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Review: 'A Monster In Paris' at LAAF

Part musical, part action, all comedy, A Monster in Paris is a fun, yet convoluted, Disneyesque animated feature.

A Monster in Paris. Image © 2011 EuropaCorp, Bibo Films, France 3 Cinema, Walking the Dog.

By Haley Hughes

** Note – A Monster In Paris just had its West Coast premier this past Saturday at the Los Angeles Animation Festival (www.laafest.com). 

Part musical, part action, all comedy, A Monster in Paris is a fun, yet convoluted, Disneyesque feature directed by Bibo Bergeron and written by Bergeron and Stephane Kazandjian.  With the voice talents of Adam Goldberg, as the excitable Raoul, Jay Harrington, as the unconfident Emile, and Vanessa Paradis as the courageous Lucille; the plot follows the group along with their monkey friend, Charles, as they attempt to protect the title character, voiced by the brilliant Sean Lennon, from the police, all while exposing him to song and dance.

The film’s visuals are beautiful and interesting, aptly bringing to life the cobblestone streets and dimly lit theatres of a 1910 Paris.  The songs are also a wonderful highlight of the film, inspiring and inviting the audience through a visual explanation of the Monster’s fears and the relationship between the Monster and Lucille. Composed by Mathieu Chedid, the music adds greatly to the tone and environment of the film.  However, despite the fantastic songs, the film lacks an instrumental score which could have added greatly to the story and helped speed the action along when the plot slowed down.

Though fun and colorful, A Monster in Paris has many issues with slow animation and convoluted story.  Throughout the film we are introduced to an ensemble cast who all seem to know each other, but forgot to clue the audience into their relationship status and history.  Characters are underdeveloped and appear with little or no introduction only then to occupy the main story ark for the rest of the film.  Character development is unheard of and when a character does reveal his / her traits it is done through exposition and, on numerous occasions, towards the end of the film.  Despite these issues, however, A Monster in Paris contains sharp dialogue and hilarious action which caused the audience in the theatre to laugh out loud on numerous occasions.  A fun family film, I would recommend you check it out.  Plus there is a monkey and you really can’t lose with a monkey.

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