"Hilarious and frequently surreal, the stop–motion extravaganza A Town Called Panic has endless charms and raucous laughs for children from eight to eighty. Based on the Belgian animated cult TV series (which was released by Wallace & Gromits Aardman Studios), Panic stars three plastic toys named Cowboy, Indian and Horse who share a rambling house in a rural town that never fails to attract the weirdest events.
Cowboy and Indians plan to gift Horse with a homemade barbeque backfires when they accidentally buy 50 million bricks. Whoops! This sets off a perilously wacky chain of events as the trio travel to the center of the earth, trek across frozen tundra and discover a parallel underwater universe of pointy–headed (and dishonest!) creatures. Each speedy character is voiced – and animated – as if they are filled with laughing gas. With panic a permanent feature of life in this papier–mâché burg, will Horse and his equine paramour – flame–tressed music teacher Madame Longray (Jeanne Balibar) – ever find a quiet moment alone? A sort of Gallic Monty Python crossed with Art Clokey on acid, A Town Called Panic is zany, brainy and altogether insane–y!."
"Doesn't a picture that declares, 'This is not a pipe,' undercut our expectation that representation will give us the thing – in this case, the pipe – itself? The difficulty it presents is no accident. Magritte was perhaps unique among the visual artists of this century in the depth of his philosophical lore. Another of his pipe dreams contains a depiction of a pipe on a blackboard under which 'This is not a pipe' is inscribed in a schoolmasterly hand. Floating above the blackboard Magritte depicts a kind of Platonic pipe. By virtue of its disproportionate size and free–floating dislocation, this utopian pipe is made to seem a mirage, while the depiction of a pipe, comfortably ensconced in its frame, enjoys a higher ontological dignity. The superficial contrast between the flat, two–dimensional blackboard pipe and the Platonic or transcendental overpipe is subverted, and it dawns on us that it is the picture of the pipe that we know, not the pipe in itself."
(Flint Schier, 23 January 1983, The New York Times)
Fig.1 La Trahison des images (Ceci n'est pas une pipe), 1929; Fig.2 René Magritte – Die zwei Mysterien, 1966, "Die Pfeife ist keine Pfeife", (Ceci n'est pas une Pipe)