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Old October 14th, 2017, 02:19 PM   #1

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Napoleon (2002)


Thoughts on the four-part Napoleon series starring Christian Clavier? I have just begun it and so far the only problem I have is with the accents.
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Old October 14th, 2017, 03:50 PM   #2

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In truth, it's nice to actually have a French Napoleon - rather than the sadly too typical habit of every blood historical drama defaulting its characters to an English accent.
The only thing which bugged me, and it's very small, is that it looks FAR older than 2002. Watching it, I honestly thought it had been made back in the 1980s.
But Clavier is a great Napoleon, he really catches the charisma and urbanity of the man.
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Old October 14th, 2017, 04:07 PM   #3

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In truth, it's nice to actually have a French Napoleon - rather than the sadly too typical habit of every blood historical drama defaulting its characters to an English accent.
The only thing which bugged me, and it's very small, is that it looks FAR older than 2002. Watching it, I honestly thought it had been made back in the 1980s.
But Clavier is a great Napoleon, he really catches the charisma and urbanity of the man.
Having a French Napoleon definitely appealed to me. When I bought the boxset, I assumed the entire series was going to be in French with the option of English subtitles. I was slightly disappointed that it is, in fact, in English. However, it's definitely enjoyable and you're right: Clavier is great.
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Old October 15th, 2017, 01:22 AM   #4

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But Clavier is a great Napoleon, he really catches the charisma and urbanity of the man.
I don't really agree with that but it may be a personal thing - everybody probably has a different view on historical figures, particularly on Napoleon. I found Christian Clavier a little too "tame", too quiet. In my imgaination, Napoleon was constantly in action, moving, talking, gesticulating.

I've recently read some of the customers' opinions on Amazon.de (for the german version of the movie), and what most people critisized was:
- bad make-up, the characters looking too old at the beginning of the movie
- too uncritical of Napoleon
- over-simplification of historical events and character traits
- not enough focus on battles (well, that's surely something I do not agree with)
- no mention of important events (battle of Leipzig, and I believe the 1809 campaign was missing completely)
- too much corny, unimportant stuff (Napoleon and mother Letizia having a Sunday morning breakfast while discussing world politics - does that really have to be?)
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Old November 23rd, 2017, 10:12 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josefa View Post
I don't really agree with that but it may be a personal thing - everybody probably has a different view on historical figures, particularly on Napoleon. I found Christian Clavier a little too "tame", too quiet. In my imgaination, Napoleon was constantly in action, moving, talking, gesticulating.

I've recently read some of the customers' opinions on Amazon.de (for the german version of the movie), and what most people critisized was:
- bad make-up, the characters looking too old at the beginning of the movie
- too uncritical of Napoleon
- over-simplification of historical events and character traits
- not enough focus on battles (well, that's surely something I do not agree with)
- no mention of important events (battle of Leipzig, and I believe the 1809 campaign was missing completely)
- too much corny, unimportant stuff (Napoleon and mother Letizia having a Sunday morning breakfast while discussing world politics - does that really have to be?)
In other words, you found Clavier's performance a bit too cold and reserved? I can see that, though I definitely liked the panache and antics when he performed them that were indeed very Napoleon-like.
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Old November 23rd, 2017, 04:27 PM   #6

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In other words, you found Clavier's performance a bit too cold and reserved? I can see that, though I definitely liked the panache and antics when he performed them that were indeed very Napoleon-like.
Well, to give you an example - are you familiar with Caulaincourt's report on how Napoleon treated Wintzingerode when the latter was taken prisoner after the French Army had left Moscow? Wintzingerode dares to answer back, and in reaction Napoleon talks himself into a fury that makes him say things that a couple of hours later he himself regrets (but for an emperor, it's not easy to go back on his words, and he needs Caulaincourt to give him an excuse).
That is the Napoleon I was missing in Clavier's performance.

And as discussion of this TV series is all over the place, here's my overall impression from another thread:
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Originally Posted by Josefa View Post
I've only recently seen the series with Christian Clavier and liked it overall, particularly as it cut the (in my opinion) boring stuff rather short (you know, saber-rattling, canon firing, people killing each other). But even four episodes did not offer enough time to actually cover things in detail. I was particularly disappointed that they basically turned Caulaincourt and Duroc into one and the same character. Poor Duroc, considering Napoleon saw him as his closest friend, he hardly ever gets mentioned at all. (Oh, and they took Eugène's coffee mug and gave it to Napoleon! )

The general problem I see with movies about such a complex character as Napoleon - you usually don't have only one side of the story, but in a movie there's not enough time to actually cover that. So you have to turn some characters into "villains", and with Napoleon being the hero of the story there's a danger that people doing the movie will pick only the narratives in which he comes across as the good guy.

And of course there's the sheer amount of events. There's so many little anecdotes that would be perfect for movies and could be used to reveal a lot about a person's character but there's never enough time to truely explore that. I think I would prefer a series of single movies about certain episodes of Napoleon's reign over one that attempts to cover the whole of it.

Last edited by Josefa; November 23rd, 2017 at 05:48 PM.
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