mild language

Running time: 73 minutes

Stéphane Aubier (dir.)

Vincent Patar (dir.)

Stéphane Aubier (writer)

Vincent Patar (writer)

Stéphane Aubier as Cowboy (voice)

Bruce Ellison as Indian (voice)

Vincent Patar as Horse (voice)

Jeanne Balibar as Madame Longrée (voice)

Our reviews below:


A Town Called Panic Review By John C.

** (out of 4)

A Town Called Panic is a strange, bizarre and downright weird animated film from Belgium. It has all the manic appeal of something an amateur animator would make. Some of it is clever and inventive, and there are a few moments of hilarity. But is it good? Well, good is a relative term. To someone else it might be. But for me, it’s not.

The first 15-20 minutes, where Cowboy and Indian are celebrating Horse’s birthday, is amusing. But once the film took a trip to the North Pole, and then to a weird underwater world with ugly fish-men, it completely lost me. It ends on a strange and confusing note, after it should have been over 55-minutes earlier. And it’s only 73-minutes long.

It’s a mildly interesting experiment, but nothing more. After seeing so many rave reviews as it made its way through the festival circuit, I get the appeal, but I’m just not sure what people think is so amazing about this thing.

Like I said, the first act is amusing. The second and third act just feel like a joke that has long since stopped being funny. There are a few good things about the film, but nowhere near enough to sustain it for a feature length film. It’s mildly worth checking out once, just for the strangeness of it all, and who knows, maybe you’ll be in the camp that likes it.


A Town Called Panic Review By Erin V.

**3/4 (out of 4)

In A Town Called Manic ---> Panic, Cowboy and Indian are trying to find Horse a birthday present at the last minute. Once that is sorted out (kind of) it seems as though the tale is over, until more stuff happens - tons of seemingly random stuff. The characters get the walls of their house stolen, end up under the sea, and in the arctic with mad scientists inside of a giant snowball throwing robot penguin. Now, if this kind of manic sequence of ideas interests you, you might really like this film.

Granted, it was quite funny at times, and there were a couple of lines that I really laughed out loud at - but I was never quite sure if I was just laughing at the unexpected absurdity of it all, as things and lines happened rather out of the blue here it seemed. One consistent in the film though, is that everyone is panicking for one reason or another... In a hyper, “I forgot to do this which led to that, so now I’ll impulsively find some way that appears to fix this new problem, but doesn’t really”, kind of way.

The length of A Town Called Panic is 73 minutes long which felt like it extended a little bit longer then it maybe needed to, (and felt like the longest that I would sit watching it for). Still, it was fast paced enough to keep me entertained.

Basically, it was silly and didn’t make much sense most of the time, but I do admit that I kind of liked it. It’s very different and I would recommend at least checking it out (on DVD), either if you were amused by the trailer or are a fan of the original show. I was stuck on my rating for this one, and ended up finally giving it just under 3 stars. As a theatrical release, I couldn't really give it any more, but it's close for me - I found it amusing, but more for DVD.


A Town Called Panic Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of four)

Based on a Belgium television program, A Town Called Panic is a strange, manic journey through land and sea. Animated entirely with action figures, this wild and silly stop-motion film stars Cowboy, Indian, and Horse. It is Horses’ birthday, and Cowboy and Indian are looking for a present. This leads to a series of mishaps, which brings the trio underwater to these strange fish people. The story sort of made sense, until the part about the fish people.

This movie would have been better as a short film, as it is a little long at 76 minutes. I have not seen the TV program, so I can’t really comment on how the program might compare. Apparently, all the characters from the TV show are in the movie, including Madame Longrée, the hoof piano teacher, whom Horse falls in love with in the movie. But unless you are familiar with the TV show, the movie makes no sense. That being said, however, A Town Called Panic is worth checking out, as it does contain some laughs, and is different enough to see once.

Parents should be forewarned that the original French version has swearing in it, as does the subtitled version. (I have not seen the dubbed version, so I can’t comment). A Town Called Panic is a quirky film that would be just as good on DVD.


A Town Called Panic Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

A Town Called Panic could just as easily be called A Town Called Manic. Based on a popular stop-motion animated TV series in Belgium, A Town Called Panic is 73 minutes of totally over the top, oddly laugh out loud funny, mania.

The main characters, Cowboy, Indian, and Horse (Cheval) are basically plastic toys that are moved around in jerky stop-motion. The storyline is completely surreal and convoluted. I suppose it would help to know the original TV series. The film’s official website www.atowncalledpanic.com helps put things into perspective.

If you are an older teen or adult who is interested in all types of animation then this one’s for you. Just be prepared for a wild ride.


A Town Called Panic Review By Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

Panique au Village is a stop-motion animated feature based on the Belgian series of several years ago. With a lot of running gags, it is easy to see why it has a loyal cult following, but as a 73 minute feature, it was harder to sustain than the individual five minute shorts it was based on. Having never seen the series, I found it difficult to follow at times, particularly when it descended into subterranean and submarine worlds, but its flights of absurd fantasy provided lots of delightful surprises.

With its main characters of cowboy, Indian and horse action figures moving jerkily with weird voices through a papier maché world, it will not appeal to everyone, but is worth checking out.


Consensus: A Town Called Panic is a film interesting enough to see once. Though its strange, manic qualities are somewhat appealing, if you're not familiar with the original series, it is confusing, and doesn't have quite enough to sustain itself for 73 minutes. **1/2 (Out of 4)

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