tek's rating: ½

A Monster in Paris (PG)
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This is a French film, but I watched the English dub version, which includes several actors whose live-action work I'm familiar with, though I didn't recognize any of their voices. The one voice I did recognize was Matthew Géczy (though I didn't know his name), because he also voiced Odd in the English dub of Code Lyoko (a French animated TV series). So I thought it was pretty neat to hear him in this, though his character (Albert) was fairly minor. I wasn't sure how much I'd like the movie, but I ended up finding it very charming and amusing. I liked the animation, and the songs, and the acting. There were aspects of the story I found a bit iffy, but on the whole, I thought everything tied together brilliantly. There were any number of small touches that would have worked just fine as incidental things that were just there to make the setting or characters seem more real and then were never thought of again... but that ended up becoming important plot points, later on. I love when that happens.

Anyway, the movie takes place in Paris, in 1910. It begins with a newsreel about Paris being flooded (a real historic event), and then a feature film begins playing. We soon learn that all that was taking place in a movie theatre, where a projectionist named Emile works. The movie he's projecting segues into a dream in which he's on a first date with a pretty woman named Maud, and then they get attacked by a monster. But he soon wakes up. We then learn that Maud is a real woman he has so far been too nervous to ask out, though it's clear she wants him to ask as much as he wants to do so. And then we meet his friend Raoul, an aspiring inventor (who loves his truck, "Catherine"). For now, Raoul is just a delivery man. And he takes Emile with him to make a delivery to some scientist, who turns out to be away in New York. Raoul and Emile are greeted by a monkey named Charles (who always has a card handy with whatever message he needs to convey to people). They begin to explore the Professor's lab, which they're really not supposed to do. Charles does his best to stop Raoul from causing any harm, but Raoul experiments with all the potions he finds, and ends up unwittingly creating a monster. (We later learn that it was one of Charles's fleas, which got enlarged to about 7 feet tall.)

Meanwhile, there's a woman named Carlotta who runs a club, where her niece, the beautiful Lucille, is a singer. The commissioner of police, Maynott, is romantically interested in Lucille, and it's a match Carlotta encourages. Lucille, however, has no interest in Maynott. The Commissioner is upset that everyone in Paris is upset about the flooding, and he wants to find a way to distract them, and make himself look like a hero. He gets his chance to do that when the monster created by Raoul starts causing a panic throughout the city. There's also a police captain named Pate, who conducts an investigation into the monster's origins. Meanwhile, we learn that Lucille and Raoul were childhood friends, though now all they do is insult each other. Emile, however, realizes that Raoul is actually in love with Lucille. And... one night, Lucille meets the monster, which turns out to have a good singing voice (because of one of the Professor's potions), though it still can't speak. And she realizes it's a harmless and sad creature, so she befriends it, and names it Francoeur. And after awhile, Raoul and Emile find out about that, and the three of them spend the rest of the movie trying to protect Francoeur from the police.

And that's all I want to say about the plot, I guess. But for the most part, it's a fun and clever movie. And there's an amusing scene after the closing credits.

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