Viewed – 01 September 2012 Blu-ray
I’ve not been that aware of animated movies originating from France. Although I had heard some good stuff about them, this is my first dip in the French animation waters – and I must say I have come away pleasantly surprised. Set in Paris in 1910, a trio of characters; a love-lorn theatre projectionist, a weeling-dealing inventor and a feisty cabaret singer are flung together when an accident at a laboratory transforms a flea into a giant monster. However, when the cabaret singer discovers there’s more to the creature than people believe, a friendship blossoms.
Directed by Bibo Bergeron (Shark Tale), this is a bizarre story to say the least, but is done with panache and quite beautiful animation, showing off a european art style that sets it apart from the likes of Pixar. The main protagonists are well written and interesting, and the monster bares more than a passing resemblance to The Phantom Of The Opera, which I’m guessing was a big influence. For an animated movie there are a few musical numbers that really got my foot tapping, and with French model / singer Vanessa Paradis (Depp’s ex) supplying her voice to the cabaret singer – this was a fun, if undemanding experience.
Granted, the villain is utterly contrived, the story takes a bit of time to get going and it all seems to end about three times … but the action, comedy, music and visuals all came together well, which makes this one to check out regardless.
Verdict: 3 /5