Director: Alain Chabat | 105 minutes | adventure, comedy, family | Actors: Jamel Debbouze, Alain Chabat, Fred Testot, Lambert Wilson, Géraldine Nakache, Liya Kebede, Patrick Timsit, Aïssa Maïga, Dalip Singh, Jacques Weber
Journalist Dan Geraldo is not a great hero and pretends to always be on the lookout for the latest big world news in remote or dangerous places. According to his sources, there is a yellow beast with black dots and an extremely long tail in the tropical forest of Palombia (a fictional state somewhere in Latin America). Locals call this mythical creature Marsupilami. But does the Marsupilami only exist in the minds of the Palombians or is it a real animal species not yet discovered by man? Then, together with the local guide and hustler Pablito, goes into the jungle to search for the Marsupilami. In addition, the pair falls from one (un) pleasant surprise to the other and the men have to deal with an eccentric and nefarious botanist, a gentleman who has completely different and less noble reasons to track down the Marsupilami.
The Marsupilami is a creation of the Belgian cartoonist André Franquin, also the man behind the gangly comic icon Gaston Flater. Despite the title, it takes a while before the yellow fantasy creature makes its appearance in the film “On the trail of the Marsupilami”. Fortunately, the computer did spit out a Marsupilami couple (both a male and a female play in the film) that look fun and convincing. Furthermore, the film largely does what the synopsis promises us: serving the viewer a colorful adventure including natives, exotic creatures and villains. In the acting field, “In the wake of the Marsupilami” is mainly carried by Jamel Debbouze. The Frenchman with North African roots convincingly puts himself in the shoes of Pablito, a chaotic toutman with a typical Latin American temperament who, despite his escapades and sometimes dubious attempts to pay off his huge debt mountain, actually has a heart of gold and thus sympathy. calls up. Pablito claims to be the only person who has ever seen the Marsupilami in person, a statement that of course comes to scorn him in his hometown. The Indian show wrestler The Great Khali, known in the United States, also has a modest role as the giant of the local Indian tribe.
What is striking is that the dubbed Dutch version has a somewhat plastic and artificial appearance compared to the original French-language film. Although the endearing and beautifully crafted Marsupilamis could have deserved a little more screentime, “On the Trail of the Marsupilami” is an entertaining family movie across the board that guarantees an hour and a half of accessible entertainment.