Blu-Ray Review: A Monster in Paris

UnknownStay with me here, but A Monster in Paris is a computer animated film that tells the story of a giant mutated flea named Franc roaming the streets of a flooding Paris in 1910, all while being pursued by the police and discovering his gift for song.  Throw into the mix a projectionist, an inventor, a soul singer and a monkey and you have an idea just what a unique film this French import from the director of Shark Tale really is, at least in theory.

Having said all that, one would expect such an off-the-wall premise to lend itself to a creative and exciting film, and yet somehow the proceedings feel deathly dull.  I can’t imagine children being entertained by the clunky animation and lackluster dialogue.  The story might be outlandish, but the script itself is completely perfunctory in the execution.  With an ending that feels all too obvious, the story never really goes anywhere all that exciting.

The only life to be found in the film is from the voice acting.  Having been dubbed into English by the likes of Danny Huston, Catherine O’Hara, and Adam Goldberg., the voice cast seems to be having a ball bringing a high energy to the film that overshadows just how little is actually happening.  Maybe it’s the French sensibility, but this film just didn’t really work for me at all.  Everything feels off, from the animation, to the score, to the tone of the film itself.

Having seen Paris brought magnificently to animated life in Ratatouille, it’s a huge disappointment to see this cartoonish caricature of such a fascinating locale.  I’m probably being too harsh, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around what I was seeing.  When Franc mutates into the title “Monster” of the film, I was already feeling myself check out at the sheer randomness of the whole situation.

I would have liked some behind-the-scenes footage or at least a commentary track to provide some insight into what I had just seen, but the recently released Blu-Ray doesn’t have any extras at all.  Featuring the Blu-Ray in 3D, the standard Blu-Ray, the DVD and a Digital Copy of the film, that’s all you get.  It’s nice that they provide every viewing option, but I have come to expect at least something besides the film, and was very surprised to find the film lacking in that regard.

Overall, I really can’t bring myself to recommend this film.  The premise was just weird enough that it could have been something special, but unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me.  With a resume that now includes this along with Shark Tale, a completely dreadful film that makes this look like a masterpiece in comparison, I don’t have high hopes for the future output of director Bibo Bergeron.  I had never heard of this film prior to this viewing, and I don’t anticipate hearing much more about it in the future.

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