Louis Clichy and Alexandre Astier (director)
27 August 2019 (released)
27 August 2019
I would stake a few quid (three) that the Asterix the Gaul books continue to be popular in the UK almost equally with adults (possibly of a certain age) and children. The translations regardless of how close they are to the original texts are a delight; sharp with character and sly digging satire. Unfortunately, that can’t be said of the various live action features with high profile casts (French actors, English dub), and the relatively recent move into CGI animation.
Plot wise it’s fairly simple. Getafix the elderly druid has broken his leg and decides that he needs an apprentice to help and learn the secret of the Magic Posion. This mission is entrusted to Obelix and Asterix – joined later on by the men of the village. Taking Getafix with them they first travel to sacred forest of the Carnutes where only druids can enter. This is an entertaining sequence with the druids letting their hair down, and introducing the villain of the film Sulfurix looking to steal the magic potion’s recipe. (Julius Caesar only has a cameo.)
As much fun as it is, they don’t get much from it so a tour of Gaul commences, searching for someone suitable. The writers drop in some satire, as they pass through villages, though blink and you’ll miss it. Meantime the Romans – who in this context can’t really be classed as villains more idiots - realising that the village is empty of men, decide to attack as its defended by the women. This again is a funny sequence with some choice lines from the Centurion of the Legion, if the complications arising are a bit predictable.
The film, directed by Louis Clichy and Alexandre Astier, was originally in 3D so there are wild sequences of druids and creatures going up and down trees that in 2D look demented. The CG animation is softer in definition that the likes of Pixar which is in keeping with the original drawings.
Overall its enjoyable and younger viewers should pass the time happily enough, adults may struggle more with it. The main difficulty however is the English language dub which lacks empathy with the characters, and at times they just sound as if the actors are taking the mickey, which is quite sad.
In cinemas and on Sky Cinema on 30 August.