A Monster In Paris A Monstrously Wonderful Family Film

Courtesy:  EuropaCorp/france televisions/france3 cinema/Shout! Factory

Courtesy: EuropaCorp/france televisions/france3 cinema/Shout! Factory

A Monster in Paris is one of the best movies for families and kids to be released in 2013.  Forget Halloween.  This is a movie that the entire family can enjoy any time of the year.  The movie, which was originally released in Europe in 2011 by EuropaCorp, proves that movies from across the pond can be just as enjoyable as those released domestically by some of the biggest names in Hollywood.  This central story of this movie plays out on the surface like a love letter to classic b-grade monster movies.  On a deeper level, it’s a story about friendship, power, and learning to accept others, regardless of what they look like.  Add in some catchy tunes, and families have a movie that is one of this year’s most unlikely family films.

Anyone that is a fan of Universal’s classic monster movies will appreciate A Monster in Paris.  It centers on a flea named Francouer who is accidentally mutated when an arrogant deliveryman by day and inventor by night named Raoul sneaks into the lab of a scientist and takes it on himself to conduct some experiments of his own that ultimately result in the flea, Francoeur, to be mutated so to speak.  Francoeur escapes the lab into Paris and is instantly labeled a monster by the city’s residents, save for one; singer Lucille.  She sees into his heart as he sits in the rain, outside her door, singing sadly.  She sees that he’s just misunderstood and takes it on herself to help him.  Audiences will feel for Francoeur, too.  This is especially the case thanks to the movie’s animators.  Instead of looking big and scary, Francoeur bears the look of a creature that is indeed just scared and fragile.  He is just a big loveable creature that wants to be liked.  He means no harm to anyone.  And he’s got quite the musical skills to boot.  If this single moment doesn’t tug at audiences’ heart strings, then nothing in this movie will.  It’s at this moment that audiences will sympathize with Francoeur and even cheer for him as he tries to evade the evil Commissioner Maynott.  It all leads up to an ending that is sure to leave a smile on any viewer’s face and tear in at least some viewers’ eyes.  There’s even a little bonus for those who are patient enough to sit through the closing credits that helps to bring full closure to the story.  It’s a fairly simple story.  And it’s that simplicity that will initially win over audiences.

If the simple, touching story isn’t enough for viewers, then the movie’s comic elements are sure to entertain.  Audiences will laugh riotously at Raoul’s comic character.  His self assuredness and at times cluelessness are an excellent contrast to Emile’s straight man character.  Even from early on, the pair makes for its own share of laughs.  That’s evidenced when Raoul sneaks into the professor’s lab and decides to mix up some concoctions, all the while Emile tries to get him not to mess with the professor’s stuff.  At another earlier point, a thief steals Emile’s brand new camera.  And thanks to his cluelessness, Raoul unwittingly helps Emile get his camera back.  It’s one more of so many moments that is sure to  leave viewers of all ages in stitches.    

A Monster In Paris has lots of funny and heartfelt moments throughout the course of its near hour and a half run time.  That run time is another positive to the story.  It’s just long enough to keep the attention of younger viewers.  And that is thanks in large part to the story’s pacing.  One Lucille takes in Francoeur, the story really takes off.  But it never moves so fast as to lose anyone along the way.  This is the center of everything.  Since the story’s pacing is so well-timed, not only are viewers not lost along the way, but it allows them to enjoy all of the laughs and heartfelt moments along with tributes to other movies including both the classic Phantom of the Opera (thanks to Francoeur’s mask), and what is either X-Men (one of the wigs that Lucille puts on Francoeur looks like the hair style from Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine) or some 1950’s movie (again thanks to that hair) among other tributes.  Regardless of which movie, it is those tributes along with the strong writing and the wonderfully warm and funny moments mixed into the writing and the story’s pacing that make A Monster in Paris such a surprisingly entertaining story for the whole family and one of the best family films of 2013.  It’s available in stores and online now and can be ordered direct via the Shout! Factory store at http://www.shoutfactory.com/?q=node/216856

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