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Monster in Paris, A (Blu-ray Review)

14 Apr, 2013 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Street 4/16/13
Shout! Factory
$14.97 DVD, $24.97 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG’ for some action violence involving gunplay, and mild rude humor.
Voices of Vanessa Paradis, Sean Lennon, Catherine O’Hara, Adam
Goldberg, Bob Balaban, Danny Huston, Jay Harrington.

The goodness of humanity wins out over one man’s evil plan in A Monster in Paris, an animated tale with heart set in 1910 France.

One day while playing around in a botanical garden laboratory they had no business being in, friends Raoul and Emile (voiced by Adam Goldberg and Jay Harrington, respectively) haphazardly concoct a potion that turns a flea into a menacing 7-foot-tall monster.

After spooking many unassuming villagers, including the ingénue from the local cabaret, Lucille (aptly voiced by French star Vanessa Paradis), things turn around for the haggard creature. Lucille hears him singing, welcomes him in to the lounge, gives him the name Francoeur (meaning “honest heart”), and propels him and his newfound talent (he immediately becomes a guitar virtuoso with impeccable dance moves and a killer voice) into the spotlight.

Reports of a monster bring out the ugly in police commissioner Maynott (Danny Huston), who seeks to capture and kill Francoeur for his own selfish ambition. This is where the danger and action come in, with a reckless car chase and subsequent showdown at the Eiffel Tower.

Sean Lennon as the sweet-sounding voice of Francoeur makes the odd creature all the more likable. In fact, my only complaint with the movie is that there weren’t more songs showcasing Lennon’s gift.

It wouldn’t be Paris without some sort of love story, and A Monster in Paris presents two. Circumstances align to prompt spunky delivery guy Raoul to act on his childhood crush, Lucille, while shy projectionist Emile (who is Elijah Woods’ animated doppelgänger) finally gets the courage to ask out his darling colleague, Maud (Madeline Zima).

The film has great detail (found in raindrops falling on Francoeur’s hat, the cobblestone-paved streets and the ripples in the flooded Seine River), memorable tunes and a feel-good message.

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