Alliance Francaise 1 – Asterix rocks, menhirs, obelisks… Uh, rules! [ACHTUNG – S P O I L E R S]

Thoroughly enjoyed “Asterix et Obelix – Mission: Cleopatra,” the first official feature for the Alliance Francaise’s week of French Cinema. It is the first time I can recall where an adaptation did exactly like the book… In fact, only jokes were added to the story rather than the typical Hollywood approach of using different book-episode contents blended or worse, take the original tale and remove key developments!

The real problem was Olympus’ Cinemas, both VIP & Expo – my, how fallen are the mighty! When reaching Sheraton we ask for Asterix and hand the cashier a $20 bill, I thought she says 13, and I say it’s $12 as the tickets are six EACH – she looks at me blankly and I repeat, “Asterix?” She wrinkles her brow; “Yuh mean de French pictures?” Yesss… “Oh, dat at VIP, not hey.” Isn’t it cool how well she knows her job?

Once you could sit at reclining chairs in the VIP with a blanket from your annual membership and have an attendant ask what you want to drink or eat, even be guided to your seat… Now, it’s find the chair yourself (Which no longer reclines so easily or the leg rests extend, since some seats are broken) and the $18 special of hotdog, popcorn and Large Drink is only at Expo (Only after the staffer checks – is there no product awareness among employees?)

Back to the silver screen – Additions to the film separate from the original story included the Egyptian slave Cellularis who had difficulty transmitting, um, communicating, LOL! Or when Tidivinnus was played like a quasi-Sith Lord and got annoyed when the Roman Empire endured a blow, the general ordered for the Empire to..? Ah, watch the movie folks!

Don’t forget to pay close attention in “…Mission: Cleopatra” to the market scene by the Sphinx when tourists are checking for knick-knacks!

The audience also appreciated the humour, among them another ex-CBC Anchor Sharon Marshall, cackling like a madwoman at most of the crazy jokes like when a cat (Egyptian Mau) was astonished at an argument between Caesar and Cleopatra!

I can easily believe that this picture was one of the most expensive in French Cinematique History and for my part it was worth it, Gerard Depardieux was excellent as the Roman bashing and Boar chomping Obelix. Christian Clavier playing the little indomitable Gaul was perfect and a far cry from his days as the bumbling squire of Jean Reno in “Just Visiting.”

The fight-scene between Artifis and Edifis was hilarious and was nice to see the Matrix theme was not borrowed to despoil an otherwise perfect battle! The end of that fight definitely reminded me of the Bangles’ #1 hit from 1987…

Redbeard the pirate and his crew almost stole the picture, from scuttling their own ship to being the engine for Otis’ (Edifis’ Assistant) invention used at the very end.

The other change was the conclusion of the film, with a hilarious romantic clench between Cleo et Jules… Set to “Te Amo” no less!

I understand there’s Asterix and the Olympics with many of the same team back, by Toutatis, I plan to view that too!

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