Guest Post: A Review of A Monster in Paris

I’m very excited to present this special review by talented Irish animator Nichola Kehoe of A Monster in Paris, which she recently saw in Ireland.

It’s 1910 and unlikely duo Emile and Raoul accidentally cause the creation of a giant flea monster in a lab outside Paris. The monster escapes the lab and it is up to our two heroes to find the monster and stop it from terrorising the city. Meanwhile, the beautiful singer Lucille befriends this misunderstood creature, who she names Franceour.

Franceour is passionate about music and a gifted guitarist who soon, performing in a disguise, impresses the patrons of Lucille’s club with his talent. Lucille tries to convince Emile and Raoul of Franceour’s gentle nature so they can all work together to protect him from the cruel politician, Victor, who wants to use Franceour’s capture as a publicity stunt to make himself look like a hero for saving the city.

For a children’s film the story, A Monster in Paris is quite complex. It starts off with Emile as the main hero but that quickly changes to Raoul, then Franceour, then back again. The story starts off charming and funny, with great little one-liners, but loses some of its charm in the confusion of characters. The end of the film is a little bit of a mess from a story point of view.

That said, it is a visually stunning film. The character design, the backgrounds, the lighting and the animation are all a pleasure to behold. The design of the city of Paris is unique and interesting, with lots of colour on ground level and very little colour in the higher parts. There is so much variety in the colour palettes and lighting that the film is never ever boring to look at. The music is fun and entertaining.

While there may have been too many main characters, each character did have their own clear personality which was really enjoyable. Emile is shy but brave, whereas Raoul is seemingly over-confident and vain. Even little things like Lucille constantly changing her outfit, add to the visual charm of the film. The character animation is stunning, and really on a level with any major studio. There is a great mix of fun animation and sombre moments. When the script started to falter, it was the animation that kept the movie captivating.

Overall A Monster In Paris is charming, fun and entertaining. It is definitely worth a trip to the big screen.



Nichola Kehoe’s Showreel Takes All The Right Steps

For animators, the standard showcase of your work is often the showreel, which is perhaps even more important in this modern, digital age. The advent of YouTube, etc. has made it stupidly easy for to create and upload a showreel of your experience and creativity and with good cause too. The ability to be able to broadcast yourself worldwide for free should never be underestimated.

So without further adieu, here’s Nichola Kehoe’s showreel for 2011:

Nichola by the way, is a young Irish animator who clearly has a fine career ahead of her.

What’s so good about the showreel? Well it adheres to a few gold standards:

  • It’s not too long, clocking in at just under a minute. This isn’t iron-clad, but no 15 minute compositions please.
  • The music isn’t distracting (no Swedish goth metal to clamour for your attention)
  • It displays a variety of styles, which proves she’s not just a one-trick pony
  • It’s new. It displays recent stuff, not stuff from 5 years ago or from college that may no longer be relevant to your abilities or even the kind of work you’re looking for.

For comparison, also check out the showreel of my good compadre and Australia’s other favourite son, Elliot Cowan. It plays by a slightly different set of rules than Nichola’s, but it still adheres to the basic ones; not too long, a variety of styles (including personal stuff) and relatively recent in age.