Loosely Based On: The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Featured In: A Monster in Paris (2011)
Voiced By: Sean Lennon (English) Matthieu Cheddid (French)
A Monster in Paris is a film that I discovered in no small thanks to the sheer amount of fan art to its titular character, the “monster” Francœur. The film itself is loosely based on the tale of the Phantom of the Opera in the same degree of Frozen being based on Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen.”
Not that it’s a bad thing, far from it in fact. Francœur is a more sympathetic “monster” than the Phantom that he is based upon. For while Erik is someone to pity for his appearance and how he had been treated by his own mother because of it, that doesn’t excuse the fact that he became a monster of enough renown to stand amongst the greats like Frankenstein’s monster or Count Dracula.
Still that doesn’t quite excuse Francœur from being considered a monster since he is a mutated flea…
Yep, you read correctly, the “Monster of Paris” is a flea that had been mutated in such a variety of ways that when he eventually shrinks back down to his proper size, he still retains all of his other traits. Those traits being a humanoid body structure complete with actual humanoid face, eyes, and mouth with a smile that melts the ice of the most coldhearted individuals.
Aside from that though, Francœur was mutated to somehow possess not only a master musician’s understanding of instruments, being able to play a guitar within seconds of holding it and be able to write sheet music despite being unable to read or write anything else, but can sing unbelievably well though cannot seem to speak beyond chirps or beeps.
Francœur ended up this way via a small… heh… yeah, “small” mishap involving Raoul playing around with another professor’s potions and causing an accidental combination of a few. While not all of them are named or demonstrated, two potions in particular are. A “super fertilizer” that with two drops can grow a sunflower seed into full bloom within seconds and towering at somewhere close to three or four stories depending on the amount of water it’s dropped into. The other potion was a solution entitled as “atomize a tune” that can create a, quote, “more melodious voice” for animals.
If anyone ever wanted to see a monkey briefly sing like an opera singer, this movie has that and so much more.
Anyway, the combination of these two potions, and likely a few others, somehow resulted in Francœur being mutated into a humanoid flea blessed with human level sentience and an understanding/adoration of music. Overall, he’s… he’s not even remotely scary. I mean, he can be an intimidating sight to behold given that he’s close to seven feet tall, his eyes look like they’re on fire, and in his original borrowed clothes can make for a startling sight in the alleys of Paris but…
I’m sorry, once you see him smile, like well and truly smile and not those little quirk of his lips showing off his slightly bucked teeth, it’s hard to ever imagine someone so nauseatingly adorable as being a monster in any definition of the term. Yet, Francœur has the potential to be a monster if he consciously made an effort for it.
He has shown to not only retain the flea’s ability to jump one hundred times his own height and is surprisingly bulletproof having been shot in the back with the bullet reflecting harmlessly away.
Of course, his first attempt at “roaring” at people during a scheme that played to the same idea as “The Reluctant Dragon” he… well, he sounded like he was exercising his voice more than trying to intimidate the crowd. Still, I give credit to his original attire and his performing clothes both consisting of a large brimmed hat and an equally long scarf. Don’t know why but I’ve always liked the image of a character, good or bad, to be garbed in such attire.
Yet it’s for the reason why Francœur couldn’t be a monster that I chose to include him on my list of personal favorites. True, he fits into the category of the musical orientated “Phantom” but I find that he’s a better fit for the “misunderstood” monster than any other I’ve seen.
He was an animal suddenly bestowed not only a humanoid form grossly different from his original one, but a human’s intelligence on top of it all. Yet, he did not succumb to his instincts nor did he react in the same negative fashion as most of the world had done to him. People ran from him and screamed in his face and what did he do in response to all of that?