The Horror Honeys: The Phantom Flea of the Opera!

The Phantom Flea of the Opera!

A Spooky Kid Saturday Review by Linnie

A Monster in Paris (2011)

While most people (understandably) assume that Pixar corners the market on intelligent animated films that appeal to both children and adults, that isn't entirely true. Europe consistently churns out nothing but smart and enjoyable animation, with few outliers. In America, for every Inside Out and Up, there are ten movies like Hotel Transylvania and um... any number of animated films in which Ryan Reynolds voices the main character but I can't be bothered to remember the film's title. So while France may not release fifteen animated films a year, the ones they do put out are usually pretty brilliant.

And that brings us to today's Spooky Kid review, an adorable love story for kids and grownups alike, Bibo Bergeron's A Monster in Paris!

If only all fleas were this adorable!
The Story: Paris. 1910. The Seine has flooded and left a majority of Paris under water. Our cast of characters is scrappy and adorable: film projectionist Emile and his co-worker Maud, with whom he's in love; inventor Raul and his childhood friend Lucille, a cabaret singer at L'Oiseau Rare; Lucille's Aunt Carlotta, who is trying to marry her off to the rich and cruel police commissioner, Victor Maynott; and last but not least, a giant flea named Francœur with the musical prowess of Sean Lennon (because in the English version, he is Sean Lennon). Music, love, mystery, and history combine to create a film so cute you'll want to punch babies.

Get in, loser! We're going to make some giant fleas!
She's like Claire Danes in Romeo & Juliet! But... BETTER!
I discovered A Monster in Paris while scrolling through Netflix, and as such, I've only seen the English-language version, which means (among others) Sean Lennon is the voice Francœur, Adam Goldberg is the voice of Raul, and Catherine O'Hara is the voice of Aunt Carlotta. But in both versions, we are treated to the dulcet tones of Vanessa Paradis as Lucille. Paradis, a French Pop Star and actress from a young age, is absolutely lovely no matter how you slice it, and my devotion to her only increased after watching this precious movie.

I was also entranced by the opening movie reel footage, that documents the flooding of the Seine. A Monster in Paris goes to great lengths to be historically accurate, down to a shot of the Eiffel Tower standing in several feet of water. Maybe I'm alone in this, but when it comes to animated films that I'm going to enjoy myself and/or feel comfortable sharing with my Honey-in-Training niece, I prefer that they are smart and don't just serve to numb a child's mind with flashy colors.

But pretty colors don't hurt.
A Monster in Paris ticks all of the boxes for what I love most about a great animated film: it's cute, sweet, intelligent, and it doesn't pander or talk down to children like they are idiots. It also helps that there is some Phantom of the Opera inspiration and a gorgeous attention to detail. Whether you watch A Monster in Paris in English or its native French, watch A Monster in Paris. You won't regret it.

Revenge Honey Rating: 4 giant fleas out of 5

A Monster in Paris is available via Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube VOD, Vudu, Google Play, & blu-ray/DVD

What is YOUR favorite foreign animated film?
Tell me on Twitter: @linnieloowho