directors Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner
It would be understandable if you watched the French/Belgian animated production, Ernest & Celestine, and didn’t right away make the connection that it was co-directed by the team that brought us A Town Called Panic (2009). We watched it and didn’t make that immediate connection (though we spotted the poster for A Town Called Panic in the bedroom of one of the characters). A Town Called Panic has been one of my kids’ favorite movies of all time.
It’s a totally different style of film. Ernest & Celestine is a traditionally cel animated film with a look-and-feel of illustrations, adapted from a series of books with a style akin to that of the original material (whereas A Town Called Panic was stop-motion animation.) And where aspects of the humor have some similarities in sensibility, Ernest & Celestine is a much more straight-forward tale as opposed to the uber-anarchy of A Town Called Panic.
Ernest & Celestine is the unlikely story of a friendship between a bear and a mouse in a world in which bears live on the surface while mice live below ground, and the economy is oddly driven through teeth. The two communities are in utter horror of one another, though the mice steal bear teeth to replace their own when they fail, and little mice, like Celestine, are forced to sneak into the bear world to collect teeth as real-world tooth fairies.
The American version features voices of Forest Whitaker, Lauren Baccall, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, and others, and is a charming, odd, story, more fun than logical.
The kids both enjoyed it, though doubtlessly less than A Town Called Panic. Still, something worth recommending outside of American animation productions.