ASTERIX AND OBELIX: MISSION CLEOPATRA dvd review

UK PAL DVD

Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1

DD 5.1 French

DD 5.1 English (dub)

Subtitles: English

IMDB

 

MOVIE: 9.5

VIDEO QUALITY: 9

AUDIO QUALITY: 9

ENGLISH SUBTITLES: 10

EXTRAS: 0

 

I have seen many movie adaptations of mainstream or obscure comic books from around the world. I think that the best Hollywood adaptations of graphic novels are Watchmen, Sin City, 300, Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim, and V for Vendetta. Sure, I love the Spiderman and Nolan’s Batman movies, but those aren’t adaptations of any of their particular books. I would say that I’m a casual comic-book fan of American comics, but I take my European comics very seriously (Tintin and Asterix, for example). I don’t like it when movie adaptations of European comic books are messed up. When the first Asterix movie came out – Asterix & Obelix vs. Caesar – I was pretty disappointed because it was just hijacking the title of the original comic book. The movie is nothing like the original comic book – far from being a movie adaptation of the book. But over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate this film once I accepted it as a new Asterix adventure and not being an adaptation of its book. But when Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra came out, now this was the Asterix movie I dreamed of!

Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra is a perfect movie adaptation of the original comic book Asterix and Cleopatra. Alain Chabet, more known as an actor, directed and wrote the screenplay for this film. He also stars in the film playing a really funny Julius Caesar who’s the boyfriend to the hottest Cleopatra put on screen, Monica Bellucci (sorry, Elizabeth Taylor). In their Egyptian palace, the two leaders bicker like a regular couple and just casually make a bet with each other: Cleopatra wants to prove to Caesar that Egyptians are greater people than Romans by building another palace in just three months. So Cleopatra hires the young, up-and-coming architect played by the extremely funny Jamel Debbouze. Cleopatra’s usual architect, who is old and traditional, is jealous because he’s not chosen to do the job, so he does everything possible to prevent the younger architect from succeeding. Knowing that it’s impossible to build a huge palace in just three months, the young architect travels to Gaul to get the help of Getafix the Druid who can make a magic potion that can give anyone superhuman strength. So Asterix, Obelix, and Getafix travel to Egypt to help the young architect complete the palace within 3 months. Along the way, the Gauls have to deal with Romans, the other villainous architect, and even pirates that try to stall their task.

Chabet totally understands Asterix and its humor. The screenplay is so funny and has the exact same type of humor that was in Goscinny and Underzo’s book. I really wish that Chabet could direct any future Asterix sequels. It’s too bad he didn’t get to film the third Asterix film, Asterix at the Olympic Games, which was just a piss-poor film. The acting in Mission Cleopatra is perfect as well. Besides Chabet and Bellucci, it’s a treat to see the chemistry between Gerard Depardieu and Christian Clavier. They have been a funny duo in other French films as well, and they certainly are awesome in this film playing Obelix and Asterix.

If people say that Sin City the movie is like the graphic novel coming to life on film, then so is Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra. This movie is like a live-action comic book – from the flow of the film to the funny characters and to the impressive eye-candy special effects. Watching this film gave me the same pleasure as reading the book, or any Asterix book for that matter.

For people who want English subtitles or an English dub, the only way to go is to find this DVD from the United Kingdom. The DVD quality is excellent. The anamorphic widescreen video quality has sharpness and detail that is quite good. The video appears free of edge enhancement and pixelation, which makes a natural, crisp-looking image as good as it’s going to get for a DVD. The French DD 5.1 is really active as well. This movie is full of action with catapults, kicks, and punches so the audio quality is excellent, with clear dialogue and effects. Bass is strong, deep and tight in the action sequences. The English dub is sort of silly sounding but it’s good enough for kids who can’t read subtitles yet.

There are no extras on this DVD.

This movie was made for blu-ray, but it’s only available in Spain and Germany without English subtitles. It’s pretty strange that the blu-ray isn’t even available in France. But either way, this UK DVD is a perfect way to enjoy this masterpiece adaptation of a French comic book. For fans of the Asterix comic book, it’s a masterpiece. For people who have never read the Asterix comic book, it’s still a pretty entertaining and witty movie. I’m sure the non-Asterix fans would rate this film lower, but I just loved this movie as a film by itself and as an adaptation of the comic book.

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