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Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra

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France, 2002, 107 minutes, Colour.
Gerard Depardieu, Christian Clavier, Jamel Debbouze, Monica Bellucci, Alain Chabat, Claude Rich.
Directed by Alain Chabat.

In the past, the well-loved comic strip characters who lightly parody Julius Caesar and co and give us mock heroic Gauls along with a great sense of visual and verbal humour were portrayed on screen in animation. This is the second of the live-action episodes. It is rather lavishly done, with Caeser at the court of Cleopatra, involved in pompous competitiveness about comparative civilisations rather than love affairs. To prove the superiority of the Egyptians, Cleopatra decrees that the world's greatest temple will be built in three months. The rather nice but dim architect, Edifis, seeks the help of the Gauls for his project which is sabotaged by his jealous rival in Egypt and then by Caesar and his troops.

While the plot is a parody of historical epics, there are some wonderful interludes of comedy (and a Hollywood song and dance routine with the workers on site). Christian Clavier is a genial Asterix, Gerard Depardieu is suitably oafish and always-hungry as Obelix (and looks like a sure thing if ever they made a film of Hagar the Horrible) and Monica Bellucci swans around glamorously as Cleopatra. The film's director, Alain Chabert, is the nonchalant Caesar.

The English subtitles for the names of the characters are always amusing, Edifis, Givemeakiss, Asterix, Brucewillix. If one joke doesn't work another soon comes along - but one of the best is the static-interrupted and half-heard delivery of her speech by Cellularis!

1. The popularity of the books of Asterix? The Gauls, ancient Roman times? Confrontations with the Romans? Going to Egypt? The illustrations, the different styles of the characters and their appearance? The text, the modern references, the jokes?

2. How well were the comic strips transferred to live action? The appearance of the characters, the appearance of Asterix and his hair and moustache, Gerard Depardieu as the large Obelix, dressed as in the comic strips? Cleopatra, Caesar? The various other characters? The puns on their names in French? With English jokes and English subtitles and dubbing? Edifis, Givemeakiss?

3. The visuals, the setting of ancient Egypt, the locations and the desert, the palaces, the interiors? Lavish styles, costumes? The musical score?

4. The introduction to Cleopatra, telling Caesar to shut up, dominating? Her beauty, audience knowing her history? Caesar and the Roman invasion? Her domination, her promising to build the palace, the wager with Caesar? Her choosing of the architects? The sabotage to the palace, her confronting Caesar, making him rebuild? The relationship between the two? The success of Cleopatra in the ascendance of the Egyptians? The reality of her character, caricature?

5. Julius Caesar, languid, invading, submissive to Cleopatra, his henchmen, wanting to sabotage the building? Dominated again by Cleopatra? The affair? The historical references?

6. The architects, the jealous architect, Arthritis? His sinister plots? The contrast with Edifis and his plans, his skills, surveying, his assistant? The plans for the palace? The scenes of the building?

7. Edifis and his need for help, his memory of the Gauls, going to Getafix, meeting Obelix and Asterix, his pilgrimage to Gaul in the snow? The sailing to Egypt, the confrontation with the pirates – and the silly pirate chief sinking his own ship? Arrival in Egypt, the magic potions? Their helping with the building? The comedy of life in Egypt, the Gauls?

8. The verbal references, the jokes, the references to films, television series, Starsky and Hutch … Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger?

9. The sabotage, Arthritis and his assistants? The Roman soldiers? The build-up to the sabotage, the destruction of the building?

10. Asterix, the dog, Dogmatix, the role of the dog in Egypt? The potion, Arthritis taking it? Speeding through the Roman lines, getting the introduction to Cleopatra, the message and achievement of the mission?

11. The saving of the project? The final success? The dance – and the French songs? The elevator – invented by Otis? The elevator music? Caesar not being allowed into the party?

12. Achievement, the Gauls and their happiness, the Romans in harmony with the Egyptians?

13. The audience needing knowledge of Roman times to fully appreciate the stories and the characters and the references? But the films as illustrations of the comic strips, and entertaining comedies for all?

Created by: coffey last modification: Monday 18 of May, 2015 [08:14:26 UTC] by malone

Language: en