Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra
3 out of 5 stars
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you've got a lot of gaul Clavier and Depardieu once again bring the classic comic book characters to life in this colourfully funny movie that's probably aimed more at adults than children. (The subtitles will certainly limit the film's younger audience.) It's the year 52, and while engaging in their usual innuendo-laced banter, Cleopatra (Bellucci) bets Caesar (Chabat) that she can build him a fabulous palace in just three months. And if she does then he has to admit that the Egyptians, not the Romans, are the greatest people on earth. He accepts the bet, and Cleopatra hires the young architect Edifis (Debbouze), who quickly realises the hopelessness of the task. So he enlists the Gaul wizard Getafix (Rich) to help him, along with his sidekicks Asterix and Obelix (Clavier and Depardieu), and of course their faithful pup Dogmatix. But a bitter old architect (Darmon) is dead set on making Edifis fail.

Yeah whatever. It's all just an excuse for the filmmakers to engage in typical Asterix & Obelix wackiness--puns galore, pop culture references, movie spoofs, manic action and cheesy-yet-complex effects. And the pleasant surprise is that the film is actually hilarious good fun. Dialog is sharp and the characters are surprisingly clever, even though they look ridiculous. The production design is deliriously quirky--bright and tacky with cheap-looking costumes and sets, but a cast of literally thousands. Some of the bits don't work (a subplot involving pirates), while others are quite amusing (a zany musical dance number, a cutaway documentary about lobsters, a Bruce Lee/Crouching Tiger battle sequence). And the subtitles have both changed the names for maximum pun value and swapped the French cultural humour for American and British references instead. Although a Star Wars or Titanic gag works in any language. Extremely silly ... and a lot of fun.

cert PG themes, innuendo, language, cartoon violence 14.Oct.02

dir-scr Alain Chabat
with Christian Clavier, Gerard Depardieu, Monica Bellucci, Jamel Debbouze, Alain Chabat, Claude Rich, Gerard Darmon, Edouard Baer, Dieudonne, Noemie Lenoir, Bernard Farcy, Isabelle Nanty, Edouard Montoute
release UK 18.Oct.02
02/France 1h47

Not amused. Edifis (Debbouze) wonders if Asterix and Obelix (Clavier and Depardieu) ever take anything seriously.

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2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall