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The Visitors: The Revolution, a comic testament

We have seen worse than The Visitors: The Revolution, but it is not joy.

TF1 will rebroadcast The Visitors: The Revolution this evening , but Première does not really recommend it … Here is our review, initially published when it was released in spring 2016.

By dint of reading articles on the lack of press screenings and previews, The Visitors: the Revolution ended up freaking us out in advance. Still, the film is less dismaying than anticipated. It does not mean that it is good, successful or even necessary. Amazingly long (110 minutes), it is above all interminable and starchy. The Corridors of Time lasted 112 minutes and set off in pure hysteria with a nexus devouring Quad Cloned Keyboard. Eighteen years later, The Visitors: The Revolution no longer has the lungs to run everywhere. After a strange prologue and its medieval ambush, the film starts exactly where The Corridors of Time ended. : in 1793, when Jacquouille and Godefroy were captured by the Revolutionaries. To justify the twenty years that the heroes have taken in the legs, the voice-over of a witch explains to us that they age ten years a week because the corridors of time are messing around. This scriptwriting trick tries above all to excuse the play of Jean Reno who unfortunately apparently no longer has the energy and stature to go through the film like the knight he is, and is content, with absent air, to hang around the background. Like the whole, which does not move much despite its title. Once saved from the clutches of the revolutionary tribunal, the heroes encrusted with the family of Montmirail version 1790’s who sought to emigrate to Austria. Here they are in Paris,

Robespierre has the shit

Almost the entire film will get stuck in the walls of Gonzague’s mansion, with a couple of janitors (Marie-Anne Chazel and Pascal N’zonzi) downstairs, Marat and his wife upstairs, Charlotte Robespierre ( Sylvie Testud) and Jacquouillet (Clavier) at the top. And counting the Montmirails (Alex Lutz, Karin Viard, Stéphanie Crayencour), the supporting roles are spent with pleasure if not with profession. Clavier is more convincing in Jacquouillet, a sympathetic public accuser in love with Charlotte Robespierre, than in Jacquouille’s stinking guenelles where he serves us the same number as in 93 and 98. After a dinner between Convention members dominated by Robespierre (Nicolas Vaude, superb) taken from a violent diarrhea after having eaten the black pudding of Pascal N’zonzi (sic), the scenario abruptly branches off to an almost unexpected conclusion. But, again, far too long. Everything is poorly degreased, despite – and this is obviously paradoxical – its rather lively assembly. Some scenes are missing, others are endless and revolve around two looping comic elements: the pestilential smell of our heroes and the excrement. It’s boring.

“It is in France that the world is made”

The revolutionary framework poses a problem: the humor of the first Visitors was displayed in the arrival of the Middle Ages in France in 1993. But a Renault 4L from La Poste in 1993 was still a Renault 4L from La Poste in 2016. The present of Visitors is our present. The gap between the French in 1793 and the medieval polecats that emerged from 1124 is necessarily less fruitful. Less relevant. Less funny. And if ever the film had the ambition to tell something about the Revolution, it is just as shabby. The Visitors 3 describes the Terror with all the clichés right from the montage sequence of intro (where Saint Just is filmed shouting “we do not judge, we kill!” , Distorting his sentence“I do not judge, I kill” ): the revolutionary stinking beggars trained by devious politicians, versus the powdered nobles disconnected from the real. In 2016, 18 years later, the return of Godefroy and Jacquouille does not sound so disconnected from reality, at a time when Les Nouvelles aventures d’Aladin and Les Tuche 2 exceeded 4 million admissions. The Revolution does indeed resemble their ancestor from the depths of time (the 90s) and who contemplates his grand-grand-grand-grandchildren like Lutz and Abitan. It just lacks Kev Adams, in fact, to highlight the fact that The Visitors: The Revolution is indeed our time and our space. And not at all an anomaly, or a ghost.

The secret behind the door

The secret of The Revolution hides, perhaps, at the very end of its credits. In Visitors 2 , Jean-Marie Poiré staged himself at the same level as Clavier and Reno. Usually triumphant wearing a JMP cap, perched on a crane camera, Tony Scott Frenchy yelling orders to his troops. Once the credits for Visitors 3 are   over, a small scene appears. In the decor of Gonzague’s 18th century apartment, Poiré – without a cap – appears and gently closes a door. Fade to black. That’s all. With this postscript, The Visitors 3 leaves the bizarre impression that the ex-king of French comedy (whose last film dates back to 2002: My wife is called Maurice, 710,531 admissions) has just left his cinema testament. With this film without the energy of yesteryear, he closes the door, silently, without disturbing anyone

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