Under the Radar DVD of the Week: 'A Town Called Panic'
This week, the most offbeat DVD to appear on release lists is:
“A Town Called Panic”
If a surreal, feature-length, stop-motion animation comedy starring a bunch of plastic toys, all speaking in French with English subtitles, sounds like your version of “Toy Story” hell, pass by “A Town Called Panic” (due out on DVD Tuesday).
But if you’re looking for a bracing counterpoint to the witty nostalgia of Pixar’s dazzling toy box, check out this inspired feature from first-time Belgian filmmakers Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar. It enjoyed a limited arthouse run under the distribution graces of Aardman Studios (“Wallace & Gromit’s” creative parents), and while the animation is studiously low-tech and rudimentary the writing is brilliant, sly and hilarious.
The tale, drawn from a cult Belgian TV series, centers on three plastic-toy pals – Cowboy, Indian and Horse – who live a rambling, rural papier-mache town called Panic. When Cowboy and Indian plan to surprise Horse with a brand new barbeque pit, they accidentally end up in possession of 50 million bricks, a bizarre online ordering glitch that sets them off on a truly weird adventure.
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