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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, aka -M-.

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").
    • Lucille and Francœur's very modern dancing in early 1900's Paris.
    • Dating is a thing in the film. However, during that time period, courting was still in trend.
  • Angelic Beauty: While she's not a real angel, Lucille's stage costume was made with this in mind.
  • 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 douchieness.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fainting: Lucille does the "Monster" fainting variation 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!!!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Male Gaze: The necklace scene in the alleyway with the woman in the red coat. The camera notably lingers on her behind.
  • Man in White: Francœur dresses to compliment Lucille's Woman in White.
  • 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.
  • Pet the Dog: After forcing his way into Lucille's dressing room to find Francœur (and narrowly missing him); Maynott actually seems legitimately remorseful and even tells Lucille she does not have to accept his invitation to his inauguration, something he was earlier (albeit perhaps unintentionally) trying to force onto her.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Example of: