Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Asterix and Cleopatra

Asterix et Cleopatre; Animated comedy, France/ Belgium, 1968; D: René Goscinny, Lee Payant, Albert Uderzo, S: Roger Carel, Jacques Morel, Micheline Dax

In Alexandria, Cleopatra has a heated argument with Caesar over the incompetence of the Egyptian people, so they make a bet: Cleopatra promises him to make a palace in 3 months. She gives this task to the architect Edifis, who travels to Gaul to seek help from his friend, druid Getafix. Together with Asterix and Obelix, they return to Egyptian territory and start making the palace by giving slaves the magic potion. But Edifis' rival Artifis tries everything to sabotage his work. After the palace is nearly finished, Caesar bombards it to win the bet, but Cleopatra intervenes and wins the beat instead.

"Asterix and Cleopatra" is the second film from the popular animated serial, proving to be superior from the first one in every aspect, from animation standards up to the clever gags placed everywhere. Most of those jokes are little sight gags with subversive humor, like the one where Edifis comes to the Gaul village and discovers the inhabitants are so strong they chop wood with their bare hands (!), or the scene where pirates siege the ship causing one symbol of the flag to jump on the arms of another symbol of the other flag, up to the hieroglyph of Santa Clause on the Pyramid wall. And of course, the scene where Obelix accidentally destroys the nose of the Sphinx is a little classic of unknown individuals causing famous history. One of the down points of this good little film are the unnecessary musical sequences, placed there probably only because the authors thought they "had" to place them there in the midst of all Disney's films at that time, but cute moments, charming mood and surprisingly well done character of Cleopatra makes the animated "Asterix and Cleopatra" a much better version than the live action movie "Asterix and Cleopatra", filmed 34 years later.


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