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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 big-budget live action adaptations that proved colossally successful throughout Europe but made no impression whatsoever in the English-speaking world.

This follow-up to Asterix and Obelix Take On Caesar/Asterix et Obelix Contre Cesar is easily the most successful attempt to get the books mixture of slapstick, anachronisms and highbrow classical humorous asides to the screen, mixing classical references (such as a great Raft of the Medusa sight gag or the Sphinx's broken nose inspiring Depardieu's Obelix to quote Cyrano de Bergerac), alongside more modern pop-culture references - mobile phones, Star Wars and even The Benny Hill Show. It's also incredibly spectacular and lavishly designed, putting many recent epics to shame. Some of the subtitles, however, leave a little to be desired, with joke names such as Matthieukassovix changed to Lennykravix for Anglophone consumption (very jarring when you can still hear the originals), but that's a minor complaint compared to the Miramax cut also included here. Not all of it works, but it's still great fun.

Despite paying a reputed $45m for both films, in a classic case of buyer's remorse Miramax completely re-edited the film (at least 21 minutes gone) and crudely dubbed it into English. Maybe Harvey Weinstein mistook it for a Hong Kong movie. 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.

Aside from the voices for Gerard Depardieu and Monica Bellucci just seeming very, very wrong, a lot of the classical references are gone (the Raft of the Medusa and Cyrano gags among them), the pirates are reduced to a single sequence, 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, so it's not quite a total disaster, but very disappointing.

Still, Pathe's UK DVD gives you the choice of both versions in excellent transfers, even if it is at the cost of any extras (the French DVD was a lavish two-disc set, but without English subtitles). But you'd definitely be better off sticking to the uncut subtitled French version even if you're buying it for the kids - tell them think of it as a reading a book with moving pictures!
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on September 11, 2008
What a superb film! An amazing recreation of a favorite Asterix story. Characters and action are brought to life with excellent special effects translating cartoon reality into a 3D world. If your french is pretty good, then go to Amazon.fr and search for "Mission Cleopatre edition prestige" and make sure you get the 2 DVD set: this will give you a most remarkable second disc with interviews, but above all a full length documentary on the making of this film. And you'll find that Amazon.fr have all your details at hand and that ordering is as easy as from Amazon.com. I have watched this documentary twice now with great enjoyment and have gained immense admiration for the military precision necessary to make a film of this complexity. The reason I recommend the French 2-DVD set for french speakers is because of the lack of english subtitles, although my wife still enjoyed the documentary since most of the content is visual and obvious.
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on January 12, 2010
Since I was a kid, I've loved Asterix the Gaul in both his comic book and cartoon incarnations. Over the past 10 years, Asterix has appeared in live-action movies as well, with mixed results. To me, "Mission Cleopatra" is clearly the best of his three cinema outings to date.

Unlike the cute but disposable first film, "Mission Cleopatra" is actually laugh-out-loud funny. It also features some cerebral jokes -- including references to the Mona Lisa and the Raft of the Medusa -- in addition to the inevitable slapstick. In short, this is a smart comedy, as indeed all good Asterix films and comic books are.

"Mission Cleopatra" is also perfectly cast; Depardieu and Clavier look and act exactly like their comic book counterparts, Monica Bellucci is suitably gorgeous, and Claude Rich is the wittiest live-action Getafix we've seen to date. I also like Jamel Debbouze as Edifis, for the most part, though he does dominate the movie a bit too much. That said, I prefer his interpretation of the character to the drippy and defeatist Edifis from the older cartoon version of this story.

The film's production values are another highlight. While it doesn't look quite as expensive as a Hollywood blockbuster (because nothing else is that expensive), "Mission Cleopatra" does boast some cool sets, tons of extras, and pretty cool CGI that is often used to very humorous effect.

There are a few downsides, however; some of the pop culture references grated on me, and arguably no movie adaptation can live up to the wittiness and charm of the Asterix comics. That said, I think this is a very, very good live-action depiction of the Asterix universe. To see an Asterix movie done really badly, one need look no further than the third film in the series, "Asterix at the Olympic Games," which makes this movie look like "Citizen Kane" in comparison...
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on January 21, 2007
I am not even sure why I rented Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, I had so little hopes for it after the dreadful first live-action Asterix film. But I'm glad I did, for it turned out to be a terrific film.

For one thing it has Monica Bellucci as Cleopatra. She is just a gorgeous woman, and the really skimpy outfits she wears in this movie make me think it was not aimed at a kids audience! It's actually surprisingly sexy, and she is not the only really pretty woman in the film either.

For another thing it is very funny, not just keeping many of the original jokes from the graphic novel, but also introducing many new ones, surprisingly successful.

And last but not least, the film looks fantastic. This is not your father's French movie, this is a big budget feature, and it looks like it. The set designs, the landscapes, the costumes, everything is pure eye candy. I'm not kidding.

Warmly recommended.

(If you get the DVD with two versions, watch the original French version, the English-language one has 20 minutes cut from it, and is not well dubbed.)
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on December 25, 2008
An outstanding comedy, Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, is the second film based on the ever popular French comics. The two Gauls, Asterix and Obelix, are sent to Egypt to help Queen Cleopatra build a palace and so win a bet against the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar!
Gerard Depardieu, Monica Bellucci (who is GORGEOUS!), and the rest of the cast, have truly outdone themselves with their performances, which are outstanding to say the least. All the actors, without exceptions, give it their 100% and it really shows (the chemistry is AMAZING)! Very well written and very well presented, the movie is without a doubt guaranteed to provide more than just a few laughs.
The setting, the plot, the dialogues, the humor (!!!), and the music are all wonderful!
In short, Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra is a movie definitely worth watching and one to seriously consider adding to your movie collection!
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on April 16, 2010
Make sure you have a dvd player that plays region 2 DVDs because this movie is a must see! (Your PC will probably play this movie, if no dvd player) Slapstick comedy, fun storyline, good pretty much for all ages, and it has Monica Bellucci.
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on February 27, 2013
the acting is good, the sets are nice, the music is nice, they ACTUALLY FOLLOWED THE COMIC.
sadly they didn't learn as the movie afterwards was rubbish

but most characters aren't in the correct role,numerobis in previous adaptation and comics is not like that.
and asterix well.. he is not developed at all and that is problematic. that being said this is still a good and funny movie, but the main character is as two dimensional as the disc
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on February 5, 2007
"Mission Cleopatra" is more melodramatic & colourful than the first live Asterix film. Based on "Asterix and Cleopatra", the 1965 French comic. Cleopatra hires Asterix, Obelix and Getafix to help build Caesar's Egyptian palace. There's favorites like the pirates and Dogmatix, plus new jokes. Watched it in French, pretty enjoyable. It went on a bit toward the end, but I liked it.
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on May 3, 2013
Great Fun!!! They really capture the spirit though they don't follow the letter of the books! The version I purchased didn't have any extras which was too bad. I saw a rental version years ago with a "Making of.." bonus which would have been great to have. Still a movie that I can watch over and over, I'm glad I bought it.
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on June 26, 2013
Not only did I have to reformat my laptop to watch the video, the volume was so low that even with speakers I couldn't hear well enough to understand the French.
If it had been formatted for the US, perhaps the sound would have been better.
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