Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre (2002)

(In theaters, June 2002) The second cinema adaptation of the classic “Asterix & Obelix” comic book, and it was a risky proposition: Not only is the first (animated) movie rightfully considered a classic (ooh, those musical numbers… “Quand l’appétit va, tout va!”), but the first live-action Asterix and Obélix wasn’t very well received critically. This second live-action film is better than the lackluster Astérix et obélix contre César and falls short of the insane greatness of Astérix et Cléopatre, but still results in a rather good historical fantasy-comedy. The style is often frenetic, with plenty of sight gags, multiple anachronisms, some good dialogue and a constant sense of fun. Mission Cléopatre is so packed with jokes that even though non-French-European viewers (including French-Canadians) might not understand half the gags, there are still more than enough left to amuse. It relies a lot on pop culture, though (including a reference to Star Wars), so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not nearly as good in ten or fifteen years. In the meantime, enjoy the performances, the jokes and the visual effects.

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