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Western Animation / A Monster in Paris

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"And all the headlines read, for the whole world to see, a Monster in Paris."

A Monster in Paris (Un Monstre à Paris) is a French animated film directed by Eric "Bibo" Bergeron, with music by Matthieu Chedid, a.k.a. -M-, who's also Francœur's singing voice in French. Vanessa Paradis provided both the speaking and singing voices of Lucille.

During the Great Flood of 1910, Émile, a shy movie projectionist, and Raoul, a colorful inventor, find themselves embarked on the hunt for a monster terrorizing the citizens of Paris. However, the monster takes refuge with a beautiful, kind-hearted singer named Lucille and is revealed to be actually quite harmless. Now all of them must continue to protect the monster, Francœur, from the chief of police who's out to kill him.


A Monster in Paris provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Francœur dons a wig identical to Matthieu Chedid's famous haircut as "M" for a few seconds.
  • Alternate History:
    • The real flood of 1910 didn't have to deal with a giant flea, and wasn't settled by giant sunflowers.
    • There's also the inauguration of Montmartre's funicular. In Real Life, it happened in 1900.
    • In the movie, Maynott intends to become mayor of Paris. In Real Life, that function didn't exist at the time (the equivalent was "Prefect of the Seine", and he was chosen directly by the government, not elected).
    • Lucille and Francœur's very modern dancing in early 1900s Paris.
    • Dating is a thing in the film. However, during that time period, courting was still in trend.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Charles, and Francœur to a much greater extent. They are, respectively, a monkey and a flea, but seem to be about as smart as all the human characters.
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  • Angelic Beauty: While she's not a real angel, Lucille's stage costume was made with this in mind.
  • Animated Musical: There are a number of songs throughout, mostly diegetic.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Taken with Francœur on a few levels, who has a human-like face and looks a lot cuddlier than an actual giant flea would.
  • Artistic License – Law: Maynott is defeated when he is apprehended by French police for Francœur's murder. This would not be a crime at all, unless Francœur was legally recognized as a (human) person. Granted, it could that he was really being charged with destroying the funicular and threatening to shoot Lucille, and the "murder of Francœur" charge was just one last dig at Maynott's douchiness.
  • Asshole Victim: The story has two non-lethal variations.
    • The pickpocket who tries to steal Émile's camera gets thoroughly (and unintentionally) beat up by Catherine as Raoul tinkers with her controls. Later he gets crushed by a sandbag (also launched in the air by Catherine), beat up by an old woman, and is finally arrested.
    • Albert is a vain, whiney, and spiteful jerk who tries to sell out Lucille... This makes him being sent to jail quite satisfying.
  • Ax-Crazy: Maynott becomes this in the climax, even wielding an axe as he becomes increasingly unhinged.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When the husband who had a run-in with the monster reports to the police, one of them seems to be taking a facial composite of the monster in question. But when the police officer taking the statement asks "How's it going with that sketch?", it turns out his friend was actually drawing the husband.
  • Batman in My Basement: Lucille hiding the monster in her dressing room.
  • Beast and Beauty: A platonic example. Lucille and Francœur do not become romantically involved, but are really good friends and co-performers.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Raoul towards Lucille. They're described as bickering non-stop since childhood. And even though they still do, it's obvious Raoul has a thing for her. It's revealed that Lucille feels the same at the end.
  • Bespectacled Cutie: Maude, a short, cute woman with big glasses
  • Beta Couple: Émile and Maude, actually set up before Raoul and Lucille but with a lot less plot emphasis.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Francœur is a giant (albeit anthropomorphic) flea.
  • Call-Back:
    • Émile using an umbrella as a weapon against Maynott is a callback to his daydream at the start of the film.
    • So is what he says to Maynott when he turns the searchlight on: "It's showtime!" He says this in his daydream when he fights the crocodile/dragon.
  • Casting Gag: The joke of having a giant singing insect being voiced by the son of one of The Beatles in the English dub.
  • Cat Scare: A small one in the scene introducing a monster. A husband and a wife are trying to retrieve the latter's pearls from her broken necklace when something small and quick skitters behind the woman and spooks her! ...Turns out, it's just an alley cat. But then, the cat hisses at something before running off. And that's when the husband and wife see the monster!
  • The Chanteuse: Lucille, a professional singer.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The sunflower seed Raoul pockets during his first trip to the lab is used to save him and Lucille from falling to their death during the Eiffel Tower battle.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Subverted. The focus on Raoul and Émile quickly switches to be on Lucille and Francœur, but about halfway through the movie the focus is on all four characters.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The "La Seine" sequence becomes this about halfway through, with the two of them dancing on the rooftops of Paris and even on the Eiffel Tower, though we can assume this is not meant to be literally happening within the story.
  • Disney Death: Francœur. They think he's dead but he actually shrank back down to normal size again.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: After Albert tips off Maynott that Francœur is at the Rare Bird, the Commissioner storms there and is rather caustic and physically aggressive with Lucille. The way he acts, his mannerism is less like a hunter searching for his quarry and more like a jealous boyfriend trying to find his girlfriend's lover.
  • Dramatic Irony: The audience has some idea that Francœur's not dead, the growth potion just wore off. But nobody, not even Lucille, knows that and thinks he's dead.
  • Easily Forgiven: Played with. Lucille made it perfectly clear that if he ever entered her dressing room, Maynott would be crossing a line she would never forgive him for. That doesn't stop him from doing so. Afterwards, when it seems she's not hiding the monster, Lucille invokes this trope to give an apologetic Maynott the illusion that he's still in her good favor.
  • The Edwardian Era: The film is set in 1910
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Played straight... but also subtly subverted. The movie is in fact about a monster in Paris, but the real monster turns out to be Maynott, not Francœur.
  • The Faceless: Raoul's professor friend, who is absent through most of the story, and when he appears at the end his face is never shown.
  • Faint in Shock: Lucille faints when she first sees Francœur.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The newspaper seller nearly run over by Raoul at the start of the movie is shouting a headline about the "Commissioner's popularity at an all-time low". How does Maynott get his public approval rating back? By publicly hunting down an enlarged flea who would never hurt anyone because it will make him look heroic to save Paris from the alleged monster.
    • Francœur witnessing his arm hairs shrink tells the audience that the growth potion is starting to gradually wear off.
    • During Lucille's and Francœur's fantasy dance sequence, at one point he is peeking over the edge of the lighthouse cap. This is his exact location Maynott attempts to kill him at the end of the movie. Doubles as a Dark Reprise.
  • Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: Francœur is bipedal despite the fact that fleas naturally walk on six legs. He still does have six limbs, but only two of them are used as legs.
  • Funny Background Event: During the scene where Victor Maynott and Inspector Pâté are talking with each other about the current flood and how to take care of it, all the while you can see Albert fruitlessly struggling to uncork the bottle of wine he's brought for the pair, from using his teeth to holding it with his feet, until finally he manages to get it off after the word "pop".
  • Fun with Homophones: The French version of the song "La Seine et moi" plays on the words "Seine" and "Scène" (the stage) sounding the same. When it's Francœur's turn to sing, it's no longer about the river Seine, but about Lucille performing on stage.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Raoul has tricked up his van with many inventions, most of which don't work as intended.
  • Gay Paree: The film gets a lot of mileage out of that turn-of-the-century Parisian setting.
  • Gentle Giant: Francœur, very large and very kind.
  • Hartman Hips:
    • Lucille; her angel dress further accentuates them.
    • The lady who drops her necklace in the alley way has even more prominent curves.
  • Insistent Terminology: Raoul's coat isn't made of straw, it's made of a very expensive material! Although eventually Raoul gives in and admits that, yes, it's made of straw.
  • Instant Expert: Francœur learns to sing, dance and play guitar damn fast. He's later seen writing a piano piece!!!
  • Jerkass: Albert, a pompous, untalented hack who later sells the protagonists out to Maynott.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Raoul is a fairly irresponsible, sometimes rude guy, but his charm and better qualities shine through.
  • Last Day of Normalcy: The first part shows the lives of Émile and Raoul, respectively a cinema operator and a delivery guy/inventor, until the accident that gives rise to Francœur, the star of the film. After that, we also see the life of the singer Lucille, who has a lot of stress because of her aunt Carlotta's pressuring her to accept the court of Commissioner Maynott and also because they must find a new musician for the show. (She is actually more important for the plot than Raoul and Émile, because it's she whom interacts with Francœur the most and convinces the others to help save him from the police.)
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • Maynott's signature outfit is a light brown suit, verging on yellow, and his presence is always indicated either by a spotlight, daylight, or a well-lit room. He's also a pompous psychopath.
    • Contrasted with Francœur who must sneak about at night to avoid detection, wears a dark coat and hat as part of his disguise, and is quite possibly the kindest character in the film. Dark Is Not Evil indeed.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Lucille and Francœur, according to Word of God. They dance and sing together a lot, so one might assume this would be an Interspecies Romance story, but it's pretty clear they don't see each other that way.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Francœur gets his name from a sign in the alley where Lucille finds him.
  • Little People Are Surreal: Averted. While Émile is technically a little person, the film treats this characteristic with sensitivity, touching on how this impacts his self-esteem.
  • Love Triangle: Averted. Fans assumed this would be the case, partly thanks to some apparently unreliable English summaries.
  • Madness Mantra: Lucille: "It's just a nightmare, I will wake up."
  • Male Gaze: The necklace scene in the alleyway with the woman in the red coat. The camera notably lingers on her behind.
  • Medium Blending: The film opens with a newsreel of live-action footage of the real 1910 flood.
  • Monumental Battle: The climax takes place in the Eiffel Tower.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The American trailer for the movie led many to believe that Francœur and Lucille would end up romantically involved, a la Beauty and the Beast, with Raoul playing the part of Gaston. Of course none of this is true.
  • No Flow in CGI: Impressively averted with Lucille's performance dress and Francœur's cloaks/scarves.
  • Nonhumans Lack Attributes: Justified with Francœur, since fleas' reproductive organs aren't readily visible or recognizable as such. Played straight with Charles.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Francœur's coat, hat, and mask magically trick people into thinking he's human, despite the fact that his blue face, huge yellow eyes, and large pincers are still quite visible from under his small mask.
  • Plot Allergy: Raoul's feather allergy gets him in trouble several times, particularly embarrassing Lucille while she's in her angel costume, and triggering a Sneeze of Doom that almost causes him and Lucille to fall off the Eiffel Tower.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Pâté is set up as a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist and consistently has the good of the city in mind.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted in the first stinger, when the heroes use the rapidly-growing dandelions to drain the overflowing river.
  • Scenery Porn: Paris is pretty, and this movie wants you to know that.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shrinking Violet: Émile is a male example.
    Émile: The smaller you are, the less people look at you. At... At least that's been my experience.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Lucille, who is the female lead.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • When the bus narrowly avoids colliding with Raoul's truck and throws Francœur face first into the hood, Lucille immediately checks to see if he's injured. Raoul's only concern is that the impact damaged the hood.
    • At the end of the movie, when Lucille is about to kiss Raoul and confesses she stole his toy car when they were children to entice him to come to her, he interrupts the romantic moment to ask if she still has the toy.
  • The Speechless: Francœur, outside of the songs, is incapable of speaking and chirps (or sings basic sounds) instead, which makes him even cuter. The set-up for "A Monster in Paris" (the song) implies he needs to hear music of any sort to be able to talk/sing.
  • The Stinger: There's one mid-credits scene (see Reed Richards Is Useless above) and another post-credits scene (showing the villain's final fate).
  • Talking Animal: Charles is an interesting variation. He can't talk, but circumvents this by writing on cards. And he must be writing really fast. (That or they were all written beforehand.) Likewise, Francœur is incapable of speech (unless he's singing).
  • Talking with Signs: Charles is trained to communicate through messages written out in cards.
  • Title Drop: Francœur's first song includes the lyric "A Monster in Paris".
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Pâté is confronted to this choice as he realizes that Maynott is a bastard and is completely losing his sanity. He chooses the second option.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Émile, during the climax, becomes a lot braver and more capable than he at first seemed.
  • Touch of the Monster: Subverted. Lucille faints at the first sight of Francœur. He catches her and cradles her, and the position they end up in is evocative of old pulp magazine covers, specifically the Rape of the Sabine Women variation. The big difference is, of course, that Francœur means Lucille no harm at all.
  • Tsundere: Lucille has been this to Raoul since the first grade, teasing him because she wanted him to follow her. She finally stops at the end.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Francœur. Let's be honest, nobody expects a 7-foot-tall flea monster to have such a high-pitched voice.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The more the climax progresses, the more it's obvious that Maynott is getting completely off his gourd.
  • Villainous Crush: Maynott for Lucille. It's obvious he's eager to have her as a Trophy Wife.
  • Wham Line: In-Universe for Pate. When Lucille pulls a Go Through Me, what is Maynott's response? "Don't.. tempt me!" Pate is visibly disturbed.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Raoul's truck, Catherine. He loves "her" more than such a truck might deserve.
  • White Gloves: Part of Francœur's costume for much of the movie.