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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Bibo Bergeron
Cast:
Adam Goldberg, Jay Harrington, Bob Balaban, Sean Lennon, Vanessa Paradis, Danny Huston, Catherine O’Hara
Writing Credits:
Bibo Bergeron, Stéphane Kazandjian

Synopsis:
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.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $24.97
Release Date: 4/16/2013

Bonus:
• Both 2D and 3D Versions of the Film
• Sneak Peek and Trailer
• Bonus DVD


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RELATED REVIEWS


A Monster In Paris [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 10, 2013)

With a title like A Monster In Paris, you might wonder if the 2011 animated film was created for non-US markets. You’d wonder correctly: while it got a theatrical release in France and elsewhere, Monster never made it to US screens. That leaves it with this 2013 home video debut on American shores.

Set in Paris circa 1910, Monster introduces us to Emile (voiced by Jay Harrington), a projectionist at a cinema who also makes his own little movies. He pines after cute Maud (Madeline Zima) but the shy Emile lacks the nerve to ask her out for a date.

When Emile accompanies his pal Raoul (Adam Goldberg) to deliver some peat to a lab run by the mysterious “Professor”, they find it unstaffed except for a clever primate named Charles. Though warned not to touch anything, Raoul messes with the Professor’s wares and he spills various chemicals all about the lab.

This creates a number of reactions such as an enormous sunflower. It also turns an ordinary flea into a super-sized bloodsucker – and one with a lovely singing voice. We follow the paths taken by the crooning insect as well as elements related to the human characters.

That’s a weird enough premise that it should work, but the end result seems surprisingly restrained. Perhaps much of the film’s charm got lost in translation. While originally released with French dialogue, this Monster dubs the lines into English. (Unfortunately, the Blu-ray’s producers declined to include the original French track as an option.)

The English Monster comes with some good actors – it’s hard to resist folks like Catherine O’Hara and Bob Balaban – but none of them manage to bring much life to their roles. Perhaps this comes with the redubbing territory; I would think that the actors needed to semi-recreate what their predecessors did, so the English performers would be constrained to a decent degree.

Whatever the case, the actors fail to bring much energy to the proceedings, and the other filmmakers don’t give it much zing, either. Director Bibo Bergeron’s two prior efforts were US-produced English flicks from DreamWorks: 2000’s Road to El Dorado and 2004’s Shark Tale. Neither delighted me, but both offered reasonable entertainment.

I don’t think Monster flops, as it gives us just enough charm to keep us with it. However, it remains pretty lackluster and doesn’t even manage to live up to the minor pleasures of Bergeron’s two US films. The story just fails to gel in a substantial way.

Much of that stems from the dull characters and the lackadaisical way in which the movie pursues their arcs. I don’t mind that parts of Monster seem predictable and/or derivative, but I do dislike the meandering way the film depicts them. None of the roles connect, and the tale plods along in such a bland manner that it can’t quite capture the viewer. The climax seems to go on forever and doesn’t pay off with much excitement.

None of this makes Monster an actual poor film; really, how bad can a tale with giant singing flea be? Still, I think it could’ve been better than this. Monster has its moments but it doesn’t generate enough of them to enchant.

Footnote: keep tuned through the end credits for some bonus footage.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio B+/ Bonus D+

A Monster in Paris appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. From start to finish, the movie looked great.

Sharpness remained immaculate. Even in the widest shots, the movie looked accurate and concise. Actually, the film used a somewhat diffuse style that meant the elements didn’t dazzle in terms of definition, but they were still well-developed. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to appear.

In terms of colors, Monster went with a semi-low-key approach, as the hues tended toward a softer, pastel feel. This meant they might not pop off the screen but they were full and distinctive nonetheless. The Blu-ray represented the desired tones well. Blacks seemed dark and tight, and low-light shots appeared smooth. Everything here worked nicely.

Though not quite as strong, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Monster added some kick to the proceedings. Alas, the Blu-ray omitted the film’s original French dialogue. I’m not sure why it wouldn’t throw in that version along with the English translation; given that most Blu-rays come with alternate language tracks, why not give us the movie original performances?

Audio quality was fine. Dialogue sounded natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music was lush and peppy, while effects seemed accurate and powerful. Low-end delivered nice punch when appropriate.

The soundscape usually tended toward environmental, which allowed it to create a solid sense of place. A fair amount of localized material appeared and meshed together well, with clean movement and logical placement. The occasional action scene opened up the mix in a fun way, and the surrounds contributed a lot of useful information to the piece. This was a “B+” soundtrack.

Few extras appear here. The Blu-ray offers both 2D and 3D versions of the film on the same disc. Because I lack the necessary TV to view 3D, I can’t discuss it, but I wanted to mention its presence here.

The disc opens with an ad for A Turtle’s Tale 2: Sammy’s Escape from Paradise. We also get the film’s Trailer.

A second disc offers a DVD copy of Monster. It comes with the same (lack of) extras as the Blu-ray.

With a quirky tale of a giant singing flea, A Monster in Paris could’ve been a clever, delightful romp. While it comes with the occasional fun moment, it doesn’t possess enough life and pizzazz to become consistent entertainment, however. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and solid audio but lacks significant supplements. I like the presentation of the flick but find the story itself to be lackluster.

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