{Movie} Available now! A Monster in Paris…..and An Interview w/ Director Bibo Bergeron

Disclosure: A sample copy was received to facilitate this review.

Have you heard about the movie called A Monster in Paris? If you haven’t, you need to go and get a copy for your household because this movie will take you to Paris – well, in an animated way.

A Monster in Paris on Blu-ray and DVD

A Monster in Paris, directed by Bibo Bergeron (director of Shark Tale), had its first debut in the UK and quickly made its way to America on Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy last week. I was sent a review copy about a week and half ago and already have seen the movie more than I can count. My little one can not get enough of A Monster in Paris.  She even sings the tunes in the movie.

A Monster in Paris is a funny, heart-warming family film.  The sights are a huge bonus if you’ve never visited Paris (like me!). Even though it’s an animated film, you’ll appreciate its beauty and its wonderful storyline.


Paris, 1910. Panic sweeps the city as flood-waters rise and a monster is on the loose!  Meanwhile, a wacky inventor, his camera-crazy best friend and a madcap monkey make a massive mistake when let loose in a mad scientist’s laboratory. With lotion and potions spilling everywhere, the troublesome trio accidentally creates Franc, the product of a reaction between a common flea and one of the scientist’s mystery concoctions. What they fail to realize, however, is that this ‘monster’ is actually a soft-centered soul with an astounding talent for music.

With the help of an enchanting nightclub singer Lucille, Franc becomes the talk of the town, just as stories of Paris’s newest monster attract the attention of the egotistical police commissioner, hell bent on securing a big prize to help his battle to become mayor. The unwitting scientists and the singer must team up to protect Franc, a monster with more than a musical career to protect.

Q & A with Director Bibo Bergeron

When and how did the A Monster in Paris adventure begin?

It goes back quite a few years to before Shark Tale. I’d been living in the USA since 1997 and this project came out of a kind of nostalgia for Paris. I wanted to make a movie about my city, a romantic movie that flirted from time to time with the horror codes. As a moviegoer, without being a total fan, I’ve always enjoyed the romantic aspect of horror movies. I also wanted to focus on the early 20th century, an incredibly effervescent period when science and technology was revolutionized—the automobile, trains—which has always fascinated me. That’s how I came up with Raoul and his constant desire for progress. Also, from the very beginning, I envisioned a very musical movie. Actually, to sum it all up, I put into the movie everything I like in a movie.

How did you pull these different strands together to structure the movie?

In my mind, the basic plot always revolved around the character of the monster. The first big question, therefore, was what the monster would look like. Initially, I saw him as a kind of vampire but it wasn’t very appealing for kids, so I left the blood lust to one side and came up with the idea of a flea that becomes bigger than human- size as the result of an experiment. Stéphane Kazandjian and I then built the script around that, using all the research I had accumulated on the period and the famous mobile police units, the Tiger Brigades. Of course, the first draft overflowed with characters and situations, so the next step was to pare the best parts down into a 90′ movie.

Was it a tricky film to finance?

Making animated movies always takes time. Three and a half years for The Road to El Dorado. Four and a half years for Shark Tale. This time, it was the same deal, except for one minor detail: I had to take a 9-month break because we couldn’t find the money to make the movie as we imagined it. It’s very difficult to convince people in France to fund a movie of this scale and budget. At one point, I couldn’t pay people’s wages.

What were your inspirations for the mood of A Monster in Paris? The comic book artist Tardi comes to mind.

I’m a big fan of Tardi’s, but he wasn’t really a reference for this movie even though we’re fascinated by the same period in history. In fact, my major inspiration, in terms of writing and drawing the characters, is Franquin. I also kept in mind the work of the late-19th and early-20th century Impressionists, such as Alfred Sisley, for their ability to inject brilliance into fog, and play with colors and light. For the story itself, I was inspired by movies like The Sucker, The Easy Life and Hothead because the characters are so likable despite all their flaws. We were aiming for the polished writing that’s a major part of my movie culture.

Was it important to you to make A Monster in Paris in France?

Yes, that’s what brought me back. I wanted to make it in France and co-produce through the studio that I created in 1993, Bibo Films. There’s so much talent here that I couldn’t imagine it as anything but a French movie, even though among the 140 people in the crew there’s a bunch of other nationalities—Spanish, Dutch, Hungarian.

A Monster in Paris is your most ambitious movie in terms of budget, story and film-making. You produced it through your own studio. Are you more nervous than usual prior to its release?

I made the most honest movie I could. Now, it’s down to audiences liking it or not, falling for it or not. It’s out of my hands. All I can say is that I made the movie I wanted to make and that it’s my most personal movie so far. Let’s be clear: I put all my heart and ability into Shark Tale and The Road to El Dorado, but they were both studio pictures. For me, A Monster in Paris is above all an arthouse movie. If it is also seen as a multiplex picture, I’ll be more than happy to have made an arthouse picture for multiplex audiences!

In the end, has it remained faithful to your initial vision of the story?

It’s definitely grown! It’s like any idea—you sow a seed, which blossoms and grows and gives fruit. The story has evolved a lot. The first draft featured the Tiger Brigades, France’s first mobile police units, but they’ve gone. Lucille wasn’t a cabaret singer but a police photographer. She became a singer so the singing monster could be attracted to someone who also sings. A Monster in Paris is very different in the detail but totally faithful to what made me want to make it.

Our Thoughts

Like I said before, we loved it! Since Paris is one of those places that are on my bucket list, I’m hoping one day I’ll be able to scratch it off the list and live my dream. Until then, I’ll keep watching A Monster in Paris and pretend I’m there.

One of the things that we loved about the movie was definitely the singing. It reminded us of the movie, Beauty and The Beast — the love, the singing, the beast and some dancing.

I’m a sucker for animated movies so its no wonder this movie took me back to my childhood. It was pure delight to watch A Monster in Paris as many times as we’ve seen it.  We look forward to watching this movie many, many times in the near future.

I’ve gotta say, I’m a little disappointed that it took so long to arrive in America. I’m sure Americans would’ve went crazy over the movie as we did. But needless to say, we believe A Monster in Paris is a must-see!


  1. Lazaro Estrada says:

    Set in early 20th century Paris, the film at times evokes monster movies, silent films and musicals. The production designers produce a lush and credibly vintage Paris, awash in clean light, golden colors and art nouveau. The choreographers and composers are less successful with period accuracy, but they’re talented, and we can pretend the primitive camera that operates as easily as a camcorder was invented by the same forward-thinking genius who provides the film’s transformative potions.

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