Asterix & Obelix Take on Caesar (1999)
Just got through watching ASTERIX AND OBELIX TAKE ON CAESAR (1999), with
Christian Clavier as Asterix and Gerard Depardieu as Obelix. It's a live action adaption of some the Asterix & Obelix comics by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. Yes, it's a comic book movie, just one that few of us have ever heard of.
Without being too spoilerish the plot revolves around the adventures of our two Gauls defending their village from the Romans. From what little of the albums I have read (a couple, years ago), the movie seems to capture their tone and heart quite well. There's violence, but it's all very cartoony and mostly good natured.
Clavier and Depardieu both nail their roles, though Depardieu's over-grown, superhuman, man-child shines brightest. All the comic's characters are given some screen time so you can point at the screen and go "hey, there's so & so"!
I'm not sure why there hasn't been some kind of R1 dvd release; well, there was a Canadian dvd release, but it's out of print and I don't think there were English subs. The movie did well enough theatrically that they made a sequel called ASTERIX AND OBELIX: MISSION CLEOPATRA, that is considered a superior sequel. No one thought it would sell because it's too French or something...
While there is no R1 disc, there are tons of R2 releases. The UK releases is English dub only (*shudder*), the German disc is German dub only, and the other discs include the French audio (5.1 etc...), but no English subs. However, there is a R4 disc (from Madman), that includes the French audio, an English audio track for masochists (okay, useful for small children), and English subs. Most of the review/comparison sites I use don't mention this disc (or the R4 MISSION CLEOPATRA disc); I kinda tripped over them. I think I was poking around for ASTERIX AND THE VIKINGS and these turned up. The disc isn't fancy and the only extra is a trailer (English dubbed), but the movie's widescreen anamorphic and the picture looks great and the French audio track sounds good. If you want to see the movie, with English subs rather than an English dub, this is your only choice.
I don't know how many live action adaptions of euro-comics there have been (the only ones I can think of off the top of my are BARBARELLA and DANGER: DIABOLIK, both quite good). This has certainly got to be one of the better ones, too.