Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Monster...In Paris!

We often receive DVD's and Blu Rays for review that we really enjoy. Some that never really received much attention when they were released, but really have that special something that makes them instant classics. Then, there's A Monster In Paris. 

Ok, before I go much further let me preface this review by saying A Monster In Paris isn't a HORRIBLE movie, it's actually ok, but misses the mark for us as an animated adventure. 

Here's the story: Set in Paris, France during the 1910's, A Monster In Paris follows the adventures of Emile (an extremely shy projectionist voiced by Jay Harrington), his wacky inventor/delivery man and friend Raoul (voiced by Adam Goldberg). Now, Emile secretly adores Maud, a co-worker at the cinema but of course, is too shy to profess his love. One day, Raoul invites Emile to go on a delivery with him to the botanical gardens, but also the home of a plant "genius". As Raoul and Emile enter, they find the professor is in New York, however, left his monkey Charles (who seems to have a great vocabulary via flash cards) in charge, with specific instructions for Raoul - DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING. Of course, Raoul just can't help himself and finds a potion marked "Atomize-A-Tune" (which gives Charles a terrific operatic voice) and one marked "Super Fertilizer - Unstable". So, what does our wacky inventor do? Yep, he "experiments" with the super fertilizer by pouring it on a sunflower seed - which grows to an enormous size. While Raoul and Emile discuss the potential of such a wonderful potion, the sunflower topples over, crashing into the shelves housing the two potions creating an explosion. Everyone escapes the chaos unscathed, however, Emile catches footage via his movie camera, of a hideous monster!
Raoul and Emile

Now, if you've read any of our reviews you know we're not into spoilers, so that's all you're going to get out of me story wise! Suffice it to say,  the troublesome trio accidentally creates Franc, the product of a reaction between a common flea and the two potions mentioned earlier. What they fail to realize, however, is that this ‘monster’ is actually a soft-centered soul with an astounding talent for music.
"Franc" the Monster In Paris - With A Voice!
With the help of an enchanting nightclub singer Lucille, Franc becomes the talk of the town, just as stories of Paris’s newest monster attract the attention of the egotistical police commissioner, hell bent on securing a big prize to help his battle to become mayor. The unwitting trio and the singer must team up to protect Franc, a monster with more than a musical career to protect!

A Monster In Paris, as you may have guessed, is a straight to DVD/Blu Ray release and was originally produced in France, with French voice actors/singers, in 2011, then translated for English speaking audiences in 2013. Since we did not view the original version (and...we don't speak French), we're going to talk about the English version.
Charles The Monkey

As I said at the beginning, this wasn't a horrible movie, but not something I'd watch again. The basic plot is of course predicable, but entertaining. You have the shy hero, the wacky does nothing right side-kick, the beautiful damsel in distress (well, actually TWO in this movie), the monster who's actually a big misunderstood gentle giant, the evil "good guy" who's hunting the monster and of course, the aid to the evil "good guy" who eventually sees the light. The "feel" of this animated movie is truly Persian and the music is heavily influenced by that as well. The tunes, although not Disney worthy, are kind of catchy but quickly become annoying. The movie (and the DVD case) really promote the fact that Sean Lennon (son of the famous Beatle John Lennon) appears in this movie, but the truth is only in song...and only 2 or 3 at that. Could have been any singer truthfully. The voice acting was ok, nothing to "write home" about, and the animation reminded me of an art school project. Not great, but not terrible. 

I can see that this movie would appeal to some, especially the younger viewers, but honestly, not something I'd even put on my top 25 list. The music didn't have that something special to keep you humming it all day, and to be honest, it was more grown up than child type music. 

As we always say, don't take our word as canon, watch it for yourself. Currently available from Shout! Factory, in collaboration with EuropaCorp, A Monster In Paris is available on DVD, and on a two-disc Blu-Ray 3D Combo Pack. The movie runs about an hour and 27 minutes, and SRP is $24.97 for the Blu-Ray Combo Pack (which does come with a digital copy by the way) and the DVD for $14.97.

If you do watch A Monster In Paris, let us know what YOU think...peace out --- Al 

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