1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
So good I watched it twice! In succession!,
This review is from: A Monster in Paris [DVD] (DVD)
Having struggled through twenty minutes of Despicable Me on LF, I decided not for me and picked this independent animated film at random. It started off well, in the vain of older animated films, some punchy dialogue and cutesy comedy while setting up the characters and a storyline that is so well woven into the film, you could miss it, but its there. (A second viewing helps fill the gaps!). It trundles along pleasantly with intelligent, amusing script, tossing in a little classic slapstick, reminiscent of Disney circa the Aristocats era.
THEN SUDDENLY, Francouer begins to sing, the angelic voice of Sean Lennon piercing the air and I literally sat upright [in a Simon Cowell sort of fashion]. Ever want to score a flea a sympathy vote? Give it Lennon's voice, wow! From that moment I was hooked and hung on every scene, as the film gained momentum, to a finish where I was hopeful for a happy ending for all the heroic characters but especially Francouer (he's a flea for heavens sake, why should I be rooting for him? But I was!). Surely one misunderstood, society branded "monster" deserves a good turn?
There were a few twists along the way along with many flashes of inspiration from classic "society monster" moral tales such as Phantom, King Kong, Hunchback, Beauty & the Beast and Frankenstein - even Edward Scissorhands as we watch Francouer's initial, clumsy interactions with a new world. Combined with good quality animation, an amazing, toe-tapping, well choreographed soundtrack (which is worth getting in English and French editions), a lovely period, Parisian setting, great costumes (especially Francouer) and heaps of feel good factor, this film oozes charm, elegance and likeable characters that satisfies both adults and children alike, especially if you are a fan of the above stories. There is an effortless, quirky charm to French films (think Amelie) and this film does not disappoint.
I liked it so much I watched it a second time straight away and it was just as good again. It still is and I am after the French version as I am longing to see it in its native language. Although I prefer Lennon's voice for Francouer, having seen the Monster in Paris sequence sung by the original French actor (and composer), Matthieu Chedid (-M-), in French its impact is somehow greater for the unwanted fate brought upon this confused and humble flea. I am glad they kept Vanessa Paradis for both versions, she does a beautiful job as Lucille and if I had one criticism, it was choosing to voice the English version with American actors instead of English speaking French actors - or to not attempt a French accent, because the rest of the cast did stand out a bit next to native speaker, Paradis.
Yes there are plot holes if you were to consider this story seriously (and I did find myself wondering at one point what this giant flea might be eating...) but realism is not what the film is about, if the 7 foot, guitar-playing, latin jazz dancing flea hasn't given that away by now and lets just gloss over them so I can carry on enjoying the film's beauty. Like any film , I'm sure some will not enjoy it, (there are probably people questioning how I cannot like Despicable Me) but I hope you get as much pleasure from this film as I have. My 3yo daughter currently refuses to watch anything but Peppa Pig but I can't wait to convince her to watch this, in the meantime I'll just keep watching it without her!