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Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Monster in Paris (2011)

This is a charming animated movie by Bibo Bergeron, known for his adaption of the wonderful book 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret' into the equally charming movie 'Hugo'.  It has shades of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame', mixed with song and dance, love, an inventor and a charming monkey.

The movie is set during the flood of 1910 in Paris.  Emile is a camera operator in a movie theater and his friend Raoul is a delivery man who has a penchant for invention.  He has designed his delivery truck with a number of features that are even today not available in a motorized vehicle.  He is fun and impulsive and in love with a singer, Lucille.  Emile and Raoul make a delivery to a professor's house and since he is away, Raoul takes the opportunity to show Emile the professor's arboretum and chemistry lab.  Things quickly go wrong and they create a 7 foot flea, who terrorizes Paris in no time.  It is like the Ebola virus of their time.  The flood is a far greater threat, but better to focus on the sensational rather than the realistic threats to safety.  Lucille is the one who discovers that the flea has the heart of a troubadour and the dance skills to match.  She dresses him in a disguise and convinces her friends that he is worth defending.  The story is nothing special, but it is a lot of fun, definitely family friendly and whimsical in the way that makes me love French animated films.

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