Village au panique

[Screenshot]This was screened at UofL, but I missed it, so I went back and got it on Netflix. It is one weird film. It’s apparently based on a TV series with similar production values and logic. Although nobody comes out and says it outright, I kinda get the vague impression the core demographic for the TV series is stoners; it’s got that blend of low-budget quirk, lack of cohesion, and vague similarity to children’s programming that folks totally eat up when high. The film perhaps shows a greater cohesiveness: there’s a plot, although it’s totally absurd. Nonetheless, I am not entirely sure I ever really engaged this peculiar movie the way it ought to be enjoyed. The animation is very crude, almost certainly deliberately so and intrinsically unimmersive. Most of the characterizations and situations are fundamentally infantile: in fact, I had the impression while watching it that the plot might have come from the story-ramblings of a four-year-old. I always watch a film with an eye to what experience is being delivered, and here the experience honestly felt pretty patronizing and simplistic. Which may be my fault, really! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea; the artistic crudity was somewhat intriguing, but it didn’t seem to really serve too much purpose aside from establishing “indie-cred” bonafides (and being less expensive, I suppose). Other than the deliberately crude model posing and low frame rate, the technical aspects were pretty respectable: voice acting was one-note but servicable, and the sets and models were actually fairly detailed (but easy to underestimate since they were so stylized).

Maybe it would make more sense if I had some familiarity with the underlying TV show. I can well imagine this sort of disjointed, vignette-style animation working well in the 10-minute or 15-minute storylet format. Stretched out to almost 2 hours, the whimsy starts to run a bit thin.

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia.


About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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