Twenty-one-and-a-half years later, Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra is getting a makeover. Notice to those interested: a restored version is even returning to theaters these days. Explanations and impressions with director Alain Chabat.
The cult film has indeed been completely recolored and the sound improved, reel by reel.
Remember that the feature film, inspired by the comic strip by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, starring Gérard Depardieu, Christian Clavier and Jamel Debbouze (among other big names), broke box office records in France (with more than 14 million admissions when it was released in 2002), but here too. With its budget of 50 million euros, this mega-production shot in Malta, Morocco and Parisian studios also embodies one of the ten biggest hits of all time in France.
So what to expect? To higher quality images, higher resolution, special effects included. Not to mention the sound, immersive, worthy of the latest productions of the day. And a brand new trailer, matching the tone of the film, at its peak. Derision and allusions to the rendezvous.
It is striking. It feels like (re) seeing a film of the year.
We also have some new scenes in store (although included in the original DVD), at the very end after the credits, in particular a long version of the famous and incomparable monologue by Édouard Baer (Otis). Because no, there is definitely no good or bad situation, what…
We may be sold in advance, but the question arises: why the hell bring out this blockbuster, almost a quarter of a century old? The idea did not come from the director and screenwriter Alain Chabat, but from the production house (Pathé) itself. “They wanted to restore the film to make it prettier,” says the man who also plays Julius Caesar on screen. “But I had no idea it was going to come out in theaters!” »
Alain Chabat therefore worked with the team to rework the post-production, a job that stretched over two years. A monk’s (or druid’s!), “crazy!” “, he summarizes. “Because it wasn’t just about cleaning up the image and making it brighter,” he says, “but they really…re-edited the film, from the negatives of the original!” “, specifies the one who participated at the “end of the course” to validate everything.
And the result today is even closer to what Alain Chabat dreamed of at the start. An example ?
Other details, which went more unnoticed in the original, stand out more here: “On Cleopatra’s construction site, everything is quite sand, ocher, brown. But in the image, somewhere, there are guards in electric blue. All of a sudden, I saw them! Not to mention the scene where, between the approximately 2000 extras, hides a character similar to Charlie (from Where’s Charlie?): “Today, we can see it clearly! »
Alain Chabat had not seen his film for 20 years. He does not hide his emotion with this new revised and improved version. “The picture and sound are wonderful! It’s a good show! Does he think his references to Jurassic Park, Claude François or Cyrano de Bergerac have aged well? “I’m more pleasantly surprised than critical,” he replies deftly.
“It’s a cool movie anyway, I rebooted, all the actors and all the actresses are in great shape, all on top, very generous, he continues. Monica Bellucci is exceptional, Christian Clavier makes me laugh, the secondary characters too […], not to mention Jamel Debbouze and Édouard Baer, of course. It’s really great fun to watch. »
We remember that this did not prevent Albert Uderzo from not appreciating at the time. A stain on the board that Alain Chabat bluntly confirms, while justifying the “misunderstanding”: “On the day of the performance in 2002, I presented the film in each room and each time, I spoke about the authors. In the 5th or 6th room, I forgot…” However, this was the room where the main interested party was, who obviously did not digest it. “And that is ultra-legitimate. […] It is a misunderstanding and I obviously regret having forgotten it that day…”