A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No messages as such, but the film is a wonderful example of the pure joy associated with creativity and letting one's imagination take flight.
Positive Role Models
Despite their giant mistakes in judgment, the characters are loyal friends who will go to great lengths to help one another. They take everything, even the most outrageous catastrophes, in stride. Animals and humans interact as equals.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of cartoon action that is meant to be inventive and funny. No injuries or deaths -- everyone recovers in record time from even massive assaults. Stop-motion animated toys are victims of: tsunami, explosions, a fall to the core of the earth, an avalanche of bricks, evil scientists and their technology, a barracuda attack, a bear, and even a wooly mammoth.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two horses fall in love; they dance and flirt.
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A few mild profanities (heard in French, seen in English subtitles): "damn," "hell," "bastards," "smart-ass," "dumb-ass," "Sweet Jesus."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Beer and kir are served at an all-night birthday party; several characters drink too much.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Town Called Panic is a funny, unconventional animated (and subtitled) film that will appeal to a wide age range. The simplicity of the subtitles make it an ideal first foreign language film for young readers; even little kids who can't yet read will enjoy the physical comedy and the very funny sounds of the French dialogue as it is heard here. Still, it's not for everyone: It's high-speed, frenetic, with lots of cartoon action -- catastrophes of the highest order (falls, raging waters, some sharp-toothed creature attacks, burial by giant snowball, and more). There is a sprinkling of profanity -- spoken in French, translated into subtitles ("bastard," "ass," "damn," "hell"). One all-night party finds the multi-specied characters (animals and humans are interrelated in this film) drinking beer and kir, some to excess. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Quirky, creative, and very funny, this movie can be appreciated on multiple levels. Kids will laugh at the predicaments, the relationships, and the eccentrically original characters. For those who can read, it's a great introduction to subtitled movies. For adults it's a hilarious version of French language films that is both respectful and finds joy in self-parody (the spot-on rhythms of the characters' speech is priceless).
Some may find it absurd and shake their heads in disbelief, but given the onslaught of sophisticated 3-D, motion-capture, and computer-animated films in the marketplace, this film's dependence upon imagination, simplicity, and low-tech animation is a treat. A Town Called Panic is a little too long -- the pace is occasionally wearying and there may actually be too many adventures -- but the story is episodic so it could be viewed in parts.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.