A wacky inventor, his camera-crazy best friend and a madcap monkey make a Big mistake when let loose in the Professor's laboratory! With lotions and potions spilling everywhere, the troublesome trio accidentally create Franc, a musical talent of monstrous proportions. With the help of the beautiful but feisty singer Lucille, the team are on a mission to protect their new friend from the ghastly wannabe Mayor, Commissioner Maynott, who has a plan to increase his popularity by capturing Franc and revealing him to be a scary monster to the people of Paris.
From director Bibo Bergeron (‘Shark Tale’, ‘The Road to El Dorado’) comes a truly French animated feature 'A Monster in Paris’. It stars a flea, yes, a flea but this is no ordinary flea. This is a flea accidentally created by the 1910 Paris floods by two men, a shy projectionist Emile (Sebastian Desjours) and his best friend Raoul (Gad Elmaleh), a delivery boy. What was once a pest has become an overgrown monster, a mutant if you will. (It’s very Spider-man, the transformation, only it involves a flea.)
The mutation doesn’t end there; the flea is named Francoeur and has a beautiful, sweet voice too! Instead of being scared by it, Emile and Raoul befriend and hide it in a cabaret run by Lucille (Vanessa Paradis). In turn Lucille becomes the love interest of this flea monster, and yet watching the movie, it somehow works. As love blossoms between the two, conflict arises when a Prefet named Maynott (Francois Cluzet) is out to exterminate the giant flea.
To say that this sort of animation is not for kids is phooey. ‘A Monster in Paris’ has a Tim Burton quality to it and though the characters are designed askew and the mood seems grim, the movie has its own twee charm. Unfortunately, the animation is more given thought than story. If you want to see 1910 France in all its illuminating glory, ‘A Monster in Paris’ is eye candy. You will learn about art noveau, Paris, and even history of film. The rendering in 3D is unnecessary and overwhelming but it’s a good experiment. One of the most fanciful things about this movie is Vanessa Paradis’ duet with fellow pop star ‘M’ that you can’t help but tap your feet –or swoon—as you see and hear it.
Director Bibo Bergeron has made a leap from helming 2D fare but he still has to distinguish himself in terms of style and more importantly, storytelling. It’s not Pixar but so what? Hopefully, Bergeron will have its own stamp of animated greatness worth looking forward to.