A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Monster in Paris is an animated period adventure about a science experiment that turns a flea into a huge "monster." But the flea, who is later called Franc, is as gentle as can be and will teach kids the importance of not judging people based on their looks. There's some gun violence and a frightening climactic battle between a meanie with a loaded gun and the "monster" and his friends. Kids who pay attention will get glimpses of Parisian landmarks and will value the movie's messages of tolerance and friendship.
What's the story?
In 1910 Paris, inventor and deliveryman Raoul (voiced by Adam Goldberg) and his best friend, Emile (Jay Harrington), a projectionist make a delivery to a famous scientist's home. Finding the home absent save for a monkey named Charles, Raoul and Emile roam around the scientist's things, and Raoul attempts an experiment that ends up transforming a flea into a seven-foot-tall "monster." While the humongous flea frightens Parisians, a nightclub's lovely young singer Lucille (Vanessa Paradis) makes an incredible discovery -- the monster has a beautiful voice (Sean Lennon). She calls him Francoeur, dresses him up, and makes him part of her lounge act. But the local politician (Danny Huston) wants to run him out of the city, or worse, kill him. It's up to Lucille, Emile, Raoul, and his love interest Maud to protect Franc.
Is it any good?
Animation wise, A Monster in Paris is beautifully made for a release that's straight to DVD here in the States. The backdrop of Paris comes alive with the details of bustling tradesmen and shopkeepers and gorgeous landmarks. Paris becomes a major character in the story, with its night life and cobblestone streets and glittering lights. What a great way to introduce kids to the magical city.
The story itself is one of transformation, friendship, and discovery. Franc isn't the monster that the villainous politician makes him out to be; he's a gifted musician (played in the English version by John Lennon's son Sean) and a kind-hearted soul. The romantic subplots are sweet, as is the banter between best friends Raoul and Emile and childhood chums Raoul and Lucille. With catchy musical numbers and a poignant message, this is a movie the whole family will enjoy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the dangers of judging people based on how they look instead of who they are. How does Franc surprise those who get to know him? Why do the Emile, Raoul, Lucille and Maud protect him?
What other movies use a similar story about someone who looks scary or monstrous but is actually a gentle giant/soul? What do these movies teach us?
How does the movie convey the time and setting of the story? What does life in Paris in the early 20th century seem like in the movie? What details does the filmmaker include?
- On DVD or streaming: April 16, 2013
- Cast: Adam Goldberg, Jay Harrington, Vanessa Paradis
- Director: Eric Bibo Bergeron
- Studio: Shout! Factory
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some action violence involving gunplay, and mild rude humor
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.