Forestier and Langmann have fiddled with the concept of Goscinny and Uderzo’s original for this kooky live-action, French-language adaptation, but it’s ostensibly of similar gist, albeit with a little added romance. New Gaulish character Alafolix is so desperate for the hand of a Greek princess that he gladly accepts the challenge of fellow admirer Brutus (son of Caesar) to an Olympic showdown. However, as doping is illegal, the Gauls – led by Asterix and Obelix – must find a way for Alafolix to beat the Roman without the aid of their infamous magic potion…
Aline Bonetto’s art direction is spot on in its recreation of the original’s comic-book landscapes and foregrounds and, while hardly state of the art, the CGI effects work well. Casting wise, Gérard Depardieu’s Obelix (his third turn as the rotund menhir bearer) is ploddingly workmanlike but more appropriate than the hopelessly miscast Clovis Cornillac, who plays the titular hero.
Thank heavens, then, for the mildly amusing script – with all its comical contemporary references – and, above all, for Benoît Poelvoorde’s hilarious Brutus and Alain Delon’s smarmy, narcissistic Caesar. But what’s with the protracted ending?