A Monster in Paris – A Review & Feel-Good Friday All In One!

Hello friends!  I hope your Friday is off to a grand start!  Normally ‘Feel Good Friday’ is of a musical nature, but this Friday I thought I’d share a review I wrote for a movie I watched back in the summertime… I hope you enjoy taking a look at ‘A Monster in Paris!’


 

monsterinparis

Director:  Bibo Bergeron

Starring:  Matthieu Chedid, Vanessa Paradis, Gad Elmaleh

Rating:  B+

Initial Thoughts:  A giant singing, dancing, guitar-playing flea?  Paris in the early 1900’s?  Farcical shenanigans?  Sign me up!


I don’t know about you, but as a non-child-rearing human, I don’t watch a ton of animated content.  Sure, we love Disney and Pixar in this household, but it’s a rare occurrence that I find myself totally engrossed in an animated film that doesn’t come from a powerhouse studio.

So how did I find myself watching ‘A Monster in Paris?’

You guessed it:  a combination of Netflix browsing and a desire to balance out some of the more downer/creepy content I’m more inclined to consume!  I’d tossed ‘A Monster in Paris’ (originally ‘Un monstre à Paris’)  into my queue awhile ago, but was hesitant to actually start it, fearful that it wouldn’t fit the bill for background noise; I thought it might be in French and seeing as how I don’t speak a lick of it, I was saving it for when I could devote my attention to reading subtitles.  It turns out that while it is indeed French, the version offered via Netflix is in English, so it’s perfect for background noise!  But good luck focusing on your work, because this little gem is so delightful, you’ll instantly be transported to the world of the film.

Here’s a quick overview!

Paris, 1910. Emile, a shy movie projectionist, and Raoul, a colorful inventor of sorts, find themselves embarked on the hunt for a monster terrorizing citizens. They join forces with Lucille, the big-headed but also big-hearted star of the Rare Bird cabaret, and an irascible monkey to save the monster, who turns out to be an over-sized but harmless flea (and also a talented musician), from the city’s ruthlessly ambitious police chief.

‘A Monster in Paris’ checks a few important boxes for me:

  1. It has a delightful 90 minute run-time.
  2. It’s gorgeous to behold—the big song-and-dance sequences are so dreamy—even if it lacks the polish of Disney and Pixar films.
  3. The songs are catchy and fun!  I especially love the renditions and instrumental callbacks to ‘La Seine’.
  4. The English version isn’t simply dubbed over, so the voices match the mouth-movements.  This probably isn’t a huge deal to some folks, but it makes for a more enjoyable viewing experience for me personally.

I do wish there had been more development of the flea character, Francoeur.  We sympathize more with him because of how beloved he is by Lucille (played by Vanessa Paradis in both the French and English casts) and the rest of the characters.  But his characterization overall is a bit thin and it shows throughout.  Speaking of thinness, the whole plot seems a bit filled in between the major points, but overall, it’s not enough to snap one from the world of early 1900’s France and giant singing, dancing, guitar-playing flea.

Final Thoughts:  I don’t think that this film will make a huge splash among any stateside audiences, but if you’re searching for something new to entertain some young children, or you just want to take a little animated journey for yourself, I definitely recommend checking out ‘A Monster in Paris!’


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I feel alive when I’m beside La Seine

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