Reprinted from the Independent Weekly

A TOWN CALLED PANIC—French animators Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar capture an odd tone in this tale of stop-motion-animated toys dealing with such minor crises as ordering too many bricks over the Internet or underwater wall-stealers (it makes sense on screen, honest). The film is an expansion of a Belgian TV series distributed by Aardman Studios of Wallace and Gromit renown, though it looks nothing like those clay heroes. The animation, reminescent of the Adult Swim series Robot Chicken, contrasts the characters’ laid-back attitudes with the sheer absurdity that comes from watching a plastic cowboy, Indian and horse talk about birthday presents and penguin-shaped tanks. The result is inoffensive but presented at a hyperactive pace that might leave some viewers feeling like they’ve had too much sugar (or other, less legal substances). Once you adjust to the tone and the lack of plot, the result is frequently inventive and sometimes smile-inducing. Not rated. —ZS