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A Town Called Panic
Aardman Animation

Another hit from the studio that brought Wallace and Grommet to the screen. This hysterically hyperkinetic adventure has charm in spades. Unlikely roommates Cowboy and Indian end up getting mixed up in more than they bargained for when they try to build their friend and landlord Horse the best birthday present ever and instead end up making a mess of epic proportions that turns their tiny town upside down. Based on the Belgian TV show shorts which originally aired under the French title, Panic Au Village .

Even being in French, I couldn’t help but instantly fall in love with the cheeky and adorably fun voice-work which goes perfectly with the fanciful, inventive, and charmingly crafted look of the film. The soundtrack is an absolute treat as well full of strut, bounce, and attitude while at other times providing a great background of ambiance. The Belgian influence shows through, mainly in the form of giant waffles. Someone get me some Nutella.

Underneath the deceptively simple exterior of the village is a teeming world of colorful characters and surreal experiences. The residents that inhabit the village are anything but flat and boast rich lives full of romance, dance parties, spelunking expeditions, architectural monoliths, secret military weaponry, grand theft tractor, crime solving, and undersea exploration all while trying to still make it in time for piano lessons. Even though it uses animated toys propped up on bobbing gobs of plasticine for characters this is a film primarily for adults while still being something kids will get a kick out of- without being too “adult”. There is nothing pretentious or ironic about it, it’s just pure delight. Catch this absolute gem while you can, it has cult favorite written all over it.

-Laura Gaddy