Asterix and Obelix Meet CleopatraJanuary 30, 2002
Astérix and Obélix go to Egypt to help architect Numérobis who is building a palace for Cleopatra.
Release Year: 2002
Rating: 6.5/10 (16,961 voted)
Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Christian Clavier, Jamel Debbouze
The Egyptian Queen Cleopatra bets against the Roman Emperor, Julius Caesar, that her people are still great, even if the times of the Pharaohs has long passed. She vows (against all logic) to build a new palace for Caesar within three months. Since all her architects are either busy otherwise or too conservative in style, this ambivalent honor falls to Edifis. He is to build the palace and be covered in gold or, if not, his fate is to be eaten by crocodiles. Edifis calls upon an old friend to help him out: The fabulous Druid Getafix from Gaul, who brews a fantastic potion that gives supernatural strength. In order to help and protect the old Druid, Asterix and Obelix accompany him on his journey to Egypt. When Julius Caesar gets wind of the project succeeding, he has the building site attacked by his troops in order to win the bet and not lose face. But just like the local pirates, he hasn't counted on Asterix and Obelix.
Writers: René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo
Jules César (Julius Caesar)
Baba, la vigie des pirates
Barbe-Rouge le pirate
Release Date: 30 January 2002
Filming Locations: Atlas Corporation Studios, Ouarzazate, Morocco
Box Office Details
Budget: FRF 327,000,000
Opening Weekend: €1,201,961
(22 September 2002)
Did You Know?
The frames that show the pirates clinging to the wreckage of their ship are a parody of the painting "The Raft of Medusa", by Theodore Gericault and appear often in the Asterix books.
Just before the characters visit the pyramid, first Idefix is sitting on a step of the pyramid, the next shot he sits next to the "portrait".
These new Romans are better. They fly better.
Yes, their helmets are more aerodynamic.
Asterix Miramaxed! Original French version 9/10 – Miramax cut 4/10
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 live action adaptations that proved colossally successful
throughout Europe but made no impression whatsoever in the
The uncut French version is great fun, but sadly does not appear to be
available in a version with English subtitles outside of the UK DVD.
While there's still no sign of a US theatrical or DVD release, the
Miramax version of Asterix et Obelix: Mission Cleopatre is also on that
DVD (and has played on UK TV), and you'll never guess what – it's been
completely re-edited (at least 21 minutes gone) and dubbed into
English. Maybe Harve mistook it for a Hong Kong movie – after all, he
never saw a foreign film he didn't think couldn't be improved by heavy
re-editing and shelving for a few years.
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. The film was the best attempt to get the
books mixture of slapstick, anachronisms and highbrow classical
humorous asides to the screen, but a lot of the classical references
are gone (such as the great Raft of the Medusa sight gag or the Cyrano
de Bergerac references from Depardieu), 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).
Not a total disaster, but very disappointing considering how good the
full-length version is. It would be nice to think that Miramax would do
a Shaolin Soccer and release both versions, but since they've shelved
both films for two years since paying $45m for them (another classic
case of Harvey's notorious chronic buyer's remorse: gee, wonder why
Disney were so p****d at their overspending) and still have no release
plans, that may just be too much wishful thinking.
It's a real pity that such an accessible and entertaining film will now
only be available to non-French speakers in such a clumsily bowdlerised
version. It seems the plucky Gauls may have been able to defeat
Caesar's legions but are no match for the Miramax jackboot.