Many of you have probably never heard of A Monster In Paris and that’s really a shame because it’s a real gem. Honestly, I had never heard of it either until I sat down and watched the Blu-ray. I judged this movie by its cover (which happens to be one of the film’s main themes) and boy was I pleasantly surprised.
A Monster In Paris is a 2011 French animated film produced by Bibo Films, the animation studio founded by the film’s director Bibo Bergeron (director of Shark Tale). Unfortunately, the film never made it to US theatres because it wasn’t a commercial success despite being critically acclaimed. But as a consolation prize, at least we’re getting a home media release.
The Film: ★★★ 1/2
Set in 1910 Paris, A Monster In Paris follows a wacky inventor, his best friend and a hair-brained monkey as they sneak into a mad-scientist’s labratory and start playing with his potions. Things are all fun and games until a flee lands in the potion and grows to the size of a human. The flee hops away in the city, scaring the Parisian denizens in the process. This “monster” is taken in by a cabaret singer, Lucille, who disguises him and names him Francoeur. Now the trio must figure out how to protect the flee from the egotistical police commisioner, Maynott, before he crushes the bug for good.
I wasn’t really feeling the movie during the beginning, but the second Lucille started singing “La Seine aand I Cabaret” I was smitten. The songs in A Monster In Paris, while scarce, are fantastic. I wasn’t expecting the film to have such great songs, but they progressed the plot perfectly and definitely endeared me to Francoeur and Lucille’s characters. (Francoeur, through a side effect of his transformation, turns out to be a fantastic singer and musician.)
The CGI animation was low budget and definitely not Pixar or Disney caliber, but don’t let that deter you. I found myself enjoying the film because of the simplicity of the animation. I applaud Bibo Films for working with what they had and still putting out a great looking product. Although certain scenes did stand out, particularly the cabaret duet dancing and Paris panoramic shots.
Here’s an interesting trivia tidbit for you. While watching the movie, I watched the mouths of the characters as they spoke and marvelled at how incredibly perfect and in sync the dub was. Well, it turns out that even though the film was originally released in French, the animation was synched to the English voice cast during production and the French version got the dub. Who knew?
The Features: 0 stars
Unfortunately, there weren’t any. I actually was pretty excited to watch a making-of or listen to a director’s commentary, but since there were zero special features, I have to give them a big fat zero.
A Monster In Paris is a unique take on the classic learn-to-love-a-monster tale à la The Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera. The story is good, the music is great, and it’s an all around fun film. Don’t judge this monster by its cover because you’ll miss out on a beauty.
A Monster In Paris is available to purchase on April 16, 2013. The 3-disc Blu-ray includes Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, DVD and digital copies.