French animator Bibo Bergeron, who previously worked on movies such as Shark Tale and Bee Movie, delivers a beautiful-to-look-at animated story that may amuse older children but will fail to impress younger ones.
Paris, 1910: Cinema projectionist Emile (Jay Harrington) and his inventor pal Raoul (Goldberg) visit a professor’s laboratory and – with the ‘help’ of a very smart monkey – accidentally create a small explosion with the professor’s potions. What they don’t realise is that the concoction splattered onto a tiny flea, transforming him into a man-size creature. This mega-flea escapes the lab and wanders Paris, inadvertently terrifying people he meets who describe him as a monster to the local press. Only Roaul’s friend, singer Lucille (Paradis) sees him for the gentle soul he really is, taking him in, giving him a name – Francoeur (Lennon) – and, with the help of a big hat and scarf, disguising him so he can appear on stage with her (he’s rather a good singer and musician, you see). Meanwhile, an unscrupulous local government official is on the trail of the ‘monster’ and suspicious of what Emile, Raoul and Lucille may be hiding.
The 3D movie looks rather lovely and there are a couple of toe-tapping tunes grown-ups may like, but this is not funny enough or exciting enough to keep younger kids entertained, while some may actually freak out at the ‘monster’ before he is revealed as a big softie. Older kids – especially those who enjoyed Hugo – may like the vintage-style feel of the movie, and the homage to early movies of Georges Melies – but ultimately this film just isn’t as magical as it’s aiming to be.
Is A Monster In Paris suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
As mentioned in the review, young children may find Franc the flea quite frightening – we first see him lurking in dark corners, and without his mask, scarf and hat he is quite creepy to look at.