(Mostly spoiler-free)

2004, Written and directed by Enki Bilal
Adaptation of the comic book Nikopol trilogy (BDs La Foire aux Immortels (1980) Gods in Chaos, La femme piege (1986) The Female Trap and Froid Equateur (1992) The Coldness of Equator) by Bilal himself.

A cryogenically frozen convict falls from earth's orbit into a decrepid, late 21st century New York. Hovering above the city is a giant pyramid in which the ancient egyptian gods have returned to earth to grant the last request of banished Horus, condemned to lose his immortality. The human and deity convicts cross paths ...

Protagonists:

Nikopol
Deserter from the early 21st century who returns to earth after several decades of cryogenic suspension
Horus
Egyptian God of humanoid form having a falcon head. His last request before banishement was to roam the earth for seven days
Jill Bioskop
Strange blue woman. All her pigmentation is blue; blue hair, blue eyes, blue tears, blue lips, blue nipples... Has very strange powers.

Comic VS Movie differences:

Releases:
- March 2004 in Europe
- May 2004 in Japan
- No dates for North America and the rest of the world ...

This....

How can I....

What was....

Okay, from the top. Ancient Egyptian gods come to Future Theme Park Earth in their big levitating pyramid Winnebago 'cause Horus is getting turned mortal after some godly infraction, possibly having something to do with public nudity. His godly cohorts, Anubis and Bastet, are distinguished mostly by their stiff-looking animal heads, their disturbing lack of clothing, and their affinity for freaking Monopoly. How I wish that last bit were not true. Anyway, let's call that Movie A.

Meanwhile there's a white-skinned alien woman by the rather prosaic name of Jill, who looks all the world like a female Keanu Reeves, who copiously cries purest Ty-D-Bowl, who has the driest scalp I’ve ever seen, and whose doctor wants to experiment on her. Even though their relationship is supposed to be over, she’s still visited frequently by her extra-dimensional boyfriend, Darkman. This is Movie B.

Meanmeanwhile, a frozen capsule, containing someone who seems to be a resistance fighter against one of those stock evil megacorps that infest future dystopian life, falls out of its airship storage rack (don't ask) and its contents thaw out. This is Nikopol, or something like that. He's possessed in short order by Horus and given a new metal foot, and is then pursued, apparently, by a guy who can only be described as Inspector Lestrade of Borg. Movie C, ladies and gentlemen.

Incredibly meanwhile, a computer-generated, humanoid lump of mashed potatoes in a business suit and his computer-generated, skanky secretary, sic lobster sharks, lobster sharks guys, on Nikorette because… well, because when you’re evil you need no excuse. Why are they, the detective, and approximately half the other characters in the film done on computer? No clue. Oh, and although they also probably use CGI for Lobster Boy, it looks exactly like a guy in a suit! Movie D.

And in Movie E, there are some other CG guys doing some things that I frankly couldn’t make much sense of. Some of them explode, one has an overcoat without any skin underneath, one sees in grainy television with a red crosshair dot in the middle, and much, much, much much more.

Over the course of the film:

  • Opening credits are a mixture of microscopic life, stars and galaxies, and what I can only assume is the joint smoke enjoyed by the director/producer/writer/adaptor of the original French comic book – that he also wrote.
  • Jill cries her thin blue tears so much that I can only assume it was a turn-on for the auteur (she literally fills a bathtub with them). We find out that she’s human-like but her organs are all in the wrong place. ("Open your naughty bits and say 'ah.'")
  • We get far too many views of Horus’ toned birdman ass. I take this as a personal sign of the contempt the director has for the audience, like him mooning us by proxy.
  • Nikopov, while under the influence of the divine naked birdguy, rapes Jill, twice, and while Jill is not exactly pleased she isn’t really mad, and seems to take his explanation (in essence "it wasn’t me, but the ancient Egyptian Hanna-Barbera character that lives inside me") without too much question.
  • We meet a tiny, translucent table polisher creature, and a gun-toting green version who lives in Jill's bathroom. If you think I'm leaving information out on purpose to make this review funnier then I suggest you find the movie yourself and see if you can deduce anything more from it.
  • Several times we’re confronted with the future’s most loathsome form of advertising, holographic billboards which broadcast all kinds of lame futureshock slogans at the viewer. Most of them are propaganda against EvilCo, because apparently, in the future the Internet does not exist. (Also, while many of the characters and all of the sets are fully computer generated, the one confirmed computer screen we see in the film has a black screen with green letters!)
  • And at the end, most infuriating of all, Jill loses her memory and becomes human, but because she was impregnated by Horus, her new three-month-old kid turns into a bluebird on a whim and has his randy way with local pigeons!

While obviously a technical achievement in that it was filmed with digital sets, just like Sin City, these CG characters live, work, and run a small bread and breakfast smack in the middle of the uncanny valley. I'm given to understand that the film makes a lot more sense if you’ve seen the French comic book first, but dammit, if my brain contained a context by which these events could be made lucid I’d probably not be happy about it. It looks, sounds, and plays out like the bastard Golan-Globus lovechild of Brazil and The Fifth Element.

If you ever need to prove to someone that a movie needs more than pretty pictures to work as a film, then this is incontrovertible evidence in favor of your thesis.

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