A Town Called Panic

Rated 4.0

Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar’s charmingly ridiculous stop-motion animation feature A Town Called Panic is based on a show the pair produced for Belgian television, but over here it plays like a daffier version of Fantastic Mr. Fox, except untucked and off the wall where Wes Anderson’s film was dapper and suave. A bunch of dithering toys—including the paternal Mr. Horse, who lives with the troublemaking Cowboy and Indian—live under Van Gogh-streaked skies in felt-covered, bucolic harmony. It lasts about 17 seconds—soon enough, an Internet order for 50,000,000 bricks has crushed Mr. Horse’s house, faceless sea creatures are pilfering his walls and he nearly misses his piano lessons when he gets sidetracked to the center of the Earth. Nothing sensible (or substantial) happens along the way, but the creative ride is brash and breathless.