A Monster in Paris is your classic animated adventure; two friends (one a shy follower, the other a wild adventurer) lead the fun through the streets of Paris, befriending a monster of their own creation. It contains romance, with the two female characters, especially the feisty Lucille (Vanessa Paradis) adding significantly to the cast and storyline. There is also the classic, rich villain, voiced by Danny Huston – the struggle between good and evil commences.
Yet A Monster in Paris contains an element of the surreal that sets it apart from other animated films. Perhaps it is the way in which the monster, Franceour (voiced by Sean Lennon) is given a strange musical talent. Rather than being a loveable, cuddly monster, Franceour is a strange creature with four arms and pincers, who does not speak, and yet has an amazing singing voice (and dance moves, obviously). Interestingly, his viewpoint is shown through a dreamy musical montage of his version of events since his creation, which allows the audience to understand him without words.
The way that Paris is presented is very beautiful, with panoramic shots of the city during the early 21st Century. The city clearly lends itself to animation, and A Monster in Paris is reminiscent of the 2007 hit Ratatouille in this sense. Another noticeable element of the film is the action, as the characters always seem to be on a fast moving car ride through the Parisian streets. The pace and visuals where emphasised by the 3D, which was actually done very well. The kids in the cinema certainly enjoyed this part, laughing at the action and recurring jokes and clearly having a great time.
This film is a strange mix of genres, part-musical yet containing elements of adventure and mystery. Maybe it could have been improved by being backed by one of the big animators like Disney or Dreamworks, but it just shows that animation doesn’t have to be mainstream to be entertaining. If you like animated films, or simply love movies about giant fleas, then this is well worth a watch.