DUB Speak

Movie aside Batman, Here come the new screen stars!

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Movie adaptations have revolutionized literature, so much so that many books are now written with the sole view of becoming material for a new blockbuster. It’s hardly surprising therefore that comics, a medium far more visual in nature than books, have chosen to go the same way. Movies about age old comic book super heroes are well known enough, but now even comics of a less dramatic turn are taking the same path. Spielberg is all set to produce a 3-D animated feature film which is to be the first ever movie adaptation of the well known Herge comic masterpiece, The Adventures of Tintin.
The Asterix series, the universally loved comics created by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, has already had many animated and three live action films based on it, and is sure to inspire many more films in the future. While the animated films always enjoy a steady audience, being rather similar to the comics they draw from, both in terms of art as well as story, live action adaptations of such ingrained and familiar characters and stories becomes quite the different challenge. After having pictured a shrimpish Asterix and gigantic rotund Obelix for all your lives it’s somewhat disconcerting to find them both disappointingly human in the live action versions. Moreover live action being rather differently filmed and planned often needs to deviate from the original plot of the comic it is based upon and ends up drastically altering the count and nature of characters as well as the situational plot settings. As such a movie adaptation of a comic, especially a cult such as that of Asterix and Obelix or Tintin has a lot to live up to, and this can only be done through really inspired scripts and direction and highly innovative acting. In this, unfortunately, two of the three live action movies made on the Adventures of Asterix fail miserably.
Both the first 1999 movie Asterix and Obelix take on Caesar and the latest 2008 release Asterix and Obelix at the Olympic Games fell flat due to bad adaptations and poor acting. Ironic considering that they were respectively the most expensive French movie of its time and one of the most expensive European film productions ever. However to be fair Asterix and Obelix at the Olympic Games did do well within Europe but it saw little enthusiasm outside the continent. However Asteric and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, which released in January 2002, more than made up for the other two. After the fiasco of the first movie it proved to many skeptics that Goscinny’s legacy could be carried successfully onto the silver screen.
All three movies are originally in French, though they were dubbed and edited later for an English audience. Claude Zidi’s Asterix and Obelix take on Caesar, though full of big names and talented actors, was a complete washout and the worst implementation possible for such an ambitious project. Asterix and Obelix at the Olympian Games had learnt much from the mistakes of the first movie, and while the direction and editing still lacked luster and the action scenes lacked excitement, the acting was in most cases quite above par, Clovis Cornillac’s depiction of Asterix probably being the best portrayal of the beloved hero seen till date. However it is Alain Chabat’s Mission Cleopatra which really takes home the laurel and justifies the movie adaptations of a classic comic series such as Asterix and Obelix. Succeeding its prequel to become the most expensive French movie ever made in its time, the movie starred the same actors Gerard Depardieu as Obelix and Christian Clavier as Asterix. However with a better story line and far better execution and direction, as well as some really hilarious scenes, this movie very deservingly became a great hit and brought on screen adaptations of comic books a new champion.
Literature in its scope is broadening to include graphic novels and movies are becoming integrally attached to every other medium of art until entertainment becomes a huge potpourri of all these various art forms and mediums and interconnects them irrevocably. The end result is that to justifiably call oneself a connoisseur of a particular comic series, for example, one can no longer stay away from movies made on the same or cartoons derived from those stories and characters. Entertainment becoming increasingly multi dimensional it is only fitting that comics too step out of their narrow pages and occupy and appropriate the screen for their own use. So here’s looking forward to the new Tintin movie soon to release, and a hope it does justice to this trend of interdependent art.

Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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