A Monster in Paris (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
April 1, 2013 by Dennis Amith
“A Monster in Paris” is another enjoyable animated film for the family by Bibo Bergeron (“Shark Tale”). A film that showcases beautiful environments but also wonderful music. Recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2013 Europacorp. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: A Monster in Paris (Un monstre à Paris)
DURATION: 87 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio), English DTS-HD MA 5.1, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Shout! Factory
RATED: PG (Some Action Violence Involving Gun Play and Mild rude humor)
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Directed by Bibo Bergeron
Written by Bibo Bergeron
Screenplay by Stephane Kazandjian
Producer: Luc Besson
Executive Producer: Nadia Khamlichi, Adrian Plitowski, Gilles Waterkeyn
Line Producer: Olivier Bizet, Andre Clavel
Associate Producer: Remi Burah
Music by Mathieu Chedid
Edited by Pascal Cheve, Nicolas Stretta
Production Design by Francois Moret
Featuring the Voices of:
Mathieu Chedid as Francoeur
Vanessa Paradis as Lucille
Gad Elmaleh as Raoul
Francois Cluzet as Le prefet Maynott
Ludivine Sagnier as Maud
Julie Ferrier as Madame Carlotta
Bruno Salomone as Albert
Sebastien Desjours as Emile
Paris, 1910. Panic sweeps the city as floodwaters rise and a monster is on the loose!
Meanwhile a wacky inventor, his camera-crazy best friend, and a madcap monkey are on a mission to protect the beast, Franc, as he holds a rare and special talent. With the help of the beautiful but feisty singer Lucille, the team harbors the monster to keep him from the ghastly wannabe Mayor, Commissioner Maynott, who has a plan to capture Franc and reveal him to be nothing more than a monstrous danger to the people of Paris.
From Bibo Bergeron, the director of Shark Tale, and starring Adam Goldberg, Jay Harrington, Bob Balaban, Sean Lennon, Vanessa Paradis, Danny Huston and Catherine O’Hara, A Monster In Paris is presented in stunning 3D for a spectacularly fun experience for the whole family.
In European animation, Bibo Bergeron is well-known for his directorial work in “Shark Tale”, his work for films such as “Bee Movie”, “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas”, “Flushed Away” and the TV series “Caillou”, “Babar” and “Woofy”.
In 2011, Bergeron and writer Stephane Kazandjian (“Modern Love”, “Scalp”, “Apres”) began working on the French CGI and 3D animated feature “Un monstre a Paris” (“A Monster in Paris”) which received critical acclaim for its music and performances by its lead talent.
The film would star Mathieu Chedid (“Tell No One”, “Arsene Lupin”), singer and actress Vanessa Paradis (“Girl on the Bridge”, “Cafe de Flore”, “Heartbreaker”), Gad Elmaleh (“The Adventures of Tintin”, “Midnight in Paris”, “The Valet”), Francois Cluzet (“The Intouchables”, “Tell No One”, “Little White Lies”), Ludivine Sagnier (“Swimming Pool”, “The Devil’s Double”, “Mesrine: Public Enemy #1”) and Julie Ferrier (“Heartbreaker”, “Micmacs”, “Mr. Bean’s Holiday”).
And now the film will be released in the U.S. as a Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy combo-pack in April 2013 courtesy of Shout! Factory.
“A Monser in Paris” is set in Paris 2010 and begins with a shy projectionist named Emile who loves film but also likes his co-worker Maud, but is unable to tell her how he feels. Emile hangs out with inventor and delivery driver Raoul, who go to pickup a new belt for a projector.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to Lucille (portrayed by Vanessa Paradis), a childhood friend of Raoul, who is a cabaret singer at the club L’Oiseau Rare. A successful singer at the club, her aunt Carlotta wants her to be with the wealthy police commissioner Maynott.
As Raoul and Emile make a delivery run to the Botanical Gardens, the Professor is not in but his assistant, a monkey named Charles is seen guarding the location. As the two browse through the laboratory, they begin messing around with the experiments include the “Atomize-a-Tune” and it gives Charles the voice of an opera singer for a temporary time. Another “Super Fertilizer” is used to grow a sunflower seed into a giant sunflower, but it grows so fast that it begins to knock both Raoul and Emilie down.
With things getting out of hand, the “Atomitize-a -Tune” and “Super Fertilizer” gets mixed together and an explosion takes place. While both men and Charles escape, Emile who was filming with his new camera, feels he recorded a creature. Sure enough, the creature begins to be featured in the local newspapers.
Seeing how people fear the creature, the police commissioner tries to use this fear to his advantage in increasing his chances of being elected for the upcoming mayoral elections.
With Lucille needing a new musician for her show, she comes into contact with the monstrous creature outside the alleyway and faints. When she awakes, she sees the creature but hears him singing a song and has a beautiful voice. Immediately, Lucille befriends the creature and learns he is not dangerous. She gives him the name of “Francoeur” and it is revealed that the creature was originally a flea that got caught in the laboratory explosion which Raoul and Emile caused. But Lucille is determined in trying to Francoeur’s voice heard and tries to find a way to disguise him and have him take part in her next performance.
Meanwhile, both Raoul and Emile are caught by authorities for the laboratory explosion, but instead of going to prison, because these two are responsible for creating the creature, police commissioner Maynott tries to find a way to use the two in order to capture the creature.
“A Monster in Paris” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio). First let’s take a look at the 3D version of “A Monster in Paris”. The film is pretty much one of those depth-based 3D animated films that proves to be much more effective towards the latter half via the action scenes of the film. It’s not the best use of 3D for an animated film, but I suppose this goes to show a difference between a heavily invested Disney/Pixar or Dreamworks Animation 3D film would benefit from a larger budget. For the most part, the 3D is OK.
As for the picture quality of the Blu-ray release, the film has a European style that is evident in British animated films, but for “A Monster in Paris”, its strength is within its environments but also I like the French character design for its character models. People should not expect the same type of animation as one would see on the more expensive, big budget animated films but by no means will I downgrade a film because of it. I feel that “A Monster in Paris” is a beautiful looking film that shows that other countries can create beautiful animated films without the huge bankroll. But also the film is in the capable hands of Bibo Bergeron (“Shark Tale”) which is a plus!
Picture quality does feature a lot of detail, some scenes are vibrant and for the most part, the film looks very good in HD!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“A Monster in Paris” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. While dialogue is crystal clear featuring Adam Goldberg, Jay Harrington, Bob Balaban, Danny Huston and Catherine O’Hara. Possibly what stands out in this lossless soundtrack are the music performances by Vanessa Paradis and Sean Lennon.
The music is absolutely beautiful in this film and sounds incredible via lossless. While the movie does utilize surround activity, especially moreso during the latter half of the film, its the environment that comes more to play in surround usage. But for the most part, dialogue and music is crystal clear!
Subtitles are in English.
“A Monster in Paris” comes with trailer.
“A Monster in Paris” comes with both the Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy. Also, a slipcover case is included.
“A Monster in Paris” is an entertaining animated family film that I enjoy for its beautiful and well-detailed Paris environment, enjoyable character design but also for its music.
Of course, “A Monster in Paris” didn’t have the luxury of a having a huge budget of a Disney/Pixar or Dreamworks animated film, and one shouldn’t compare animated film from other countries with these big-budget films but still enjoy the animation and overall film. The film is beautiful and its storyline is full of humor and fun.
For younger children, the sight of a flea-like monster may scare some younger children and as my son had commented, “too many kissing scenes” for kids. But other than that, its PG rating is mostly for a scene involving a gun being shot by the film’s antagonist and mild rude humor.
The film is in essence about three characters. Raoul (voiced by Adam Goldberg) is a delivery man who has his own business but wants to make himself look successful (when he’s really not) and wants to look very good in front of Lucille, an old childhood friend.
Lucille (voiced by Vanessa Paradis) loves singing but the Le Prefet Maynott (voiced by Danny Huston) is more interested in wooing her and wanting to marry her. And her boss, Madame Carlotta (voiced by Catherine O’Hara), encourages it. But she has no interest in the man. But now that she has spotted the talented Francoeur (voiced by Mathieu Chedid), a flea monster, she wants to help him and perform alongside with him, as he makes her performances much more vibrant.
And Emile (voiced by Jay Harrington) is a projectionist who goes around with Raoul for his deliveries but he’s a young man wanting to confess his love to Maud (voiced by Madeline Zima).
As for the Blu-ray release, the film is colorful and vibrant in HD. The Blu-ray 3D is good for its use of depth but not the best in terms of animated films in 3D. The lossless audio is also very good as the action sequences utilizes the surround channels quite well. But the film’s music performance is fantastic and Vanessa Paradis and Sean Lennon do a wonderful job. It’s only lowpoint for this release is you would expect animated films to have a ton of special features, not the case for this Blu-ray release.
One should not expect spectacular Disney/Pixar or Dreamworks Animation or a similar style with a magnificent budget to work with “A Monster in Paris”, but one can expect very good animation and a fun family animated film for the entire family.
Overall, “A Monster in Paris” is a fun family animated film worth recommending!
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