Okay… This movie was weird… very very weird…
It’s quite likely that most of you have never heard of this film unless you happen to be French. This is basically a stop-motion animated French film animated with plastic toys about the misadventures of a Horse, a Cowboy, and an Indian [no, I will not call the character Native American because 1) that’s the character’s name in the film, and 2) he’s not American, he’s French, so let’s drop it and move on].
Watching this movie was intriguing and entertaining but very confusing. The primary reason for this was because it was so random. It felt like the filmmakers were making the movie as you were watching it and they kept throwing stuff at you because the cameras kept rolling and the movie needed to keep going. I’ve seen quite a few French movies including some animated French films, and although they are quite weird, most of them aren’t this disjointed or random. They may be weird but they usually establish their rules at the beginning and then follow those rules, while this film has no rules established and instead opts for a method that reveals what they will and won’t do as the film goes along (and there’s very little they won’t do).
I kept puzzling over this film, wondering what its agenda was or what it was trying to present me with. So I did some research into this film and I found out that this movie comes from an animated television show that is essentially the Wallace and Gromit of France. Suddenly, everything clicked into place and this movie made perfect sense.
To give you an idea of what happens in this movie, I’ll try my best to sum it up. As I said earlier it follows the misadventures of Horse, Cowboy, and Indian. The film starts on Horse’s birthday and Cowboy and Indian have forgotten it, and therefore have forgotten to get him a present. They find a way to get him out of the house and decide to build him a barbeque. However, they accidentally order 50 million bricks instead of the 50 they want and have to hide all the bricks before Horse gets home. That’s the first 10 minutes. Cowboy and Indian are able to hide the bricks and throw a successful party for Horse, however they decided to hide the 50 million bricks on the roof of their house, and that act ends up completely demolishing their house. The situation spirals more and more out of control and things go completely bonkers from there.
As soon as I discovered that this film spun off from a TV show, everything started to make sense to me. I think the reason for this is because it’s structured like a long animated TV episode. The Simpsons is a show that has mastered the technique of starting out as one story and have it completely transform organically into a whole other story, only to have it circle back into the first story by the time the episode has ended. As far as structure goes, this movie does that really well. That’s the most unusual aspect of this film. The structure feels very freeform and goes all over the place, but other than that it very much plays out like you would think a French Wallace and Gromit would be. The wacky characters are very fun, although not out of the ordinary from many other stop-motion animated films, American or European. (You ever notice how stop-motion/claymation films are generally weirder and more “out there” than computer [or 2D] animated films? Weird, huh?)
All in all, this movie’s a lot of fun. If you like Wallace and Gromit and/or French people (that’s one thing I forgot to mention: the characters are incredibly French, which makes sense I suppose) you’re most likely to enjoy this movie. If you prefer your movies to be more similar to white bread sandwiches mirroring your poor uneventful lives, then by all means, avoid this movie like the plague.
Coming up next: We are continuing with an international tour of animation! Next stop: Japan!