Napoleon - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Napoleon Reviews

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December 28, 2014
This was a fantastic representation of the Emperor. Most documentaries only focus on his conquests, but this one goes well into depth of the real Napoleon, the Napoleon that wanted to reform government by removing monarchies and implementing republics. The acting from the supporting roles could have been better, but Christian Clavier made up for that
March 12, 2012
Pretty good French biopic of Napoleon. My only criticism is that the guy playing Napoleon looks so much like Peter Sellers playing Inspector Clouseau.
½ December 15, 2011
Magnificently filmed and enacted!!!
September 19, 2011
Napoléon (2002) directed by Yves Simoneau
Also Known As: Napoleon (Europe: English title) / Tricorne de Napoléon, Le (France) (working title)
Starring Christian Clavier (Les Visiteurs) as Napoleon. Plus all star international cast: Isabella Rosselini, Gerard Depardieu (& small part by his son Guillaume), John Malkovich, small part toward end by Julian Sands. The legendary Anouk Aimee as Napoleon's mother.

Originally a TV mini series and based on a book - I watched the English version on DVD - there are four parts.

So far (2003) the most expensive European TV production.
In July 2003 dollars, the film costs $46,330,000 to make.

I found it refreshing to see Napoleon played by a Frenchman and enjoyed the international cast. I wouldn't have minded watching it in French with English subtitles - might even have made it easier as at times some of the actors speaking in English had a very thick accent. Overall I thought it added authenticity listening to the dialogue with a European accent - when Hollywood actors portray a European character, their American accent can be a hindrance to the film's credibility. Of course there are exceptions; like Meryl Streep's accents are always superior and believable.

I've read a different book on Napoleon's life and most of the events in the film rang true. Even though the mini series was over 300 mins in total, it would be impossible to cover every single event in his life but the final result covered all the important bits. From what I've read, apparently Josephine was an important asset in the beginning of his career because of her superior social skills - an area Napoleon was poorly lacking. I believe that her support helped him move in the right circles and to climb the ranks to the top. The mini series did not emphasise this part of their history - it kind of fast forwarded to the point where he became 1st Consul and made Emperor and it seemed that Josephine was at Malmaison their entire marriage which isnt true - although she spent most of her time there in the latter part of their marriage. Napoleon in person was apparently a little too direct and could say the wrong thing. He also had a bad habit of pinching his favourite's cheeks until they yelped and once he had read his correspondence he threw it around the room. These character traits werent shown in the film and Napoleon was generally portrayed in the same manner throughout, giving the impression that he superhumanly expressed the same emotions (although they did show his singleminded pigheadedness quite well). Again I guess its impossible to show every aspect of his personality and perhaps this is the reason why the filmmakers decided to focus on his ruthless side. I'm generally not into onscreen violence but the battle scenes were in context with the story and the action was quite realistic. Just as I was about to fast forward past the battle scene it would change to a close up of Napoleon strategising with his marshals which was slighter more interesting.
July 23, 2011
While the costuming and production values are lavish, the writing and acting fall short making the overall effect pretentious. "Hey, look, we made a mini-series on Napoleon. Look at the sets, look at the costumes..." The history is told in snippets - this is what happened here, this is what followed there a year later, etc. While somewhat unique, it makes following the story difficult because everything feels disjointed. There is no character development due to this; you don't get a feel for who the characters are and why they are doing what they do. The acting is okay, but everything is overshadowed by the ostentatious sets and costuming. Malkovich and Gerard Depardieu try to ground the project with fine acting, but their roles are too small to have much effect. In the end, you are left with eye strain from being bombarded with the overblown production and boredom because the story just doesn't flow well enough to entice your brain to follow it closely.

You wrote this on 7/5/09.
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