Whether its live action or animation, Paris has to be one of my all time favorite film locales. Starting with iconic monuments like the Eiffel Tower, The Arc de Triomphe and The Sacré-Coeur Basilica to serve as the dramatic backdrop, then throw in the charm and romance of sidewalk cafes, cobblestone streets and a vintage jazz soundtrack, and you set a mood that’s pretty hard to beat.
So I finally got around to checking out the 2012 Academy Award nominated best animated film, A Cat in Paris. And because its fun to have a theme for your weekend movie viewing, we also watched the animated film A Monster in Paris. Although both films are very entertaining, they are quite different on a number of levels.
A Monster in Paris
I would compare this movie to more conventional offerings from Disney and Pixar. Similar animation style (Bibo Bergeron also directed Shark Tale) and storyline formula. There’s the villain, the beautiful but feisty female lead, but a decidedly atypical hero – a giant flea.
And somewhat surprisingly, the movie does a good job of making the viewer feel for this giant bug in a Quasimodo kind of way. But what made this film stand out for me was the soundtrack. There’s a couple pretty catchy tunes and dance numbers (especially if you like the voice of former Mrs. Depp – Vanessa Paradis). The music really helped create that unique Parisian mood. Think Disney movie with a European flair. I give this one 7.0 / 10.
A Cat in Paris
Nothing conventional about this film’s animation style. I have always liked the work of Spanish artist Didier Lourenco. A Cat in Paris had a similar look and feel – which did an excellent job of capturing all the style and charm of Paris. Directed by Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli, this movie takes you on a wild ride in the same vibe as classic Film Noir thrillers.
And although the storyline grabs your attention and keeps it, the simplistic yet beautiful animation is what made this film great. So many animated movies today rely on spectacular CGI effects to wow their audiences. A Cat in Paris’ wonderful Impressionism animation style (appropriately originating from a group of 19th century artists living in Paris) is noted for its distinct use of small, delicate brush strokes and the inclusion of movement against vibrant colours to create emotional depth within the artwork. I just loved the look of this film!
Pretty incredible to think that the film was illustrated entirely by hand without the benefit of the computer software programs that so many animated features of today depend on. Probably one of the most enjoyable animated films I’ve seen in recent memory. I give this movie 8.5 / 10. For now, back to the cage.