Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (French: Astérix et Obélix : Mission Cléopâtre), also known as Asterix and Obelix Meet Cleopatra, is a 2002 French Sword and Sandal comedy film. It is the Live-Action Adaptation of the comic book Asterix and Cleopatra of René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, and the second Asterix live-action film adaptation after Asterix & Obelix Take on Caesar, directed and written by Alain Chabat (who also starred as Julius Caesar).
Infuriated by Julius caesar's belittlements, Queen Cleopatra makes a deal with him: if the Egyptians build a gigantic palace at Alexandria under three months, he must acknowledge that Egypt was the greatest of nations. To perform this task, Cleopatra hires the architect Edifis, much to the dismay of Criminalis (Artifis in the comic's original English translation), Cleopatra's customary architect. Edifis is clueless about exactly how he can pull this off, then his secretary Otis brings up the druid Getafix, whose potion empowers its drinkers. Edifis goes in search of him far away, in Gaul. Once there, Getafix accepts to go to Egypt and is accompanied by his two trusted warrior friends Asterix and Obelix. Once in Egypt, they face numerous hurdles as both Criminalis and Caesar want to see them fail.
The film starred a great many prominent and up-and-coming French comedic actors and comedians of the early 2000s, with Christian Clavier and Gérard Depardieu reprising their roles as Asterix and Obelix respectively. It also starred Monica Bellucci as Cleopatra and Jamel Debbouze as Edifis.
It was followed by Asterix at the Olympic Games in 2008.
Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra provides examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming: Edifis can never seem to get the Gauls' names exactly right and has to be reminded all the time, though the tries and means well.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Edifis, Otis, and Nexusis, characters with cartoony proportions, are played by young relatively handsome men in the live-action film.
- Adaptational Badass:
- Edifis and Criminalis each get a chance at some magic potion (Getafix giving some to the former to help Obelix while Asterix is bringing Dogmatix to Cleopatra, while the latter gets hold of Asterix's flask that gets dropped when the latter broke through enemy lines). Their confrontation results in a Wuxia-style fight that comes completely out of nowhere.
- Criminalis' lackey is now implied to be an assassin, and certainly looks the part. That being said, he still carries the same role as his comic self, though avoids any altercation with the Gauls.
- Adaptational Personality Change: Along with being Adaptational Attractiveness, Otis trades his original self's dignified self for having a penchant for long-winded speaking about... anything.
- Adaptational Villainy: Criminalis' reasons for undermining Edifis are less about greed, since as Cleopatra's royal architect he doesn't know Edifis. Rather than Edifis refusing his one-sided offer, here he gets passed up for what he sees as a young upstart. On the other hand, he doesn't make peace with Edifis and they even duke it out. Edifis even offers terms of peace, but Criminalis refuses, stating "A lion doesn't cooperate with a cockroach."
- Adaptation Expansion: Minimal, compared to the other adaptations, but it happens:
- The biggest one being Asterix's charge through Roman lines to deliver Edifis' message to Cleopatra not being as simple or easy as in the comic. He ends up dropping his potion gourd (for Criminalis to find and drink), potion wearing off midway during the journey, and thus, having to steal a chariot to get to Alexandria. To solve his journey back through enemy lines, he gets "the best potion", as Getafix puts it.
- During the scene mentioned above, Criminalis finds Asterix' gourd and drinks from the magic potion, after which he and Edifis, who likewise drank the potion, settle their conflict with a kung-fu fight. This scene does not happen in the comic.
- Adaptation Name Change:
- Criminalis' right hand man, Nexusis, was originally named Tournevis in French, Krukhut in English.
- Exilbris (Misenplis in French), Edifis' scribe, is renamed Otis, mostly for an elevator joke.
- Combined with Gender Flip and Race Lift, Caesar's spy is renamed Cartapus from Mintjulep/Ginfis.
- A lot of English names were changed in the English dub, Artifis now being Criminalis.
- Adaptation Title Change: The movie was based on Asterix and Cleopatra.
- Adapted Out:
- The Gaulish village's chief Vitalstatistix is nowhere to be seen.
- While the cake scene plays out pretty much the same, the taster is never seen to be cured.
- The group never visit Edifis' house after their audience with Cleopatra.
- Caesar's spy is never shown to drink the potion, primarily because of the spy's Race Lift and Gender Flip wouldn't allow being disguised as a worker to work.
- Animal Reaction Shot: Used when Cleopatra announces her palace will be built in three months. Most of the people in the scene get a reaction shot and mutter "Three months?", including a kitten whose meow sounds close to the word "month".
- Argument of Contradictions: Criminalis and Ceplus have a protracted argument where they're just repeatedly saying "Yes" and "No" to each other, until they're simply hissing in each other's faces.
- Arrowgram: Used to get a message to the architect on a construction site.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- Trilingual, actually. The fight between Criminalis and Edifis, being a parody of Wuxia tropes, includes the two of them randomly bursting into two distinct Chinese dialects:Criminalis: [in Cantonese] I will show you that Roman kung-fu is stronger!
Edifis: [in Mandarin] I don't understand what you're saying, I only speak Mandarin.
Criminalis: [in Mandarin] I dare you to come!
- Another instance overlaps withGenius Bonus, with a sentence in hieroglyphs that spells: "The one who read that is an egyptologist."
- Trilingual, actually. The fight between Criminalis and Edifis, being a parody of Wuxia tropes, includes the two of them randomly bursting into two distinct Chinese dialects:
- By the Lights of Their Eyes: The main characters are stuck in one of the Pyramids of Gizah. When their torches go out, they suddenly turn into cartoon eyes floating in the dark (and stay that way until Dogmatix leads them out).
- Camp: The movie makes no attempt to hide its cheap-looking effects and status as The Theme Park Version of Ancient Egypt. It actually works really well combined with the typical mixture of Satire and Slapstick of an Asterix story.
- Canon Foreigner:
- Redbeard has a daughter here as one of his crew. No mention or hint of Erix.
- Cleopatra has an entourage of four courtesans, one of which is named Guimieukis (pronounced "Gimme-a-kiss" in French) and serves as a parodic Love Interest for Asterix.
- The character of Vodafonis (Itineris in French), who is depicted as the speaker of the workers, while in the book they didn't really have any.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Edifis spends the ending explaining to a guest his "Phare à On" joke, to his annoyance.
- The Door Slams You: The one scene that matches most faithfully the comic and earlier Animated Adaptation (in fact, using pretty much the same angle). Obelix warns the Egyptian prison guard that he and his fellow Gauls are about to come out of their cell, but the guard just laughs it off, thinking he's safe sitting behind the heavy reinforced door. Not so, which result in him being slammed against the floor when said door is torn off its hinges, and Obelix grumbling he should have listened. An original element is Asterix stopping a bit to press onto the door, further flattening the poor guard.
- Dub-Induced Plotline Change: As typical of Miramax, a good 20 minutes or so was cut in the English version. Most notable being the Running Gag of people commenting on Cleopatra's nose, but a lot of scenes with Obelix was also cut for some reason.
- Epic Movie: The most expensive French film at the time of its release, boasting big sets and an All-Star Cast.
- Evil Laugh: At one point, when Criminalis has the "horrible idea" (in the sense of "evil") of using a poisoned cake, he giggles for quite a while (complete with chattering his teeth) while saying plenty more ideas have popped in his mind.
- Eye Take: This film's take on Baba the lookout's Oh, Crap! when he finally sees the Gauls on the Egyptian ship, complete with close-up to sell his reaction.
- First Kiss: Turns into a Magic Kiss for Asterix.
- Gender Flip: Caesar's spy from the comics and 1968 animated adaptation is a man, it's a woman here (complete with a change of name), played by Chantal Lauby (of Les Nuls and La Cité de la peur fame).
- Greeting Gesture Confusion: Between Caesar and Criminalis.
- Handicapped Badass: By virtue of Jamel Debbouze (who lost the use of his right arm at the age of fourteen) playing Edifis, including during the final Wuxia-style showdonw.
- Impact Silhouette: Toward the end, the villain Criminalis is punched by Edifis and crashes through a series of walls, leaving various funny man-shaped holes in them. Then he ends up half-embedded in the last, in the posture of an Egyptian mural.
- Informed Flaw: While he's still shown not to be the best of his craft due to his unusual decisions, Edifis' construction abilities aren't shown to be as bad as his comic self, said unusual decisions including a door high on a wall... just in case a second floor will be built.
- It's Quiet… Too Quiet: From Edifis, followed by...
- Japanese Tourist: When visiting the Sphinx, in the souvenir shops.
- Live-Action Adaptation: Of the 1963 comic book.
- Love at First Sight: This is Asterix's reaction upong seeing Guimieukis for the first time, all while "Ti amo" by Umberto Tozzi is playing in the background.
- Magic Kiss: When Asterix doesn't have any magic potion left, a True Love's Kiss helps.
- Malicious Misnaming: Ceplus, unlike Edifis, outright states that he doesn't care about names (he only gets three right: Caesar's, Cleopatra's, and Cartapus') and, depending on who he's talking to, will correct himself or snap at being corrected.
- Metronomic Man Mashing: A classic move for Asterix and Obelix in the comics, used here by Cartapus on Menubestofplus, to prove Caesar that she took magic potion.
- Ms. Fanservice: With Monica Bellucci as Cleopatra, they couldn't pass up flaunting her. Her courtesans follow suit.
- Naughty Birdwatching: Criminalis spies on the worksite during the "I Feel Good" song by holding his hands like binoculars, with it looking like from his POV like he's actually using binoculars. He's briefly distracted by three women before he spots Asterix and Obelix.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: They eat lambs. As well as anybody unlucky enough to displease Cleopatra.
- Redemption Rejection: During their duel, Edifis points out to Criminalis that fighting each other is stupid and they should just form a partnership and finish the construction together. Criminalis refuses.
- Relax-o-Vision: As Obelix charges towards the first set of legionaries in the desert, the film is paused then cuts to a short clip from a documentary on crayfish. The film resumes by skipping to the building site where the Gauls are literally throwing out the legionaries that managed to enter the site. First thing we even see are soldiers being sent flying over the walls
- Rule of Three: The pirates' ships get sunken three times over the movie.
- Sequel Goes Foreign: The first movie was set entirely in Gaul, this one takes Asterix and Obelix to Egypt.
- Shout-Out: Lots of them, with Satire/Parody/Pastiche too.
- The lamb being lowered in the crocodile pit is an obvious parody of a scene from Jurassic Park.
- As the pirates starts charging towards Edifis' ships, Redbeard stands on the prow of his own ship:Redbeard: I'm the king of the world!
- Caesar's second-in-command is named Caius Ceplus, pronounced "C+" in French, a short name for the French TV channel Canal+.
- About Ceplus, he's a Darth Vader parody, though this is only milked during the big battle. Including Imperial March snippet, and the Roman empire being used as the Star Wars' Galactic Empire.Ceplus: When it gets struck, the Empire strikes back.
- For Star Wars, there's also:Edifis: Do you know Getabamenix? He's a droid.
- When Criminalis spies on the building site, you can see a man wearing the Egyptian equivalent of the Wally's Iconic Outfit from Where's Wally?.
- James Brown's "I Feel Good". During that sequence, a trio of bearded musicians makes a brief appearance.
- After climbing on the Sphinx and accidentally breaking its nose, Obelix comments "Tis a rock!... a peak!... a cape! — A cape, forsooth! Tis a peninsular!" A shout-out to Cyrano de Bergerac doubling as an Actor Allusion, since Gérard Depardieu also famously played Cyrano.
- Inside the pyramid, the By the Lights of Their Eyes animated sequence uses "Yakety Sax" (The Benny Hill Show theme).
- "Run, Astérix, run!"
- As in the comic, Cleopatra complains being tired of profile art and prefers a three-quarters angle, proceeding to give us a famous example: the Mona Lisa Smile, complete with similar hairstyle and outfit.
- When Redbeard's ship is sunken again (courtesy of Obelix kicking a boulder too far), his pirates are left floating on a makeshift raft. The shot composition and poses parody Théodore Géricault's 1818-19 painting The Raft of the Medusa. That gag was taken from a different comic, Asterix the Legionary.
- Edifis and Criminalis' battle is a shameless Wuxia parody, complete with both randomly speaking Mandarin at one point. Anime-esque Speed Lines are also present.
- Just before the fight, Criminalis tells Edifis "Stop your salamalecs, Bettoun", a quote from the movie Le Grand Pardon.
- Something Else Also Rises: When Guimeakis kisses Asterix, the wings on his helmet rises.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Cartapus' introduction to Caesar is to suddenly be here, to his shock. She departs the same way, demonstrating her talent as a spy.
- Strange-Syntax Speaker: A comedy trademark of Jamel Debbouze, playing Edifis.Cleopatra: If you finish [building the palace] on schedule, there will be gold for everyone.
Edifis: That's nice of you.
Cleopatra: Otherwise, the crocodiles.
Edifis: That's less nice of you.
- Translation Convention: A plot point of the book was that none of the workers spoke Gaulic or Latin, meaning Edifis had to translate everything they said. The movie drops that particular problem (except for the corrupt boat captain, Edifis and Otis doing the translation for Asterix and Obelix).
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Parodied with Cleopatra, Caesar, Edifis, and Otis in it, complete with music. Redbeard, who, along with the other captured pirates, serve as the mechanism for the machine, snips at the "no-effort" comment made by Edifis and Otis.
- Vocal Dissonance: Fed up with Criminalis' constant "The lion doesn't ally with the cockroach" taunting during their fight, Edifis delivers a high kick that sends Criminalis crashing through several walls (leaving Egyptian art style Impact Silhouettes throughout) then asks "WHO'S THE LION NOW?!" in a completely different voice than his normal one (in French, it's the voice of Thierry Desroses, who has suitably dubbed Samuel L. Jackson since Pulp Fiction).
- Walk Like an Egyptian: A common gag is to have random Egyptians in the background walking like on murals. And at the end, when Criminalis loses a fight he ends up slammed into a mural in this pose. He's still there in The Stinger... with the Bangles' "Walk Like an Egyptian" as final music.
- Waxing Lyrical: Asterix quotes "Alexandrie, Alexandra" by Claude François and the pirate captain quotes "Santiano" by Hugues Aufrey.
- You Talk Too Much!: A Running Gag with Otis.