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A Town Called Panic

86 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Hilarious and delightfully wacky, the stop-motion extravaganza A Town Called Panic has endless charms and raucous laughs for children and adults alike. Based on the Belgian cult TV series (released by Wallace & Gromit's Aardman Studios), Panic stars three plastic toys named Cowboy, Indian and Horse who share a rambling house in a rural town that never fails to attract the craziest events.

Cowboy and Indian's plan to surprise their pal Horse with a homemade barbeque pit goes awry when the 50 million bricks they accidentally ordered online show up on their doorstep. This sets off a raucous chain of events as the trio travels to the center of the earth, treks across frozen tundra (complete with a giant snowball-throwing robot penguin) and discovers a parallel underwater universe of treacherous, pointy-headed creatures. And with panic a permanent feature of life in this papier-mâché burg, will Horse and his equine girlfriend the flame-tressed music teacher Madame Longray (Jeanne Balibar) ever find a quiet moment alone? A Town Called Panic is zany, brainy and altogether insane-y!

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES
- New anamorphic transfer, created from new HD elements
- La Fabrique de Panique (52 minutes): A new behind-the-scenes documentary
- Video interviews with directors Vincent Patar and Stephane Aubier
- Obsessive Compulsive: a new short made especially for this DVD release, chosen by the filmmakers as the winner of Zeitgeist's Panic Stop-Motion Animation Contest
- Deleted scenes
- Test shot comparisons
- Photo gallery
- U.S. theatrical trailer

Amazon.com

Writer-directors Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar spun this nutty feature off their Belgian TV series A Town Called Panic (Panique au Village, 2000). When Cowboy and Indian decide to build a barbecue as a birthday gift for their friend and roommate Horse, they inadvertently order a zillion bricks, rather than the 50 the project requires. The weight of so much masonry causes the house to collapse, and a string of increasingly absurd complications ensues. The stop-motion animation is much cruder than the work in Coraline or Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. Even the main characters have only a few articulations, and the directors avoid close-ups, so they don't have to animate facial expressions or lip-synch dialogue. The result feels like something an aspiring film student might make using old plastic toys. Many viewers (and critics) embraced the anarchic humor of A Town Called Panic; less sanguine audience members dismissed it as the animated equivalent of an old Cheech and Chong movie: something that's funny if you're stoned, but isn't if you're not. The extras include a making-of documentary, interviews with directors Aubier and Patar, and an assortment of deleted scenes and tests--more material than such a marginal film really warrants. (Unrated, suitable for ages 10 and older: cartoon violence, ethnic stereotypes) --Charles Solomon

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jeanne Balibar, Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar
  • Directors: Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: July 20, 2010
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003H0ZHGM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,497 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Town Called Panic" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Nate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 1, 2010
Format: DVD
One of my earliest memories is of sitting outside in the snow and a big jacket, with my Playskool plastic barn and assorted barn animals, toy cars, soldiers and such. I spent hours, everywhere, arranging these figures, hurling them through the sky, burying them under rocks, occasionally melting or dissecting them, inventing crazy situations where they could interact, play, attack and relax. None of them, I expect, were as exhilaratingly intense or as laugh-out-loud-funny as the bizarre adventures that directors Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar invent for Cowboy, Indian, Horse and their assorted cohorts in this whimsical and clever stop-motion animated film.

Cowboy and Indian are careless and carefree. They live together in a big house with the somewhat more dignified Horse, who enjoys chocolate-covered hay and has a thing for the beautiful music teacher, Ms. Longree. It's Horse's birthday, and Cowboy and Indian forgot to get a present, so they get frantic. They decide to build him a brick barbecue, but they don't have enough bricks, so they order some online but instead of the 50 they need they accidentally order 500000000000000000000 or some such ridiculous number of bricks. Towering the extra bricks on top of the house turns out not to be such a good idea; and when they try to rebuild their broken house out of stray bricks, the funny thing is that someone keeps stealing their walls, and now they all have to work together to resolve the mystery.

I saw this with my kids, but in a theater where there were mostly adults, and everyone was busting up at the absurdly over-the-top scenarios that felt like the spontaneous result of whimsical and inventive storytellers with lots of plastic toys at their disposal.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By S. Wilson on April 28, 2010
Format: DVD
VERY RANDOM this little movie is! The characters are all toys and not even toys that necessarily go together all that well. For example, the plastic farmer's wife is quite a bit bigger than the plastic farmer. It's almost as though someone dug through his toy box and created a movie with what he found there. There was never a dull moment. We certainly didn't know what to expect next. Spurious bursts of laughter were breaking out around us from fellow theater patrons throughout.

"A Town Called Panic" is clever, creative, cute, bizarre, silly entertainment appropriate for a rainy day or after dark family outing or even a date night, especially if it can be seen at an inexpensive theater. In my family, the 5 of us range in age from 14-60 and we all enjoyed it. The dialog is in French, but there are English subtitles. I think we left the theater sort of shaking our heads, wondering WHAT exactly WAS that we'd just seen, but then we rehashed various things all the way home, laughing as we did! It's been a few weeks since we saw it and we're still laughing about a couple things. We plan to see it again someday and perhaps even buy our own copy. Random. Yes, random.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By mumzonline on September 19, 2010
Format: DVD
My kids love Wallace and Grommit. So when I saw this on the shelf I thought it might be worth a try. I had never heard of it before. The first viewing of the movie was with an eight year old boy, 2 five year old boys and 3 grown ups. My eight year old son provided the subtitle translation to the youngest viewers. I'm not kidding when I say that there was spontaneous laughter from ALL age groups at the SAME time. This little film is VERY VERY FUNNY. It will suck you in parents, don't think you can put this on for your kids and turn away, it will certainly get your attention. I thoroughly recommend this movie. I am going to have to buy it. It has been requested everyday since renting. Love this movie.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Justice Lee on July 24, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very simple, but dear god is this a delightful nugget of creative randomness. Simply marvelous and a joy to watch. It touches on that little spot in your imagination back when you didn't care that you had your Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles toys show up to help your G.I. Joes toys out of some crazy scheme thought up by your Skeletor toy
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I first caught this on the Independent Film Channel on cable, and it is one of the most insanely funny things I've ever seen. Constantly inventive and surprising, I don't know why it was completely overlooked by the 2010 Oscars for best animated feature, for it clearly deserved at least a nomination (even more glaring an oversight for a year that had relatively few nominees) Watch it and be prepared to laugh hard. On blu-ray the minimalist design pops in amazing detail and clarity. In French with English subtitles (though the film is 99% visual with very little dialog)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cathryn Sells on June 18, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the perfect movie to have in the house to break out when you need to jolly up. It's quirky, crazy, and insane. I can't wait to watch it again and again and again. It's worth having a special party just to share it with your favorite friends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Gordon on July 7, 2011
Format: DVD
This is intentionally low tech animation of a high order.

A series of absurd, barely connected story-lines shapes this visit to a
high energy stop-motion animation world, where the characters all move
around just fine, thank you, regardless of the fact that they mostly
have plastic bases to which their feet are welded. There's something of
old, silent film slapstick here, along with a Monty Python sense of the
humor of weirdness.

On the other hand, I found it a bit hit and miss. There were certainly
many sections that I found entertaining and wonderful, but there were
some lulls as well. Some who are familiar with the film's origins (a
series of 5-10 minute shorts made for Belgian TV) felt it played better
in smaller doses, and I can see that.

But still, this is a very inventive, fun, one-of-a-kind film, and
that's always to be embraced and applauded.
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