With all the exciting spring releases, it was easy to miss a little French film titled, “A Monster in Paris.” Personally, I make it a point to keep an eye out for the less publicized gems that occasionally slip through all the hype. Being both a foreign and animated film, “A Monster in Paris” was slowly grasping positive international acclaim when I sat down to watch the Blu-ray. I’m, generally, a huge fan of foreign animated features.
Renowned animation Director, Bibo Bergeron (Shark Tale) brings us a sweet little musical tale of a tiny, innocent flea who finds himself in extraordinary circumstances when he is accidentally made seven feet tall. The film is a treat for the eyes, bringing us lovely Parisian backdrops, giant sunflowers, and emotive characters. I never thought I could feel so much for a giant insect who finds his niche in the performing arts.
The trouble is, that is extent of what I felt for any of the characters. What the film wins out on for originality and captivating animation, it severely lacks in storyline. The small homage to classic monster movies is refreshing and a beautiful idea, but the flea’s personal tale is the best (and smallest) part of “A Monster in Paris.” In fact, the story has an entire host of other characters. The plot really belongs to Emile (Jay Harrington), a projectionist, and Raoul (Adam Goldberg), an inventor, who team up with a singer named Lucille (Vanessa Paradis) to save the flea from police. The English version boasts voices such as Vanessa Paradis, Adam Goldberg, Jay Harrington, Catherine O’Hara, and even Sean Lennon. Yet, despite the talent involved, you frankly lose the story when the flea is not on camera.
Another shortcoming are the musical numbers. For an animated feature advertised as a musical masterpiece, I feel as if i should at least have been humming a tune or two as the end credits rolled. "A Monster in Paris” suffers from being a wonderful idea that was not imagined to its fullest potential. As an audience, we can see bits and pieces, but nothing worth the second watch.