Published on January 25th, 2012 | by Jenny Foxe0
Movie review: A Monster in Paris
Had I gone to see this alone, this review would have been very different. Although I quite enjoyed the movie, I thought the characters a little too bland, that there was too much talking and way too much mushy stuff for it to appeal to kids. How little I know them. I took along four boys aged between 4 and 7 and they all loved it.
The lead character Emile (Jay Harrington) is a timid lovelorn cinema projectionist who gets dragged astray by his friend, delivery man and wacky inventor Raoul (Adam Golberg) when they meddle in a Professor’s laboratory to the horror of the resident monkey Charles. They manage to accidently create Franc (Sean Lennon) a monstrous gigantic flea. (Not of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers variety – unfortunately). The nasty Commissioner Maynott (Danny Huston) thinks his chances of becoming mayor will be improved if he can rid paris of the monster but Franc reveals his misunderstood artistic musical streak and becomes popular accompanying the feisty, beautiful singer Lucille (Vanessa Paradis) who coincidentally also happens to be the object of both Raoul’s and the Commissioner’s affections. The mission becomes to protect Franc from the Commissioner.
A Monster in Paris is directed by Bilbo Bergeron and it’s visually similar to Shark Tale apart from being set in 1910 Paris and not underwater. It doesn’t quite have the sparkle of Disney nor the polish of Pixar, yet it is appealing in a darker, more mature sort of way. I’m not sure at all why they bothered with the 3D as they did little with it. Although no Jessica Rabbit, Vanessa Paradis gives some fantastic close-to-burlesque performances as Lucille. I even felt like applauding her once. Personally, I thought the laughs were a bit sporadic but for days after I got ‘Wasn’t it funny in that movie when…’ from the smallies which makes me think maybe I just missed the slapstick appeal of the humour. One of the first characters to be introduced, Maud (Catherine O’ Hara) the lowly kiosk girl, doesn’t feature for the bulk of the movie and literally gets thrown back in at the end as a love interest, giving a disjointed impression and making me suspect a fair amount of scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. The monster Franc isn’t given much depth or humanity either and other than his wondrous musical ability there is no reason for the audience to wish him saved.
Overall, I’d give it a resounding Not At All Irritating For A Kids’ Movie. The kids with me liked it, it managed to keep my attention and I wouldn’t object to watching it again but I did feel like it could have been better. Well, it might’ve had Flea in it for a start. Oh yeah, and stay till the end of the credits.
A Monster In Paris in cinemas from 27th January showing in 2D and 3D