The well-known little village from the Asterix and Obelix-comic books is in trouble: It is the last place not controlled by Rome. When Tax collector Claudius Incorruptus does not get his ... See full summary »
Monsters generate their city's power by scaring children, but they are terribly afraid themselves of being contaminated by children, so when one enters Monstropolis, top scarer Sulley finds his world disrupted.
The Egyptian Queen Cleopatra bets against the Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar, that her people are still great, even if the times of the Pharaohs has long passed. She vows (against all logic) to build a new palace for Caesar within three months. Since all her architects are either busy otherwise or too conservative in style, this ambivalent honor falls to Edifis. He is to build the palace and be covered in gold or, if not, his fate is to be eaten by crocodiles. Edifis calls upon an old friend to help him out: The fabulous Druid Getafix from Gaul, who brews a fantastic potion that gives supernatural strength. In order to help and protect the old Druid, Asterix and Obelix accompany him on his journey to Egypt. When Julius Caesar gets wind of the project succeeding, he has the building site attacked by his troops in order to win the bet and not lose face. But just like the local pirates, he hasn't counted on Asterix and Obelix. Written by
Julian Reischl <email@example.com>
Wordplay is common in this movie. At Numérobis' "I am, my dear friend, very happy to see you" Panoramix replies "C'est un Alexandrin" (It's an Alexandrian) meaning both Numérobis' hometown (Alexandria, Egypt) and the French twelve syllable poetic verse (alexandrine). See more »
Just before the characters visit the pyramid, first Idefix is sitting on a step of the pyramid, the next shot he sits next to the "portrait". See more »
Asterix Miramaxed! Original French version 9/10 - Miramax cut 4/10
For those not in the know, the Asterix books are a hugely successful series of comic books about a village of indomitable Gauls who resist Caesar's invasion thanks to a magic potion that renders them invulnerable supermen. There have been several animated features (only one of them, The Twelve Tasks of Asterix really capturing the wit and spirit of the books despite being an original screen story) before a perfectly cast Christian Clavier and Gerard Depardieu took the lead roles in two live action adaptations that proved colossally successful throughout Europe but made no impression whatsoever in the English-speaking world.
The uncut French version is great fun, but sadly does not appear to be available in a version with English subtitles outside of the UK DVD. While there's still no sign of a US theatrical or DVD release, the Miramax version of Asterix et Obelix: Mission Cleopatre is also on that DVD (and has played on UK TV), and you'll never guess what - it's been completely re-edited (at least 21 minutes gone) and dubbed into English. Maybe Harve mistook it for a Hong Kong movie - after all, he never saw a foreign film he didn't think couldn't be improved by heavy re-editing and shelving for a few years.
Whereas Asterix et Obelix Contre Cesar was lovingly dubbed into English from a particularly good translation script by Terry Jones but otherwise left unaltered, that sort of thing really isn't the Miramax way. The results ain't good. The film was the best attempt to get the books mixture of slapstick, anachronisms and highbrow classical humorous asides to the screen, but a lot of the classical references are gone (such as the great Raft of the Medusa sight gag or the Cyrano de Bergerac references from Depardieu), alongside anything that seems too French or might slow the picture down, with the result that the first 20 minutes are now a real slog. Several punchlines to sequences are missing, Depardieu's part has been trimmed (his part was already fairly small because of his serious health problems during the shoot: the US version has been partially digitally regraded to change the unhealthy pallor of his face in the original!), and as usual with dubbing, because literal translations into English don't fit properly, lines are either rushed so much they're not funny anymore or the dialogue has been changed completely (a couple of these changes are admittedly funny, like one character dreaming of a world in which he could move his lips in French and hear the words in English).
Not a total disaster, but very disappointing considering how good the full-length version is. It would be nice to think that Miramax would do a Shaolin Soccer and release both versions, but since they've shelved both films for two years since paying $45m for them (another classic case of Harvey's notorious chronic buyer's remorse: gee, wonder why Disney were so p****d at their overspending) and still have no release plans, that may just be too much wishful thinking.
It's a real pity that such an accessible and entertaining film will now only be available to non-French speakers in such a clumsily bowdlerised version. It seems the plucky Gauls may have been able to defeat Caesar's legions but are no match for the Miramax jackboot.
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