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Film: Sur la piste du Marsupilami

"HOUBA!"

Sur la piste du Marsupilami (On the trail of the Marsupilami) is 2012 Franco-Belgian movie, written, produced and directed by Alain Chabat. It is an adapation of the Marsupilami, comic book character created by André Franquin in 1952.

Dan Geraldo, a washed-out reporter, is given one last chance to revive his career. He must go to Palombia to make a reportage on the Paya people and the secret of their longevity. With his guide Pablito Camaron, he ventures into the Palombian jungle. In the process, the duo confirms the existence of the Marsupilami, a mythical creature.

Meanwhile, 82-year-old botanist Hermoso discovers an unknown species of orchid, which he find out can be used to create a rejuvenating potion. With the help of the treacherous Corporal, he topples the Palombian dictator, General Pochero, and goes hunting for the Marsupilami, which happens to be linked to the orchids.

Add in an ancient Payan prophecy predicting The End of the World as We Know It if the bad guys get their hands on those two treasures of the Palombian forest, and the protagonists are in for a wild ride.

You can watch the trailer.

Sur la piste du Marsupilami provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Amusing Injuries: Any damage inflicted on the soldiers fighting the Marsupilami is this kind. One of them get slammed into the ground head-first... and then makes this muffled comment: "Hey, there're moles...."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "The world will fall into chaos. The birds will sing wrong. The jaguar will be eaten by the rabbit. The tree will cut the lumberjack. And everything will taste like passion fruit."
  • As Herself: Céline Dion
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The Paya language.
  • The Atoner: Dan Geraldo publicly confess on TV that his first reportage was an imposture, before he could be outed by his boss.
  • Badass: The Marsupilami, as in the comics.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: The Chiquito policemen aren't very concerned with upholding the law, for example ignoring an attempted mugging a dozen meters away.
  • Banana Republic: Palombia
  • Battle Discretion Shot:
    • Dan getting blowpipes-darted. We only hear the many "pfft" and see Pablito cringing.
    • The Marsupilami taking care of the three gangsters at the end. We just see the end result of them smashed against a wall, and leaving an imprint of their tattooed faces.
  • Berserk Button: Pablito can't stand being called a liar. He doesn't quite get violent about it (because he's a weakling), but he's very intent in proving he always told the truth about the Marsupilami.
  • Big Bad: Hermoso
  • Black Boss Lady: Clarisse Iris, Dan's boss. Casting a black woman in such a position of power easily sets her up as a ruthless businesswoman.
  • Black Comedy Rape: The scene with Pablito's head and the chihuahua. It doesn't just cross the line twice but a dozen times.
    Dan: I perfectly understand that you wouldn't want to talk about it...
  • Brick Joke:
    • Nobody like the taste of passion fruit.
    • Dan, after falling down a hole, much later falls on top of Pablito in the middle of the jungle. Don't ask how.
    • "The metaphor escaped..."
  • Buddy Picture
  • Buried Alive: "Sand Necktie" version for both Dan and Pablito after they're captured by the Paya.
  • The Cameo: Céline Dion
  • Canis Latinicus: Hermoso calls the new orchid species he discovered "Orchidus Hermorroïde".
    General Pochero: You're sure about the name?
  • Cartoony Tail: The Marsupilami's, of course.
  • Celeb Crush / Loony Fan: General Pochero, toward Céline Dion.
  • Character as Himself: The Marsupilami (and Marsupilamie) in the credits.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Pablito's veterinarian talents, although mostly for show, proves useful at the end to revive the Marsupilami.
  • The Chosen One: Pablito and Dan are the chosen ones from the Prophecy of Chicxulub.
    "CHICXULUB!"
  • Con Man: Pablito
  • Crack! Oh My Back!: Old Hermoso, when trying to give a demonstration of "Austrian Savate". And later, after falling from an elevator platform, he stays stuck for three hours before Pétunia comes help him.
  • Creative Closing Credits: A staple of Alain Chabat's movies.
  • Cruella to Animals: The Corporal delights in animal suffering and watching species go extinct.
  • Cryptid Movie
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Marsupilami against the soldiers trying to capture him. They stand absolutely no chance.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: The Marsu babies making known they're hungry.
  • The Dragon: Corporal
  • Dynamic Entry:
    • The Marsupilami bursting from the fake volcano in the TV Palombia studios.
    • And just afterward, Hermoso driving a jeep through a wall.
  • Egg MacGuffin: The Marsupilami eggs.
  • El Spanish O: Most of the Gratuitous Spanish in the movie is this.
  • Endangered Species: When Pétunia calls Hermoso on chasing an endangered species, he retorts that the Marsupilami isn't even known to "exist", thus it can't be considered endangered.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: What The Prophecy is foretelling if balance isn't preserved.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Corporal
  • Everythings Better With Llamas: Pablito's llama, Ganja.
  • Fast-Forward Gag: When the Paya queen comes to a part of The Prophecy that is getting boring, she has it pass in fast-forward.
  • Feet-First Introduction: The Corporal.
  • Flower in Her Hair: Marsupilamie
  • Foreshadowing: The Prophecy is full of it, naturally. Even so, who's actually "the Woman of Gold and Silver" still comes as a surprise.
  • Fountain of Youth: The distillated orchid juice.
  • Fowl-Mouthed Parrot: Kiki the ara commonly insults Pablito, including while they both swindle some tourists of their money ("Crook." "Imposter." "Mythomaniac.")
  • Freudian Excuse: Parodied with the Corporal, whose hatred of animals seems to come from a break-up with a girlfriend over a cat, as revealed during a rant.
  • The Generalissimo: General Pochero is set up as this kind of character, but it's subverted as he's not much of a villain, and Hermoso soon takes his spot.
  • The Ghost: Racallo, Pablito's informant, whom he speaks to on the phone, but is never seen.
  • Giant Mook: Bolo (played by The Great Khali)
  • Green Aesop
  • I Am Not Weasel: Pablito always corrects people that Chouniño is a coati, and not an otter or a raccoon.
  • Impact Silhouette: Dan Geraldo leaves one through a wall after being kicked by super-strong Hermoso.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Boosted Hermoso uses, among other things, billard balls and fake carrots as darts to take out the Marsu.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Dan on the pirogue, recording his reportage, mentions Pablito.
    Dan: My guide, Pablito Camaron. Puny, underfed, probably illiterate...
    Pablito: I can hear you from that close.
  • Incredibly Conspicuous Drag: Pochero dressing as Céline Dion to distract the palace guards.
  • Insistent Terminology: Hermoso hates being called a gardener; he's a botanist.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Spoofed with Dan Geraldo, who's not at all intrepid and barely competent. His first reportage in Palombia happens to be a complete fraud. He gets better by the end of the movie, though.
  • Is This Thing On?: Dan does this with the business end of a blowpipe. To be fair, he didn't believe it was held by a real Paya.
  • Jaw Drop: Clarisse at the first sight of the Marsupilami.
  • Jerkass: Corporal
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Pablito is a Con Man parting naïve tourists of their money, but he does it for the sake of his numerous adopted children.
    • Dan Geraldo is an arrogant westerner and his first reportage is an imposture, but he does some redeeming heroics at the end.
  • Jungle Japes
  • Just Ignore It: The two guards outside the securized room would rather ignore the Corporal's antics, including when he's beaten up by the Marsupilami.
  • The Klutz: Dan Geraldo. If there's a pit to fall in, he'll fall in. The scene where he destroys General Pochero's Céline Dion shrine stands out. At another time, he almost swallows his own tongue.
  • Latin Land: Palombia, again. It mixes South-American and Mexican influences. (Note that the movie was filmed in Mexico.) This is also fitting with Franquin's original depiction of the fictional country in the comics.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Electricity, instead of hurting the Marsupilami, tickles and makes him laugh. As Corporal discovers when shocking him with a cattle prod.
  • Literal-Minded: The Corporal has some trouble with metaphors. Also used for a Brick Joke.
  • Little Miss Con Artist: Cassandra
  • Loud Gulp: The Marsupilami, being found out by Hermoso, loudly gulps down the cake he's eating.
  • Ludicrous Precision: It sounds like this when Pochero announces that he'll give Dan and Pablito a diversion for "3 minutes 31, maximum." But it's in fact justified, since being such a Céline Dion fanboy, he knows the exact length of the song he's about to use.
  • MacGuffin: The glowing orchids, both for the Marsu and the Big Bad.
  • Made of Explodium: After the Céline Dion dolls fall from their rotating pedestals, they start taking fire for no reason at all.
  • Malaproper: Pablito, although much toned down compared to other roles by Jamel Debbouze. He's even the one correcting Dan on the proper pronunciation of "Marsupilami".
  • Mayincatec: The Paya.
  • Mean Boss: Clarisse Iris
  • Medium Shift Gag: The prophecy is told in animation form through a "magic Super 8 projector" or somesuch.
  • Metafictional Device: In-universe example: Dan Geraldo's father is shaking a TV screen violently while yelling at his son to stop ridiculing himself... and just at the same time, in Chiquito, the whole set coincidentally starts trembling.
  • Military Coup: Hermoso performs an accelerated one, thanks to the help of the Corporal.
  • Mooks: The palace soldiers.
  • Mushroom Samba: The berries that the Paya feed to the protagonists induce this.
  • Mythology Gag: Several to André Franquin and his works, naturally.
    • The baseball half Pablito preciously keep was autographed by famous Palombian player "Andreo Franquino".
    • Hermoso was born in Bretzelburg, the setting of one album of Spirou and Fantasio.
    • The jeep used by Hermoso wears a logo of a black circle with three arrows shooting from it. It is a Palombian symbol from the Zantafio era.
    • The Marsupilami swinging from his tail with his four fists aimed forward (to take out Hermoso) is a move already seen in another album (to take out a gorilla!).
  • Neck Lift: Bolo does this to Pablito, and then to Dan at the same time, in the palace jail.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Pablito pretends to steal the bag of an old woman to be thrown in jail; he gets a few cane strikes for his troubles.
  • Nobody Here But Us Birds: Pablito suggests they'd agree on a bird call to use as a signal, but all Dan can do is quacking like a duck.
    Pablito: A duck in the jungle? There's nothing shocking you?
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The Marsupilami taking his revenge on the Corporal. Very satisfying.
  • Oh Crap:
    • Pablito (and Dan), at the sight of the Giant Mook Pablito just antagonized.
    • Pablito at the sight of the real Paya.
  • Older than They Look:
    • Hermoso under the effect of the orchid juice.
    • The Payas live very old thanks to the orchid. The gorgeous queen is 249 years old.
  • Omniglot: The Paya queen claims that she speaks all languages.
  • One Steve Limit: Parodied; a lot of the soldiers seems to be named Carlos.
    (Carlos gets accidentally shot by a tranquillizer dart)
    Corporal: Sorry, Carlos.
    Carlos: No, I'm alright...
    Corporal: No, the other one.
  • Overly Long Gag:
    Pablito: It's a coati.
    Hermoso: No, it's a raccoon.
    Pablito: It's a coati.
    Hermoso: No, it's a raccoon.
    (repeats...)
  • Overly-Long Scream: The two times Dan Geraldo falls down a hole.
  • Papa Wolf: As in the comics, the Marsupilami is fiercely defensive of his youngs, still in their eggs here.
  • Parody Commercial: A couple for an anti-aging cream. Part of the plot, as they are commercials for Dan's channel's sponsor, which would also be very interested in the orchids.
  • Pass the Popcorn: A pair of Paya actually eat popcorn during the animated prophecy projection.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Un animal qu'on croyait qui n'existait mais qui n'existe !" ("An animal which we believed don't exist but do exist!") — yes, the poor grammar is intentional.
  • Piranha Problem: Marsu still eats them.
  • Point That Somewhere Else: Kiki the parrot does it with its claw to a machete under its throat.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: Kiki
  • Porn Stache: General Pochero has one. It sure makes the Céline Dion song even more hilarious.
  • Prehensile Tail: Guess who.
  • The Prophecy: The lenghty Payan prophecy shown in animation, designating both protagonists as The Chosen One and identifying the Two-Faced Man as the Big Bad.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...:
    • Dan attempts to stun Bolo from behind with a metal tray. The Giant Mook only gets more annoyed.
      Dan: ...I regret this gesture...
    • Pablito tries to knock out a big soldier from behind with a branch. The soldier barely notices, thinking it's a bug.
  • Putting on the Reich: Once Hermoso really starts handling things at the palace, his choice of symbols and uniforms are definitely Nazi-inspired. He earlier mentioned that his mother had been Hitler's chambermaid, after all.
  • Quiz Show: How a youthened Hermoso introduce himself to General Pochero.
  • Race Against the Clock: Toward the end, Dan has to reach the TV Palombia studios in time to broadcast his reportage.
  • Raise Him Right This Time: The final fate of Hermoso; after overdosing on his Fountain of Youth orchid extract, he turns into a baby.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The baby marsupilamis.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Pétunia, Hermoso's assistant, calls it quit once her boss begins Putting on the Reich and exploiting the Marsupilami.
  • Secret Path: There's a secret trapdoor inside the palace prison cell. When asked why he didn't mention it, Pochero answers, "It was a secret."
  • Shout-Out:
  • Showing Off the New Body: Hermoso does this after being youthened. It's still his own body, but he hadn't seen himself like this in 40 years.
  • Sick and Wrong: How Pétunia reacts when she realizes that the man she'd been flirting with is in fact the old professor Hermoso.
  • Signs of Disrepair: When the earth shakes in the studio, the letters for Dan Geraldo's name start to fall, leaving only "DAN GER".
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Parodied (in slo-mo) during the fight between Hermoso and Marsu.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Pablito claims that animal loves him and that he can understand him. Sure, he's good at taming them, as seen with the parrot and coati, but it doesn't always work in his favor (see: chihuahua).
  • Special Effect Failure: invoked Entirely intended with both the ara in the "first aid" scene and the chihuahua in the "dog assault" scene being very obvious puppets. Besides implying No Animals Were Harmed, it makes the scenes twice as hilarious.
  • Spontaneous Choreography: Very much spoofed with the palace guards joining ex-general Pochero in an intricate Céline Dion number.
  • Static Stun Gun: The Corporal is very fond of tasering people with little provocation. He even tries to use a cattle prod against the Marsupilami. Bad idea.
  • Strange Salute: The Palombian soldiers have a weird salute, with the thumb touching the head, the pinkie raised and the other fingers closed.
  • Sudden Musical Ending: The last part of the Creative Closing Credits.
  • Super Serum: The triple-concentrated orchid juice is this for Hermoso. It gives him enough strength and resilience to go toe-to-toe with the Marsupilami. Until he overdoses it, naturally.
  • Super Strength: Hermoso under the effects of the Super Serum.
  • Sweet Tooth: The Marsupilami can't resist cake.
  • Tagalong Kid: Cassandra toward the end.
  • Tattooed Crooks / Facial Markings: The three gangsters Pablito owns money to.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: At the end, Dan Geraldo manages to have Céline Dion sending a message of thanks to General Pochero. He couldn't be happier... too bad he accidentally erases the message.
  • Tracking Device: Hermoso and Pétunia manages to feed one (shaped like a cherry) to the Marsupilami.
  • Tranquillizer Dart:
    • Exaggerated with Dan, who gets dozens of blowpipe darts in the face before fainting.
    • Later played straight with tranq darts fired by a rifle, which take out the Marsupilami (as well as a soldier by accident).
  • Two-Faced: When the effects of the elixir of youth start to wear off, half of Hermoso's face ends up old and wrinkled while the other half is still young-looking. He is even described as "the two-faced man" in The Prophecy, and Pablito identifies him thanks to this.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Bolo, a.k.a. "Little Voice", is a giant of a man with a ridiculously high-pitched voice.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Dan Geraldo
  • A Year and a Day: "The volcano El Sombrero will shoot fire, devastating the Earth for 1,000 years and 2 weeks and a half."
  • "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: Hermoso, talking to the Marsupilami, takes for a "yes" the pained squeal he emits when the Corporal nudges him with the barrel of his gun.


HOUBA HOUBA HOUBA HOUBA
HOP!
TACALI CAPELCHAN SONÉ BINA
HE HOWA PAYA SONE BOBA
HOOOOOOP
I TALÉTI A FTA BOULI
PALABA I PAYA SONÉ BOBA
HOP!
TACALI CAPELCHAN SONÉ BINA
HE HOWA PAYA SONE BOBA
HOOOOHOP
I TALETI A FTA BOULI
PALABA I PAYA SONE BOBA
HOP!
PAYA BO BATI CHAN PAYA SO NÉ XULUB BO BASTI YEL BIL TACALI
PAYA BO BATI CHAN PAYA SO NÉ XULUB BO BASTI YEL BIL TACA
HOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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