Town Called Panic, A (2009)

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Released 2-Mar-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Trailer
Deleted Scenes
Interviews-Cast
Featurette-Test Shots
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 73:58 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Stéphane Aubier
Vincent Patar
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Stéphane Aubier
Vincent Patar
Stéphane Aubier
Jeanne Balibar
Nicolas Buysse
Véronique Dumont
Bruce Ellison
Christine Grulois
Frédéric Jannin
Bouli Lanners
Brian Lykke
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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Plot Synopsis

    Some films simply cannot be done justice when their experience is put into words. A Town Called Panic is one such beast. The film is a little bit like Pingu for adults if it had been made by Monty Python's Belgian cousin. The film tells the stop-motion tale of a cowboy, an Indian and a horse who, platonically, live together in the small, three house, village of Panic. The trio embark on a series of adventures, largely in response to the destruction of their home. Sleeping in their neighbour, the farmer's barn the trio attempt to rebuild their home. Their efforts are are set back by a family of aquatic thieves and mad scientists, who have their own plans for the trio's possessions.

    The film is undoubtedly pitched to appeal to adults, however the filmmakers have been careful to keep everything suitable for kids. This works delightfully well as any double meanings are well chosen and the innocence the film presents works to enhance the gags and the general charm of the film.

    A Town Called Panic is a breath of fresh air. The film is bizarre and manages to work in plenty of humour to the story, rather than simply rely in its innate strangeness to garner laughs. Most of the time there are several amusing things happening in frame at once, which makes the film particularly rewatchable. The voices are expressive enough to tell the general story without the subtitles turned on, as they capture everything from the madcap to the quietly curious perfectly.

    There is no doubt that A Town Called Panic is and oddity, and one that may be a little too obscure for straight-laced viewers at that, however anyone intrigued by the concept is unlikely to be disappointed. Genuinely hilarious.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video looks good. A consistent degree of mild grain is present throughout. The colour palette is slightly muted, which adds to the notion that the whole thing was put together out of an old toybox. The blacks are a little on the grey side, but have a good level of depth.

    Slight haloing is occasionally noticeable around characters. The film is otherwise free from video nasties.

    The English subtitles are reasonably accurate and well timed.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The film features a single French Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track.

    The audio is decent, but nothing particularly noteworthy. Whilst a simple 2.0 track would generally be regarded as a disappointment for a recent film, the 2.0 audio serves the style of this film fairly well in its simplicity.

    The dialogue is clear and reasonably easy to discern despite many characters employing silly voices. The audio is in good sync to the video.

    The surrounds get a small degree of prologic use. Although there is no dedicated subwoofer channel, the subwoofer sees occasional use as the track has a good amount of low end in places.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Making Of Featurette (52:41)

    An overlong, though occasionally quite interesting "making of" featurette. Most viewers will want to fast forward to the interesting looking bits as there is a lot of padding, but the interesting bits certainly warrant a watch.

Interviews (4:57)

    Seven interview snippets with creators Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier. The pair go out of their way to seem quirky, which is amusing up to a point but quickly becomes tiresome.

Obsessive Compulsive Short Film (1:40)

    A short stop motion film chosen by A Town Called Panic's filmmakers as the winner of a competition tied into the film's release. Not interesting in the slightest.

Deleted Scenes (7:05)

    A series of deleted scenes from the film, including an alternate ending, in various stages of completion (in some cases only up to planning). Fairly amusing stuff, but in most cases you can see why it was trimmed. Also amusing is the subtitles for this lot, which print out HTML tags along with much of the text. Makes you wonder whether it was easier to just find fan-subs online rather than pay to get the extras translated.

Test Shots (2:17)

    Some interesting test shots of characters and sets, which probably give a better insight than the "making of" featurette into the production itself.

Image Gallery

    Production stills. Ho hum.

Trailer

    A short, rather amusing trailer for the film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 mirrors the Region 1 edition in terms of extras.

Summary

    A stop-motion comedy pitched at adults but tha works well for kids also. A Town Called Panic is a delightfully bizarre romp.

    The audio and video are good. The extras are quantity over quality, but largely worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
DisplayOptoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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