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DVD Review: A Monster in Paris

August 14, 2012

A Monster in Paris – An Alliance Films’ Release

http://www.unmonstreaparis.com/

DVD Release Date: August 14th, 2012

Rated G for frightening scenes

Running time: 90 minutes

Bibo Bergeron (dir.)

Bibo Bergeron (screenplay)

Stéphane Kazandjian (screenplay)

Mathieu Chedid (music)

Vanessa Paradis as Lucille (voice)

Gad Elmaleh (Adam Goldberg in English) as Raoul (voice)

Sébastien Desjours (Jay Harrington in English) as Emile (voice)

Mathieu Chedid (Sean Lennon in English) as Francoeur (voice)

Our reviews below:

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A Monster in Paris DVD Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

When shy projectionist Emile (French voice of Sébastien Desjours) and his eccentric best friend Raoul (French voice of Gad Elmaleh) accidentally cause an explosion at a lab, they unknowingly unleash a giant flea onto the streets of Paris in 1910.  The gentle seven foot tall creature named Francoeur (French singing voice of Mathieu Chedid) is taken under the wing of lovely night club singer Lucille (Vanessa Paradis), where he is able to show off his beautiful singing voice and impressive guitar playing skills.  But it’s not long before he draws the attention of the police and it’s up to the three friends to protect him.

I’ve seen A Monster in Paris twice now, and there are a lot of things that I really admired about the film, which holds up quite well to repeat viewings.  The animation is impressive especially considering the budget and the music is beautiful and vibrant in a way that really helps the story come alive, making this a charming and unique film that comes recommended for those of all ages.

The DVD includes numerous “behind the scenes” featurettes, as well as the option to watch the film with both French and English voices.

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A Monster in Paris DVD Review By Erin V.  

***1/2 (out of 4)

Un Monstre à Paris takes place in 1910 Paris, where a monster is accidentally created by two friends, inventor Raoul (Gad Elmaleh) and filmmaker Émile (Sébastien Desjours), while they are making a delivery to a scientists lab.  But they soon realize that maybe this creation isn’t all bad, when singer Lucille (Vanessa Paradis) discovers the ‘monster’ has hidden musical talents.  When the local Commissioner Maynott (Francois Cluzet) hears of a monster loose in his city though, he becomes hellbent on destroying the creature.  Soon Raoul, Émile, and Lucille have to take it upon themselves to try to protect the ‘monster’ they have created…

This is a story of Paris, love, and music.  And the music is absolutely wonderful – both the score and songs written for the film.  Un Monstre à Paris definitely has a different feel than a lot of mainstream animated films, but that’s alright.  It is very well animated, and moves at its own pace with likable characters.  I would definitely highly recommend this one – I quite liked it and was glad to have given it a chance.

The DVD includes both the French and English dubs of the film (I’ve included the French voice names in my review).  I actually saw the English version first and then a few days later watched the French version.  Each gives a slightly different feel.  Interestingly, even if you watch the English and French versions of the trailer, you’ll notice such a different style of marketing for the same film – note that the French is far more accurate to the actual film in this case.

Definitely for those who have trouble with subtitles you’ll want to watch it in a language you understand.  What I liked though is that watching the English version allowed me to focus on the animation first (since I didn’t have to read as well), but the French version felt more natural for the film and helped me appreciate it even more.

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A Monster in Paris DVD Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Taking place during the Parisian floods of 1910, A Monster in Paris is a wonderfully charming musical for all ages.  When projectionist Émile (Sébastien Desjours) and inventor Raoul (Gad Elmaleh) start fidgeting with a chemist’s research projects, they, with the help of a cute monkey named Charles, accidentally create a huge creature with a beautiful singing voice and a great talent for guitar.

Meanwhile, a young singer named Lucille (Vanessa Paradis) is looking for a musical companion.  She discovers the creature, and due to his kind heart, names him Francoeur (Mathieu Chedid).  Émile, Raoul and Charles also realize that Francoeur is a gentle being who only wants to be loved.  Unfortunately, most people fear Francoeur and want him dead.  The local mayoral candidate, Commissioner Maynott (Francois Cluzet), takes advantage of this and hatches a plan to destroy him.  It is now up to Francoeur’s allies to protect him.

A Monster in Paris has everything you want in a family musical.  Inspired by animated classics such as Beauty and the Beast, the film tells a compelling tale without being too frightening for young viewers.  The animation captures the spirit of 1910 Paris.  The songs are really beautiful, and one may want to sing along.  The voice cast, both in English and French, is really good.  I would definitely recommend seeing A Monster in Paris in both languages.  It is a film worth owning, as it has the making of a classic.

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A Monster in Paris DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Set in 1910 Paris, A Monster in Paris is a charming and fun animated film that celebrates cabaret music and the truth that looks can be deceiving.  The monster in question is created when inventor/deliveryman Raoul (Gad Elmaleh) and his buddy, projectionist Émile (Sébastien Desjours) accidentally spill some potions at the professor’s lab while trying to make a delivery.  The only one at the lab is the professor’s assistant, an intelligent monkey named Charles.  When they realize what they’ve done and the monster escapes, a madcap chase begins.

The terrified monster ends up behind the cabaret and is discovered by pretty chanteuse, Lucille (Vanessa Paradis).  Realizing the monster, whom she names Francoeur (Mathieu Chedid) has a beautiful singing voice, Lucille takes him in not only to protect him from the arrogant Commissioner Maynott (Francois Cluzet) and his drive to ‘kill the monster’ but also to enhance her own singing career by having Franc be her duet partner.

The singing scenes in the cabaret are delightful.  The music in this movie is sophisticated and charming and feels like 1910 Paris.  The chase scenes throughout the city are both silly and dramatic at times.  The youngest of viewers may find some of the drama a little scary.  Visually this is a really nice movie to look at.  There is a lot of attention to detail and it very much has a French feel to it.

I watched the movie twice, first with the English dub and then in French with English subtitles, finding the latter to really bring out the movie’s charm.  For viewers, especially children who won’t or can’t read subtitles, the English version is still a lot of fun.  If you are a fan of animated films or enjoy the Parisian atmosphere of 1910 then A Monster in Paris (Un Monstre à Paris) is worth adding to your collection.

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A Monster in Paris DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Un Monstre à Paris is an animated fantasy action comedy set in Paris during the 1910 flood when the Seine was about 6 m above its normal level, requiring large scale evacuation on its banks but leaving the higher ground around Montmartre unscathed. The timid projectionist Emile, on an errand with the reckless Raoul in his delivery truck “Christine” visits a greenhouse where an absent scientist has left the monkey Charles in charge. Messing with some chemicals, Raoul sets off an explosion that turns a flea into a 2 m tall “monster” that causes panic in the city.

Meanwhile, at the Montmartre Cabaret L’Oiseau Rare (Rare Bird Club), the singer Lucille is fending off the affections of Préfet Maynott, who hopes to use his handling of the flood and monster situations as a springboard to his election as mayor. Lucille discovers the monster behind the theatre with an amazing singing voice and takes him in. Naming him Francoeur, she hides him in her dressing room disguised in a suit, mask and hat. Along with his voice, Francoeur is gifted on the guitar and has some nice dance moves so he is headlined with Lucille. Maynott soon discovers his identity leading to a wild chase involving everyone.

Having watched Un Monstre à Paris both in the original French (with English captions) and dubbed into English, I would recommend the original for all but the youngest children. The dub is not bad, the only noticeable gaffe being the unnecessary translation of the colour aubergine to eggplant. The difference in address between Emile and Maude (using the formal “vous”) and between Raoul and Lucille (using the intimate “tu”) is a more subtle loss in translation. With only Vanessa Paradis as Lucille in common, both language casts are good. Mathieu Chedid (aka M) provides the French singing voice of the nonverbal Francoeur with Sean Lennon as his English counterpart. Except for the closing credits sung by M, the charming songs (also written by M) are translated into English, which, like opera in English, can never be quite as good as the original language.

Though not outstanding, Un Monstre à Paris provides solid family entertainment. Along with the lovely music, the stylized and beautifully rendered characters and setting in Paris (right between the two nostalgia periods of Midnight in Paris) are irresistible. The Art Nouveau credits over a nice selection of concept drawings add to the charm. Largely overlooked since its 2011 French release, Un Monstre à Paris is definitely worth seeing now that it is out on DVD.

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Consensus: With nicely done animation and beautiful musical numbers, A Monster in Paris is a charming and unique animated film from France that is worth seeing for those of all ages.  ***1/4 (Out of 4)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. franie permalink
    March 15, 2013 3:05 pm

    Love the preview when can I buy this movie for my grandkids Franke

    Like

    • March 15, 2013 8:40 pm

      It’s been out on DVD in Canada since August, (the version we reviewed), and is available on Amazon right here. But the film is set to get a much wider release as a Blu-ray combo pack come April 16th, including a 3D copy.

      We hope you are able to find a copy and enjoy the film with your grandkids!

      -John C.

      Like

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