Hi! I going do a brief reviews on Asterix movies (both animated and life action).
Now, for those of you who are not familiar Asterix is a cult comic book series in Europe by Rene Gościnny and Albert Uderzo. I my self grow up on reading Asterix books. It’s not a super-hero comic by but a humoristic adventure stories back in 50 B.C. in a village of ghouls which is the last stand against Empire. The two main characters are Asterix the ghoul – a dwarf like but very clever warrior, and his best friend Obelix a large, fat, fight loving but childish menchir deliver-man, who as a child fall into a cauldron of druids magic potion and is invincible.
The books are full of clever humor, puns, some historical-jokes and have some rely smart satire and commentaries on modern time (unfortunately some of the jokes and references are understood only in Europe, or just France) and is popular among adults, as much it is popular among the kids.
There where 8 animated Asterix movies (with last one being the most expensive animated movie in Europe) and three live action (all staring Gérard Depardieu as Obelix), all which being most expensive movies in France, with the last one being most expensive movie in Europe.
Ok, with all this explain… Let get all to the review :
Asterix the Ghoul
(1967) – The first movie and honestly the poorest one. The plot is nearly frame by frame adaptation of the first book, and do not much other then introduce some of the main characters. Animation is not much better from the one in “Rocky & Bullwinkel” and humor is funny at the times (mostly the dialog), but if you know the book you can tell they could do a lot better. Over all – a movie only for Asterix die hard fans.
Asterix and Cleopatra (1968) – This one is done ten times better then the previous one. The animation is still old, but they ed least done some good job providing some great humor, music and put much more work in backgrounds and visual jokes so even if you read the book you find some new stuff in it. While far from being perfect animated movie its still amusing and if you’re a fan of old hanna-barbera like animation, you may rely enjoy this one.
Twelve task of Asterix (1976) – This is as far the only Asterix film not base on the comic books and even do it’s a different universe then the other Asterix books (an Asterix “else world” basically) and unlike other books it don’t fallow history, it’s more like “Hey! Lets do something really weird”. Basically the plot is : Cesar get into a bet with the village of last resistance against his empire, if the ghouls do twelve task only Gods are capable of Roman Empire will surrender to their village. Sound bizzar… But you know what? It’s actually the most funny of all Asterix film! Maybe even the only one which can Top some of the books. Basically every task is like a differed comical sketch, and with exception or two, all are done hilarious. My favorite part is where, at one point Asterix and Obelix must get a permit from “The place that send you mad” (all people who walk in end-up in a loony bin), and the whole place is just a large bureaucracy building, with some great satire, one brilliant commentary after another on red tape and how it can literally drive people insane, and all comes down to a ending with Asterix finding a way to defeat bureaucrats with their own weapon… The animation is very good in this one (some nice psychedelic images in few moments) and Asterix characters Is to me, the closes to way he is shown in the books in this one, and unlike some other films he don’t fell just being the strait guy to Obelix, but is as funny and interesting in this one.
Over all – one of best Asterix movies to date. If you want see a Asterix movie, see this One!
Asterix versus Ceasar (1985) – This one is base on plot elements and characters from various books and it’s done pretty well. The animation (especially backgrounds ect.) is pretty good, and the film works great as a spoof of such “Ancient Rome set-up films” like “Ben-hur”, “Spartacus” or “Quo Vadis”. Some great music in the desert sequences.
Asterix in Britain (1986) – This one is base on the book with the same name and as far it goes to Asterix book adaptation this is the best one. They took some of the jokes and characters from the book and add new ones to make it fell more fresh, and they live all the best stuff from the book, so it fell faithful and fresh at the same time. The humor is at it best, some great satire on British people (They practically hit every England reference… Well with the exception of the Beatles cameo, witch was done in the book) I really, really enjoy this one. Good job.
Asterix and the Big fight (1989) – Ok hears the thing. There are two versions of this film in English. The “British dub” and “American dub”. While the British dub is fantastic, the American dub to me simply spoil the whole thing, because they add this narrator guy, and some lines not said in the original version (the characters lips don’t even move!!), and to me, all this stuff spoil the whole film, as there are some great sequences in this film which are great to watch if their no dialog, just music (more on this soon), and having a guy mumbling and telling stuff, which are obvious to an average viewer over 5 years old… In other words – American dub version is pretty bad…
This being said – The movie is great! One of the strongest points of the film is the music which set up a really great tone. This is one of few Asterix films that was not trying to have a plot “Asterix goes on this big journey bla,bla,bla…” but the whole thing is set up in the village and the forest nearby, and it all work very great. The only problem are few psychedelic sequences (including a musical number) which some people may height for being to bizarre. I actually find them interesting and they only help me enjoy this film.
Asterix conquers American (1894) – Honestly this is one of the poorest Asterix film. The idea for this plot fells very stretch and bizarre, but unlike the “Twelve tasks” it doesn’t work. There are couple of funny moments but not as much and not as good as previous films, and they didn’t do a good use of Asterix being in America, other then two-or three modern eferences.Kids will love this one but Asterix fans should expect more.
Asterix and the Vikings (2006) – In this one we have a group of Vikings who are fearless (literally) and after hearing a expression “Fear gives you wings” got the idea that if they will learn to be a afraid they will get the power to fly. And so they go to the ghoul and decide to kidnap the biggest coward in history, and force him to teach them to be afraid.
The jokes are funny, the animation is cool, new characters are brilliant, and the only problem is that it fells to short (it’s only a hour and six minutes). The cast include Brad Garrett,Sean Astin(Sam from Lord of the Rings) and John DiMaggio(Bender from Futurama) as the Vikings chief Timandahaf. Over all – great film.
Life action :
Asterix and Obelix take on Caesar (1999) – This was Ok attempt to make an live action Asterix film but my opinion are pretty mixed. Asterix film should be a comedy, end even do the film have some humor, you can only tell their work on the plot and try to make it fell like historical set-up fantasy world, and didn’t pay as much attention to the jokes. The Monty Python crew work on the English dubbing for this film, sow some of the dialogue may be funny, but personally the voice cast in English version annoy me. There are few moments which fell like there are taken from the book, but the only thing that really feels to save this film is Roberto Benigni who made a great comical villain. There where some sad/touching moments which where meant to add some heart to the movie, but didn’t work and somehow made the ending a downer for Obelix.
This is somehow a “Batman Forever” of Asterix movies. It have some good and entertaining moments, a great cast, and at the it came out it was a Box office hit, but over all its not that good
Asterix and Obelix : Mission Cleopatra (2002) – This one is pretty cool. A large improvement after the last one. The humor is a great joke, after a great joke (including some nice film parody, which don’t fell forced like in the next film), some wonderful cultural jokes, and it really did a marvels job of brining a comic book world to life, including a fantastic Ancient Egypt-set up. It’s like “Cin Sity” of European comedic comic books. Best of all “Asterix live action films”.
Asterix at the Olympic Games (2008) – This one is very, very disappointing… For one point this is the most expensive European film. Yes and you cant tell it – they did an even better use of creating the ancient world, some massive decorations and visuals, a big chariot race scene and cameos by Michael Schumacher, Zinedine Zidane, Tony Parker and Jean Todt … Unfortunately it looks like they spent all the cash on those out-standing visuals and did pay a dime to the script writers!
The plot fell forced – another love story bla,bla,bla, a guy must win Olympic Games to get this princesses hand and Asterix and Obelix are helping him out, and Ceasr sons Brutus (who appears to be his biological son in this film!?) wants to win for himself.
The humor is very weak, and there are a couple of movie references which are on the same level as “Epic Movie” (No, thank God, no Toilet humor in this movie). There is one funny sequence with Gérard Depardieu but it’s all, and there where barely any satirical bites… There are few motives which where already used in previous movies so it don’t make sense to re-use them (like they would think people are to stupid and won’t notice)
The character of Burtus get most of the screen time (including a subplot of him trying to over thrown the Caesar) and character not only don’t have not much to do which the comic book version (or historical for the fact) but he is very annoying at the moments. Heck! Asterix character is barely in the movie. He’s only for about four minutes in the first half of hour, and later on he barely do any thing, and even if he get something to do, it fells forced (it really felt like they wrote the script, read it and went – “Ups! Asterix is the title hero and we forgot to give him to do something other then standing next to Obelix and bitching… Ow, we just turn two of his lines, in long speeches so it fells like he did something important to the plot, and add him 20 seconds of action in the climax sow people will thing he save the day… Ok now body will notice”) One actor I realy enjoy in this film was Alain Delon who did a great performance as Caesar (to me the best Julius Cesar in all of Asterx films, and to me this is how Cesar… The Asterix comic book version of Cesar any way…should be).
The movie even feels to long as after the plot is ended, they ad a long final banquet sequence with lots of “free joke” and no plot [its about 10-15 minutes]
Over all – this movie have some wonderful and out-standing visuals and special efects, which may make you enjoy it, but it's not as half as funny as previus one (or the comic book for this matter) and if you are a fan of the books you will propably be pist-off about the plot changes they made.
Ok, that’s all my review on Asterix movies, hope you guys enjoy it! :)