Clarisse Iris: This is your guide, Pablito Camaron.
Dan Geraldo: On the right or the left?
HOUBA! On the Trail of the Marsupilami (French title: Sur la piste du Marsupilami) is a 2012 Franco-Belgian movie, written, produced and directed by Alain Chabat. It is an adaptation of the Marsupilami, a comic book character created by André Franquin in 1952.
Dan Geraldo (Chabat), a washed-out reporter, is given one last chance to revive his career. He must go to Palombia to report on the Paya people and the secret of their longevity. With his guide Pablito Camaron (Jamel Debbouze), 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 (Lambert Wilson), 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.
HOUBA! On the Trail of the Marsupilami provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: Jamel Debbouze's character, Pablito, riding a reluctant llama, utters at one point, "You're not moving at all, Ganja." Just like his character in Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, another Alain Chabat movie, who has the same problem but with a donkey, says: "You're not moving at all, Cannabis."
- 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...."
- Argument of Contradictions: Pablito and General Hermoso have a lengthy argument over Chouniño, Pablito's coati pet.Pablito: It's a coati.
Hermoso: No, it's a raccoon.
Pablito: It's a coati.
Hermoso: No, it's a raccoon.
- 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 is mostly funny-sounding gibberish, with a few obscure references thrown in.
- The Atoner: Dan Geraldo publicly confesses on TV that his first report was a fake, before he can be outed by his boss.
- 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. (And Pablito is trying to get arrested.)
- Banana Republic: Palombia
- Battle Discretion Shot:
- Dan getting blowpipe-darted. We only hear the "pfft" sounds 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 likes 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
- The Cameo: Céline Dion
- Canis Latinicus: Hermoso calls the new orchid species he discovered "Orchidus Hermorroïde".General Pochero: You're sure about the name?
- Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin': Pablito is trying to get thrown in jail to join with Dan Geraldo and help him escape. However, when he pretends to steal an old woman's bag a few meters away from policemen, the corrupt cops aren't paying attention and he just gets a few cane strikes for his troubles.
- Cartoony Tail: The Marsupilami's, of course.
- Celeb Crush: 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 making animals suffer and watching species go extinct.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The Marsupilami against the soldiers trying to capture him. They stand absolutely no chance.
- Cute, but Cacophonic: The Marsu babies making it known that they're hungry.
- The Dragon: The 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.
- 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 foretells if the balance isn't preserved.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Corporal
- Everything's 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.
- 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 parrot commonly insults Pablito, including while they both swindle some tourists of their money ("Crook." "Impostor." "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, billiard 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: The Corporal
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
- Pablito is a Con Man scamming naive tourists for their money, but he does it for the sake of his numerous adopted children.
- Dan Geraldo is an arrogant westerner and his first report is a fake, but he does some redeeming heroics at the end.
- Jungle Japes
- Just Ignore It: The two guards outside the secure 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 it. 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 the 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
- Loony Fan: General Pochero is obsessed with Céline Dion.
- 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 as 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 Incendium: After the Céline Dion dolls fall from their rotating pedestals, they start catching 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 animated form via a "magic Super 8 projector" or somesuch.
- Metafictional Device: In-universe example: Dan Geraldo's father shakes a TV screen violently while yelling at his son to stop making a fool of 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 half a baseball that Pablito keeps as a souvenir 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 previously used 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 to be 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 Scream: The two times Dan Geraldo falls down a hole.
- Papa Wolf: As in the comics, the Marsupilami is fiercely defensive of his young, who are still in their eggs.
- 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.
- Parting-from-Consciousness Words: Dan Geraldo gets a dozen of blowpipe Tranquillizer Darts in the face before fainting.Dan: It stings a bit.
- 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 pas 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 lengthy 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.
- Dan attempts to stun Bolo from behind with a metal tray. The Giant Mook only gets more annoyed.
- Putting on the Reich: Once Hermoso really starts handling things at the palace, his choice of symbols and uniforms are definitely Nazi-inspired. He mentions that his mother was Hitler's chambermaid, after all.
- Quiz Show: How a de-aged Hermoso introduces himself to General Pochero.
- Race Against the Clock: Toward the end, Dan has to reach the TV Palombia studios in time to broadcast his report.
- 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.
- Sand Necktie: Happens to both Dan and Pablito after they're captured by the Paya tribesmen. They're buried about a meter from each other, and spends most of their time bickering, blaming each other for their predicament. Pablito manages to catch a pebble in his mouth and spits it into Dan's face at one point. And then there's the incident with an amorous chihuahua....
- Scenery Porn
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Pétunia, Hermoso's assistant, calls it quits 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."
- Pablito calls a dwarf "Atchoum" ("Sneezy").
- The Chihuahua is called "Didjé", as with the alternate name for the main character of another Alain Chabat movie, Didier.
- Pablito giving a sarcastic compliment says, "Alors là, chapeau melon et bottes de cuir...", the French title for The Avengers.
- Dan Geraldo at one point shouts, "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!"
- Amongst the incomprehensible things the Paya queen says, you can recognize "Lolek & Bolek".
- The Prophecy mentions that the forest will be destroyed and the Paya people will die, "Just like in Avatar".
- The style of the Prophecy is reminiscent of Avez-vous déjà vu... ?, an animated series also by Alain Chabat.
- The way Hermoso presents himself Quiz Show-style parodies Question pour un champion, a popular French Game Show.
- During the Mushroom Samba, Dan sees his own hands as Mickey Mouse's.
- The get-up of the captured Marsupilami recalls Hannibal Lecter's.
- The spitting contest between Pablito and his llama Ganja is probably inspired by Captain Haddock doing the same thing in the Tintin album Prisoners of the Sun.
- The Race Against the Clock is pretext for a 24 parody, complete with multiple screens and digital clock close-up.
- "It wasn't my war!"
- Showing Off the New Body: Hermoso looks at himself in a mirror after being de-aged. It's still his own body, but he hasn'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.
- El Spanish "-o": Most of the Gratuitous Spanish in the movie is this.
- Speak in Unison: When Dan and Pablito recognizes "the Woman of Gold and Silver" and realizes that they are right in the middle of the prophecy, they both say the exact same thing at the same time. And promptly lampshade it, still in unison.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Pablito claims that animals love him and that he can understand them. 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: Entirely intentional with both the parrot 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 (as "hilarious" as a rape scene can be, though).
- 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 on 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: 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:
- 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 and a half weeks."
- "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.
TACALI CAPELCHAN SONÉ BINA
HE HOWA PAYA SONE BOBA
I TALÉTI A FTA BOULI
PALABA I PAYA SONÉ BOBA
TACALI CAPELCHAN SONÉ BINA
HE HOWA PAYA SONE BOBA
I TALETI A FTA BOULI
PALABA I PAYA SONE BOBA
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