If you've never heard of this movie, don't feel bad. I hadn't either.
And while that's usually a bad sign when it comes to the quality of a film, that's not really the case with A MONSTER IN PARIS. Produced by Luc Besson and directed by Bibo Bergeron (SHARK TALE), the movie is France's latest entry in to the crowded CG animation market. The result decidedly feels different than anything put out by Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks.
The movie follows Emile, a shy film projectionist, and Raoul, his cocky inventor friend. The pair makes a delivery to the laboratory of an out-of-town mad scientist and, through a series of accidents, creates a giant-sized flea that immediately escapes in to the city. However, the flea soon discovers he has a unique musical talent and befriends local singer Lucille. As the unlikely musicians' popularity grows, the local authorities begin to close in on the public menace. Can the gang save the misunderstood monster from being exterminated?
A MONSTER IN PARIS is often imaginative and unique, purposely avoiding the typical trappings of animated children's movies. The visuals are colorful and vibrant (though this depiction of PARIS pales in comparison to RATATOUILLE's). While it also has the requisite positive message and catchy musical numbers, it's sadly never that involving or exciting. It may feel a bit different due to the European sensibilities (no fart jokes here!), but everything in the end comes off very superficial and surface-level. The story and characters have a certain charm, but not enough to really set it apart as something special. There are still better animated films out there for adults to enjoy.
A MONSTER IN PARIS is better (or at least more unique) than most Dreamworks animated movies, but it's no Pixar. A fine timewaster for the kids, but this isn't some foreign masterpiece you're missing out on.
Extra Tidbit: The English-dubbed cast includes Danny Huston, Catherine O'Hara, Bob Balaban, Sean Lennon and wife of Johnny Depp, Vanessa Paradis.