Asterix in Britain (1986)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

TINTIN CAN SUCK A DICK!

Sorry! Sorry! That was uncalled for. I apologise unreservedly. Old habits just die hard. See, when I was growing up, every public library in Ireland had a well stocked collection of both Asterix books and Tintin books (because this is the greatest damn country on Earth). And pretty much every playground was divided, Sharks and Jets style, between Tintin fans and those of us who felt that the tales of a group of superpowered Celtic warriors battling against the most powerful empire on earth might be a tad more compelling than the adventures of LITERALLY THE MOST GENERIC MAIN CHARACTER IN ALL OF FICTION…

Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

I apologise to all fans of Tintin and Hergé and his wonderfully crisp ligne claire style.  Some wars are still being fought long after they say “We have peace.”

I acually love the Tintin books, I just wish Herge had wised up and renamed them "The Adventures of Captain Haddock and his ginger sober companion."

I acually love the Tintin books, I just wish Herge had wised up and renamed them “The Adventures of Captain Haddock and his ginger sober companion.”

Okay. So. Asterix. When I announced two weeks ago that I’d be reviewing an Asterix movie the response was predictable mix of “Yay Asterix!” from my non-American readers and a big “who’s the blonde midget Viking?” from my American readers so now’s probably a good time to explain who and what Asterix is.

Hey, I know which side my blog is buttered.

Hey, I know which side my blog is buttered.

So Asterix is a Franco-Belgian comic that is still going since its first appearence in 1959 but was originally created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. The setup is this; it’s 50 BC and Rome has conquered all of Gaul (modern day France). All? Not quite. A tiny village of indomitable Gauls stills holds out against the Roman invaders thanks to a magic potion brewed by their druid, Getafix, that gives the Gauls superhuman strength. The heroes of these stories are Asterix, the blonde short-arse, and his buddy Obelix, who was dropped in a cauldron of magic potion as a baby and so is just superhumanly strong all the time (why the Gauls don’t just do this with all their babies is never explained). The main gag is not entirely dissimilar to that of the Flintstones, the past and present are pretty much exactly the same. The series draws its humour from many sources; slapstick, political satire, puns (as in, every single character’s name is some kind of play on words) and especially from affectionate riffs on European cultural stereotypes (the Goths are always punctual, the Greeks have flat noses like figures on urns etc). Despite the basic premise being “French people make fun of foreigners” the series is hugely popular, not only in its native France but everywhere in Europe from Malta to Finland.

"I literally could not give two fucks about...holy shit, ASTERIX!?"

“I literally could not give two fucks about…holy shit, ASTERIX!? I love that guy!”

Asterix is also huge in Latin America, India and even China. How popular is he? Goscinny and Uderzo have sold more books worldwide than any other French author. That’s right. More than Victor Hugo. More than Balzac. More than Dumas.

Well, its not like DArtagnan has his own theme park, does he?

Well, D’Artagnan doesn’t have his own theme park, does he?

So why are these books so popular? Well firstly, they’re just really, really good. Seriously. The artwork is beautiful, the character designs are Disney good in terms of being expressive, appealing and versatile and they’re goddamn hilarious. Also, the Asterix series have been blessed with legendarily good translators (the series has been adapted into over 100 languages). And yet Asterix has never really found much purchase in the United States. Why is that? Culture gap, partially. A joke about how Corsicans are constantly swearing vendetta would probably prompt some head-scratching on the other side of the Atlantic.

"Youve made an enemy today, Mouse."

“You’ve made an enemy today, Mouse.”

"Oh get in line."

“Oh, get in line.”

But mostly I think it was just due to bad timing. To get a foothold in the United States comic market Asterix would have needed to become popular in the fifties, before the Silver Age began and American comics just became SUPER HEROES SUPER HEROES SUPER HEROES SUPER HEROES FROM NOW UNTIL THE END OF TIME. The distributors for European comics just weren’t there and so Asterix missed his shot unfortunately. Oh well. Fear not Americans. It may be tricky for you to track down copies of his books but you can still watch one of the many fine animated adaptations of Asterix books that have been made over the years HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAHAHAAAAAA …*collapses into a weeping pile.*

Oh Christ.

There have been nine (NINE!) animated Asterix movies and four live-action movies (all starring Gerard Depardieu as Obelix).

My God man! You were in JEAN DE FLORETTE.

My God man. You were in Jean De Florette.

Now, I haven’t seen all of the animated movies. But I have seen a LOT of them. And they can be broken down into four categories;

1) The ones with terrible animation,

2) The ones with terrible voice acting,

3) The ones with terrible animation and voice acting.

4) The ones with ALL THREE.

But honestly I think that even with top-notch talent in every area it would be damn hard to make a good Asterix movie that still resembled the original in any meaningful way. The comedy just doesn’t…work when you translate it to film. The timing is always off, it just doesn’t translate well (which is ironic, since Asterix is one of the most successful examples of translating comedy in human history). Today’s movie is Asterix in Britain, an adaptation of the eighth Asterix book and one of my personal favourites, firstly because it’s just classic Asterix and also because it included this guy:

His name is Overoptimistix. He was the only Irish character to ever appear in these books. He had one line, that included the word "Begorrah". And I loved him.

His name is O’veroptimistix. He was the only Irish character to ever appear in these books. He had one line, that included the word “Begorrah”. And I loved him.

So. Will the movie be a one, a two, a three or a four? Let’s find out.

Okay, so the movie begins with a pirate ship sailing across the English channel and oh man, 4. 4. It’s a four. I should be grateful I suppose for the movie letting me know this upfront. The animation’s awful and the voice acting sounds like the actors were just plunked in front of the movie having never seen it before and told to improvise as best they could. “Oh Mouse! The French dub’s much better!” Doubtless. “Oh Mouse! The German dub will make your ears weep with its beauty!” I’m sure. “Oh Mouse! The Spanish dub and I have fallen in love and are getting married in the autumn!” I wish you my heartiest congratulations. The fact remains, this is the only dub I have, this is the one I’m reviewing, and this is the one that SUCKS. Moving on. So, the pirate captain tells his crew that they’re going to be having a great old time pillaging the Phoenicians, Greeks, Britons and so on and one newbie asks the captain if they’re going to be ransacking Gauls and at the mention of the very word all the pirates hide below decks. The captain explains that they don’t attack Gauls, ever (this is a reference to a long running joke in the comics where the pirates get attacked by Asterix and Obelix any time they set foot on a boat. The pirates’ lookout then spots Roman vessels off the starboard bow and ohhhhhhhhh crikey I picked the wrong time to put this blog on Tumblr.

Unfortunate

Maybe he’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.

Alice Facepalm

Yeah. So. You get a lot of this sort of thing in Franco-Belgian comics and animation and for the record, Asterix is not even close to being the worst offender. I don’t really know why it seems to be more prevalent over there (credit where credit’s due, American animators had largely knocked this shit on the head as far back as the sixties). All I can say is, I’m glad that no Irish animation would ever be so racially insensitive.

Irish-French co-production. And, not to point fingers but...*points fingers at France*

Ahem. Irish-French co-production.
And, not to point fingers but…*points fingers at France*

Anyway, the lookout says that there’s Roman vessels approaching and the priates get ready to attack. Yeah, this is in the original book and it didn’t really work for me there either. If the Romans are a joke to everyone then why is it so amazing that the Gauls have managed to hold out so long against them? Well it turns out that the Roman ships are actually Caesar’s fleet on their way to invade Britain and oh my God the voice acting in this has to be heard to be believed. The lookout sounds like the Almost American Foreigners from Family Guy (“I was going to have sex with my girlfriend but then there was these Romans and she said that there was nooooo waaaaaaay…”)

So Caesar’s fleet ploughs through the pirates and leaves them clinging to driftwood in the middle of the ocean.

"I love you, Captain." "Dont you do that! Dont you say your goodbyes, not yet do you hear me!?" "Im so cold." "Listen lad. Youre gonna  go from here and make lots of babies and watch them grow. Youre gonna die an old pirate in bed."

“I love you, Captain.”
“Dont you do that! Dont you say your goodbyes, not yet do you hear me!?”
“I’m so cold.”
“Listen lad. You’re gonna go from here and make lots of babies and watch them grow. You’re gonna die an old pirate warm in his bed. Not here. Not this night.”

So the Romans launch their invasion of Britain and the Britons (who are so mincingly effete they make Kenneth Williams look like John Wayne) put up a stiff resistance (oooh I say Matron!) but are finally beaten by the Romans. Now, this comes back to my main problem with Asterix adaptations in general. The conquest of Britain in the comic takes, I think, one whole page. The Romans come, they battle the Britons. The Britons keep taking a break in the middle of battles for tea and refuse to fight on the weekends. So Caesar, master tactician that he is, only attacks on weekends and so conquers the whole island. The comedy works because it’s brisk. In the movie though, the conquest of Britain takes up the first ten minutes of this film and it’s just all drawn out and dragged out until you’re left standing in a Beckettian eternity of cartoon nothingness. Anyway, our story actually begins when one of the Britons, Anticlimax (heh) tells his chieftain that he has a cousin in Gaul whose village has never surrendered to the Romans thanks to their magic potion. So Anticlimax sets off on a mission to Gaul. Okay…I will partially retract what I said about the animation being bad. It’s uneven. Some scenes are flat out terrible. But I will admit there were some individual bits of animation that had me saying “Huh. Not bad.” One of those is Anticlimax’s moustache, which moves with a rare, panther-like grace.

"Gimme a hug!"

“Gimme a hug!”

We now move to Gaul where we meet our main characters Asterix and the rest of the Gauls. Now, it’s always a sticky wicket to have to find a voice for a character that usually exists on the page because everyone has they’re own idea as to how that character is supposed to sound. The Asterix adaptations that I’ve seen have had many different takes on how Asterix is supposed to sound (personally I think The Twelve Tasks of Asterix got closest) but this movie takes a rather novel approach in its English dub. All the Gauls have French accents. Okay. Well, that’s reasonable right? Perfectly sensible. It’s a comedy about French/English culture clash, of course they should have French accents. Sorry, let me clarify. They don’t have “French” accents. ZEY HAVE FRAWWWWNCH OCK-SENTS MON AMI!

TOUR DE FRANCE! MARIE ANTOINETTE! MOULIN ROUGE! GARLIC! LE MARSEILLESE!

TOUR DE FRANCE! MARIE ANTOINETTE! MOULIN ROUGE! GARLIC! LE MARSEILLAIS!

Every single Gaul talks like the lovechild of Pepé le Pew and Inspector Clouseau with the odd exception of Asterix who for some reason sounds like Speedy Gonzales. I just…I have no words. I don’t know if these were English speaking actors doing terrible French accents or French speaking actors with terrible English. I don’t know because my loyal team of search engines has been unable to track them down.

"Forgive us, Master."

“Forgive us, Master.”

"Well well just have to kill every voice actor whos ever worked in France to be sure."

“Well, we’ll just have to kill every voice actor who’s ever worked in France to be sure.”

 Asterix is worried about his buddy Obelix, who’s very depressed. You see, all the Romans are away fighting in Britain, meaning that Obelix has no one to beat up. You see Obelix lives for violence and is only happy when he’s inflicting death and pain on whole armies…hmmmm…

Maybe we should set these two up?

Maybe we should set these two up?

He perks up though when Anticlimax arrives in the village and asks for the Gaul’s help against the Romans. Getafix sets about collecting ingredients for the magic potion and we actually learn what’s in the stuff: carrots, honey, mead and mistletoe gathered with a golden sickle. This recipe was of course passed down by generations of European druids before finally being irrevocably lost in the 1940s.

erskine_abraham4

With a barrel of magic potion, Asterix, Obelix, Anticlimax and Obelix’s little dog Dogmatix (heh), begin their voyage back to Britain. On the way they meet the pirates and Obelix sinks their ship as it was in the beginning, now and ever shall be, world without end, amen. They also rescue some Phoneician traders who give them a tiny bag of herbs by way of thanks. Meanwhile, a Roman vessel carrying Centurion Stratocumulus (heh) comes across the Gauls’ tiny row boat and the captain decides to mess with them for kicks. Also, the captain is apparently some kind of were-donkey.

  Were Donkey

For some reason the animation and character design go straight to Crudville whenever these characters are on the water. It’s like the animators had a pathological fear of drowning and had to draw it through half closed eyes. Anyway the Gauls beat the Romans up and continue on their way but Stratocumulus overhears them talking about the barrel of magic potion and orders the ship turned around so they can warn the commander of Roman forces in Britain, General Motors. Heh.

The Gauls arrive in Britain and Anticlimax promises to fix them up with some good, tasty British cuisine.

flee

So while Obelix and Asterix are being fed pork in mint sauce and warm beer and are wondering what the hell they’re even fighting for, General Motors puts out to the legions to watch out for two Gauls, a Briton, a barrel and their little dog, too. In Londinum, the Gauls hide out in a tavern run by Sameoldtrix (heh), a Gaul who lives in London and has an Italian accent.

I swear to God, the voice acting in this dub is so bad I almost think the animation is embaressed of it. There’s one bit where Obelix gives a particularly awful line reading and Dogmatic just growls and stuffs his paws in his ears. I mean, there’s absolutely no reason for him to do it in the context of the story, it’s like this animated dog just had to break character because the voicework was so terrible.

It really is that bad.

“SHUT UP! FOR GOD’S SAKE JUST SHUT THE HELL UP!”

The romans raid the pub and take all the barrels while Asterix, Obelix and and Anticlimax hide in the cellar. General Motors has every barrel in the city brought to his palace and orders his men to taste each one to see which one has the magic potion. This leads to a sequence of discipline breaking down as the Romans get progressively more and more pissed. It’s quick and funny in the comic, drawn out and tedious in the movie, in case you were curious.

"Mouse STOP. Youve got to judge the movie on its own merits. Why do you keep comparing it to the comic?"

“Mouse STOP. Youve got to judge the movie on its own merits. Why do you keep comparing it to the comic?”

"Because the comics great and this is crap?"

“Because the comic’s great and this is crap?”

"Ah. Fair enough."

“Ah. Fair enough.”

Asterix and Obelix manage to break into the Romans’ barracks because the sentries are all pissed and manage to steal back the barrel. But then Obelix gets drunk on wine and picks a fight with some Romans on the way back to Sameoldtrix’s tavern. Wheile they’re fighting the Romans their cart gets stolen by a cart thief named Fiddlestix (heh…yeah, it’s not funny any more) and so they’ve lost the barrel again. Dogmatix chases the cart thief through the streets while Asterix and Anticlimax drag Obelix back to the tavern to sober up. Then they then search the streets to find the missing cart. They finally see one of Sameoldtrix’s barrels for sale in a wine merchant’s but it’s not magic potion. Asterix realises that the wine merchant must have been sold the barrel by Fiddlestix and threatens the merchant until he gives him a name.

"Thats all I know! I swear to Lugh!" "SWEAR TO ME!"

“Thats all I know! I swear to Lugh!”
“SWEAR TO ME!”

They go back to the tavern and find that it’s been ransacked and a neighbour tells them that Obelix and Sameoldtrix have been taken to the Tower of Londinium. We now get a scene that manages to retain ohhh…let’s say a fifth of the humour it had in the comic where Obelix wakes up in his cell on the top floor of the tower and casually breaks out and makes his way to the ground floor, beating up all the Romans he encounters on the way. And then Asterix arrives and goes up to the top floor, beating up all the Romans on the way and the two keep missing each other until all the Romans have presumably been reduced to a fine bolognaise sauce. Meanwhile, Dogmatix, apparently the only character in this thing who actually wants to win this war, has tracked down the barrel of magic potion to Fiddlestix’s house. While snooping around he gets attacked by Fiddlestix’s bulldog but he then drinks some magic potion and HIS EYES JUST TURN COMPLETELY BLACK LIKE HE HAS BECOME THE VERY AVATAR OF CANINE DEATH ITSELF.

I AM THE DEATH WHO BARKS.

I AM THE DEATH WHO BARKS.

  Meanwhile, Fiddlestix sells the barrell of magic potion to a mysterious  person who we never see. Asterix, Anticlimax and Obelix track him down and get him to reveal who he sold it to. “Who” turns out to be the Camuldunum rugby team who are playing a match that day. Asterix, Obelix and Anticlimax sneak into the stadium to find the barrel and Obelix gets caught up watching rubgy. He becomes so enamoured of the sport that he decides to bring it back to Gaul, where of course it is still being played to this day.

Eh. Kinda.

Eh. Kinda.

They grab the barrel and escape by rowboat but get waylaid by a Roman galley that blasts them with a catapult, destroying the barrel. And the boat. They swim to shore and Asterix dejectedly notes that this time, the Romans have one. But then he has an idea. They head to Anticlimax’s village where the Britons are anxiously waiting and…oh be still my heart! O’veroptimistix! There’s an actual Irish character in this movie!

"Well die sword in and guvnor!"

“Well die sword in ‘and guvnor!”

You made him English.

You sons of bitches.

You made him English.

THERE WAS ONE IRISH CHARACTER IN THIS ENTIRE MOTHERFUCKING FICTIONAL UNIVERSE AND YOU MADE HIM ENGLISH! YOU CAN’T DO THAT!! YOU CAN’T JUST TRANSFORM AN IRISHMAN INTO AN ENGLISHMAN! WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, THE BBC?!?!

GRRRRRRRRRRRR…

Alright screw this. Fuck you movie. You’re getting the patented, Unshaved Mouse terse, rushed wrap up. They get to the village and Asterix uses the herbs they got from the Phoenicians to create a fake magic potion which he hopes will give the Brtions enough confidence to beat the Romans.

The Romans hate this Gauls One Weird Trick.

The Romans hate this Gaul’s One Weird Trick.

They defeat the Romans in a rout and Asterix confesses to the British Chief that it wasn’t actually magic potion, but he says that he and his warriors liked it so much that they’re going to make it their national drink. Anticlimax offers a banquet in the Gaul’s honour replete with fine British cuisine.

flee

And so Asterix and Obelix make their excuses and return home to their village. Asterix shows Getafix some of the Pheonicians herb and Getfix says that it’s called “tea” and that “it’ll never catch on.”

***

Believe it or not, this isn’t actually the worst Asterix animation I’ve seen (I’d put it above both Asterix the Gaul and Asterix and Cleopatra) but that’s not really saying much. If I had to recommend an Asterix cartoon I’d put probably nominate The Twelve Tasks of Asterix which is an original story and therefore doesn’t suffer as much compared to the comics, or Asterix and the Vikings which, while it has many problems, is gorgeously animated. But, at the risk of sounding like a massive snob, just skip the movies altogether and enjoy Asterix in the medium he was always meant to be experienced in.

Video games!

Yes. This is a real thing.

Yes. This is a real thing.

***

Scoring

Animation 06/20

Some nice individual moments here and there but overall jerky, unpolished and with absolutely zero sense of comic timing.

Leads 06/20

Asterix and Obelix are too appealing for the movie to completely strip them of all charm, but by Toutatis it gives it the old college try. And the voice acting on the English dub is just Vietnam for your ears.

Villain 04/20

General Motors needs a bailout.

Supporting Characters 03/20

They make a desert, and call it a supporting cast.

Music 05/20

A completely forgettable title song by British New Wave band Cook da Books (Heh.)

FINAL SCORE: 24%

NEXT UPDATE: 05 August 2015

NEXT TIME: The Unshaved Mouse teams up with Erik Copper and Newtcave to tackle his first Marvel movie review! Join us as we take a look at the legendarily awful Fantastic Four!

Nope, not that one.

Nope, not that one.

Not that one either.

Not that one either.

Oh cmon, it hasnt even been released yet! Give it a chance at least!

Oh c’mon, it hasn’t even been released yet! Give it a chance, at least!

There we go!

There we go!

Neil Sharpson aka the Unshaved Mouse is a playwright, blogger and comic book writer based in Dublin. The blog updates every second Thursday. Today’s review was made possible by the kind donation of Juha Tili. Thanks Juha! Original artwork for this blog was commissioned from the oh-so talented Julie Android who you should definitely check out.  

83 comments

  1. I watched a couple of Asterix movies to prepare for this review, and they were… OK. Even without comparing them to the comics that I never heard of, most of their runtime was meh. The only one that made me laugh more than twice is the first one, and even then, it’s not something I’d see myself watching again. I’d say that I’d go read the comics, but reading comics is for people with money.

    I’m glad that you’re getting back to something I’ve heard of for next time, even if I wish I hadn’t heard of it.

    1. I actually seem to remember seeing a movie before reading the comics and thinking the same. Took me a while to get into it, likely because of that. Lucky it was popular in my family and I had a few sick days as a captive audience to change my mind.

  2. Sacre bleurgh. There’s nothing quite like the disappointment of seeing something you love brought to shameful, shambling life on screen by someone who didn’t care enough about the source material. (No, I’m definitely not thinking of several very specific examples…)
    I read a few Asterix comics back in the day. The Adventures of Captain Haddock and his Sober Ginger Friend made a bit more sense to a kid too young, unfamiliar with history and far away from Europe to get these national stereotype jokes, but I do have fun memories of the books.

      1. Saw the TV series, never saw the movie, and it’s the comics I remember. But I was never that big on comics, not until my teenage manga phase. I think it was a visual overload thing; Where’s Wally used to bother me too because they were they big colourful pages with text and a thousand tiny black outlines and just *so much stuff happening*.

      2. True story: Osamu Tezuka was primarily influenced by Herge and Disney. He incorporated the big eyes of the latter’s style into his work. In turn, other artists followed Tezuka, and that’s why anime characters have big eyes.

      3. Huh. I knew the Disney connection but didn’t know Herge was also an influence. I always heard that Japan was another market that Tintin and Asterix just never made a dent in.

  3. Your review made me smile all the way through ! 🙂
    But ooooooh boy does the english version sounds bad. They even deleted or added jokes that weren’t there in the original dub ! Like Getafix (man these english names sound weird) saying it’s not gonna catch on, it’s not what he’s saying in the actual movie !

    And the joke about Sameoldtrix is that he has a Marseille’s accent and he’s namde after a character from a very famous book written by Pagnol himself (you must know him if you know Jean de Florette), and he even says a line from the book at one moment (okay it’s not side-splitting funny but it’s a cute nod)

    Anyway, to make it short : great review (even if I’m really disapointed the movie scored so low), watch Le Domaine des Dieux (CGI actually works for Astérix, who knew ?), and here’s a link to the french version if you just want to take a quick look to what coud have been :

  4. *whispers* I-I like Tintin. *runs and hides*

    The movie may have been terrible, but I think you’ve inspired at least one American to seek out the comic books. And the review was enjoyable.

      1. The problem is that Captain Haddock dopesn’t turn up until the 9th adventure, so… And if you read the comics books properly, you will see that Tintin isn’t that boring after all.

  5. Thanks to some collected editions, I own every Tintin comic except for the unfinished one, the Red Scare one, and the “colonialism is most excellent” one. My Asterix collection is unfortunately significantly less comprehensive, though I’ve deliberately avoided nearly every book written after Uderzo’s death. Another problem is how Franco-Belgian comics are hellishly expensive (Ten bucks for 45 pages? C’mon).

    1. Which one do you mean by “The Red Scare one”?

      “Tintin and the Alph-art” actually looks very promising to me, and it was such a shame that Hergé passed away before he could finish it.

      “Tintin in Congo” is problematic today, of course. But it was also written in 1930 by a naive 23-year-old Belgian, who had very little knowledge about the people or the animal life in Africa. So I cut Hergé some slack on that one.

  6. “Asterix is also huge in Latin America”
    Is…is he really?
    This is the first time I’ve heard of this. Not of Asterix, though, I’ve known him since I was a kid, there was this SNES videgame…and then the live action movies were broadcast here…

    So, the Marvel reviews are next? To be completely honest I was expecting Iron Man, not…um…

    1. I was kinda disappointed when it looked like he was reviewing the 2005 movie, but I almost celebrated when I saw it was really the Ashcan movie. A movie that bad, never intended to actually be released, should make excellent fodder for a review.

      1. I can vouch Asterix isn’t very popular in Venezuela, and neither are most Francobelgian comics… but that’s because Venezuela has the most crappy comics culture in all of Latin America, doubly so since Chavez. Comics here usually cost you an eye and half of your soul, and the Asterix movies I had to get them from watching HBO.

        Back when we used to have Disney comics, we imported them from Colombia, which in turn translated them from Brazil, so there was a lot of Jose Carioca comics. The thing about Jose comics is they basically ramped up Jose’s laziness to the point of making him a no-good scam artist to put Top Cat to shame, instead of the party-happy but apparently honest enough fellow from the animation. It’s sort of puzzling Brazil would ramp up their pet character’s shadiness by making him a favela (ghetto) bum and crook, but there you go.

        And yet, Jose in the comics has this girlfriend, Rosinha, who… dammit, look, I’m no furry or feathery or whatever, but Rosinha is undeniably hot, at least under the right artists. She’s also stinking rich and has an infinite patience for Jose being a no-good scammer (well, when he really screws up, she’ll get mad at him, but she’ll always go back to him) and has no qualms about mixing up and partying with the lower classes as equals. She puts Daisy and Minnie to shame at once, with both hands tied behind her back, and I only can chalk Jose’s success with her to his unholy deals with Panchito Pistolas.

      2. In reality, I am from Mars.

        But I HAVE heard of them! Since I was a babby, actually!
        They’re just not…very popular in the region. Hell, I think Panchito is more popular than José. I’m not really sure if Asterix is popular here or not, the most I’ve seen of him HERE is…the live action movies.

    2. Really? I know him since elementary school at first, to the point that I always thought anyone would have recognize them on first sight.

  7. The last one they made, Asterix in the Land of the Gods, is really good. I was really surprised by it. I can’t promise you that the English dubbing is any good, but if they put as much effort into it as in everything else…Good animation (CGI, but good), good story, good comedic timing…..I really enjoyed it.

    The real difference between TinTin and Asterix is that Tintin is a simple adventure story while Asterix was always a social commentary. It is about more than just about the jokes (and yet Tintin got a great movie earlier…frustrating).

      1. Which one? Tintin? Yeah, it does a really good job capturing the adventures side of Tintin. You can see Spielbergs touch in it. Or The Lands of the Gods? In this case: yeah, not in a Hollywood blockbuster way, but I really enjoyed watching it. Whoever was behind this project understood what makes Asterix so good. A little social commentary, a little humour, mostly physical, a little heart, a little action…and surprisingly the CGI didn’t bother me at all, and I really thought that it would.

  8. The closest I ever got to knowing about Asterix was going to the theme park on the French exchange. Having a vague idea from seeing a few illustrations, I enjoyed it immensely. This review makes me want to visit again and actually get hold of the books now that i’m old enough to appreciate it

  9. Medium time lurker, first time commenter. I, an American, remember reading Asterix in my school’s library back when I was younger. Not really my thing.

      1. I read multiple ones. The only one I actually remember was the one with the Olympics. Certainly not bad, just not something I would read if it wasn’t sitting in front of me and recommended.

  10. This was never really one of my favourite Astrix books. The portrayal of the Britons left a lot to be desired.
    But a great review anyways! I was missing your funny commentary as of late. 😀
    one thing I never got… why doesn’t the film have the hilarious bit with the couple next door to Fiddlestix? That was seriously funny! I found that whole sequence quite funny!

    1. Not one of mine either…thought there are two running gags about it which I really loved, one of them most likely untranslatable. On is the part about the English cuisine (because it is really, really terrible) and the other is the way the Brits talk in the German version. They end every sentences with “isn’t it?” but translated word to word, which sounds really funny if you say it in German.

  11. Oh, btw, does that mean that you now did all the animated movies which were still on your list? And that you’ll do all Marvel movie? By which order? Because, if you intend to go chronological, you have to start either with the Captain American serials or (brace yourself) Howard the Duck.

  12. Aaaand…I just remembered why Dogmatix (I prefer the German name Ideefix btw) reacts so disgusted in the scene in which Obelix talks. I am not sure what is there in the English version, but in the German one they talk about the English cuisine in this scene and I guess Idefix likes it just as much as the common European does (honestly, why aren’t the English able to produce a proper meal? They have French ancestors after all!)

  13. Much as I love Tintin and feel… largely apathetic about Asterix, I think they must both bow down to Corto Maltese.

    … okay, I haven’t read that either, but it got a shout-out via Batman! Multiple times! Do any of the challengers have that? I think not.

  14. I ADORE the Asterix’ comics, but by Toutatis they are expensive as fuck! I cry everytime I find a book because I can’t afford it. 😥

  15. I might be one of the few American readers who DOES know Asterix, as my 4th Grade teacher had one comic in her book collection. I don’t even remember much of it, but I loved the character designs and thought it was funny. I should track down some of the comics. D’you know if any of them have been adapted into digital?

  16. Ha ha, wow. I guess my old lady must seem like a traitor to you then – she liked both. I think I remember finding Asterix a bit funnier, myself. Though I do remember cracking up at a few Captain Haddock quotes at least. That could just go to show that maybe the writer gave focus to the wrong main character, however. Also, wow, did that one Icelandic guy quit or did you totally leave him off the chart? In any case, I take it the side of your blog that’s buttered is the side the United States is on, because that’s the fat side of the world, right? …Ok, I’m sorry for that one. Are these lame jokes why no one’s been talking to me since about last post? I’ve been so lonely this past week *single tear*

    Ha ha, the old curmudgeon, Europe finally got excited about something! Ahh man, three or so years and the laughs with that continent still haven’t run dry. Though I’ve got to wonder, Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield managed to get pretty big in the States, and they’re post-50s comics. I guess a cat that eats a lot is more relatable to most Americans? Ok, that wasn’t on purpose that time, I swear. Though hang on, who made this movie? If the comics are French-made, I’d have thought it would be initially voiced in French, but maybe the movie wasn’t.

    Oh my, I was wondering about that pirate. I seem to remember only thinking he kind of looked funny when I saw him at first, then when I later learned some history about unsavoury black depictions, I was surprised this didn’t make my mother hate these comics (being black herself). Though from what I remember he wasn’t particularly off-colour apart from how he looked (I guess he was technically a criminal, but he wasn’t the typical breed of dumb thug if I recall). I’d figure maybe Europe would have less of a black demographic to take issue with that kind of character design, but from what I gather, Europe’s population isn’t as white as most people picture it. Maybe fewer of them were descended from slaves as the American ones? That might be part of it, the people who made Pokémon were particularly concerned Americans would find Brock’s appearance distasteful, while the local audience was almost all East Asian, but they wouldn’t have had to deal with a white majority making fun of them by drawing them with that very squinty look, so Brock looking like that would be more likely to hurt the feelings of the ones living there. Ok, weird race-tangent over.

    1. France is probably the most racially diverse country in Europe (they’re one of those nations that tried to conquer the world and then complained when the world followed them home). Good point about Calvin and Hobbes but those were newspaper strips where Asterix was published in comics anthologies.

    2. Like I said in an earlier comment, Captain Haddock wasn’t introduced until the 9th adventure. So what do you do? And if you read the adventures carefully, you will see that Tintin isn’t that boring. He’s brave, he’s smart, he’s a surprisingly good fighter for being so short and tiny, and he will always do the right thing. Okay, I guess I just described a Gary Stu. But I still like him.

      Most of the Franco-Belgian comics never did well on the American market, and I have no idea why. (“The Smurfs” are for some reason the only exception.) Maybe it has to do with how the US had their own creations to care about? But either way, I find it a shame. But many of the Franco-Belgian comics (“Tintin”, “Spirou”, “Asterix”, “Gaston LaGaffe”, “Lucky Luke” and “Iznogoud”) became huge all over Europe, and Bruxelles is still the “comic book capital” of our continent.

  17. Ahh-man. By the sounds of it, Watterson had the right idea deliberately deciding not to have any voice actor give his characters “official” voices. By the sounds of it, this seems to be kind of similar to the English version of Axis Powers Hetalia giving everyone an accent based on what country they’re meant to be. Even so, dammit, why no hilarious aftermath in which you ruthlessly force-choke all the search engines to death? Ok, maybe spare google, I kind of need that one, but still, that would have been an awesome moment. Though not has awe/dread inspiring as a Mulan/Obelix destruction duo. You’ve probably created a ton of fanfictions with that one throwaway joke.

    Hmm, I seem to remember the scene of all those centurions taste-testing every barrel of wine and getting ridiculously boozed. Mustn’t be the best sign for this movie that I remember just about nothing else about this one. Though I’m surprised I don’t remember Dogmatix’s eyes dilating into the crazed stare of a potoo. Maybe it’s one of those things I potentially blocked from my memory like the death-glare of the Coachman. Though by the sounds of it, if you want your adaptation to get panned viciously as much worse than the original on this blog, you make the one Irish guy English. Though I wasn’t quite sure what you thought of Disney’s portrayal of Smee. And wow, Getafix was sure right about that herbal brew. Totally why I just finished some of it right now. Yep. And y’know, I think Asterix probably would make a good Beat’emup. Seeing as pounding pound upon pound of Roman scum into pulp is what they do best. And maybe have a boar-hunting sidegame. Might be fun, really.

  18. “(why the Gauls don’t just do this with all their babies is never explained).”

    That has an easy answer. Think of all the brawls the Gauls have in a daily basis. Now imagine if, during those brawls, all Gauls were as permanently strong and durable as Obelix.

    The Gauls just couldn’t have any villages then.

    1. ““Oh Mouse! The Spanish dub and I have fallen in love and are getting married in the autumn!” I wish you my heartiest congratulations”

      Actually, yeah, the Mexican dubs for these movies were quite good. Obelix was voiced by the great, late Eduardo Borja, who, for the obligatory Disney connection, also voiced Agent Grizzlikov in Darkwing Duck. and the Magic Mirror in Snow White’s redub. For an added Unshaved Blog layer, in the live action Asterix in Britain, Obelix was dubbed instead by Gerardo Reyero, who voices Captain Gantu, and Hana in Tokyo Godparents.

      1. About Eduardo Borja as Obelix, I agree he was really good, but I think Francisco Colmenero was a better Obelix in “The Twelve Tasks of Asterix”, is like he was born to play the role.

  19. 1) Every Franco-Belgian adventure comic I’ve read has the same problem: a protagonist whose personality can be entirely encapsulated in the phrase “generic benevolence”. Occasionally, the authors might realize this and include a far more interesting second protagonist to liven things up. Asterix is not an exception to this.

    2) To tell you the truth, while my opinion has changed greatly over the years, when I was a teenager I believed the United Kingdom (I’m not sure if you’re from there) to be a quite racist place. I knew very little of the UK, but I did know that something called the Black and White Minstrel Show lasted well into the seventies.

      1. I heard that part of Ireland is in the UK. I could be wrong, given how confusing the United Kingdom/England/Britain/other countries thing can be.

      2. You’re correct, the Northern six counties are still part of the UK but if you hear someone saying they’re from Ireland they almost certainly mean the south. The six counties are usually called Northern Ireland. I may do a post explaining just who is what over here

      3. Yeah, Asterix has a very short temper for being the “sensible one” in the A/O duo. He was very close to attacking the chieftain’s wife once. (Then again, she had openly accused him of fathering a baby out of wedlock, which was NOT seen as a good thing by the villagers, so I can understand that he was angry.) And he DID hit a woman once, when she came on too strong on him.

        And as for the Northern Ireland thing, I seem to have gone down like this: Ireland had belonged to the UK for centuries, until they could become a free state within the commonwealth in 1922. But to many people, that was not enough, so a republic (Eire) was declared in 1948, where it was obvious that the Catholic church would be given plenty of power. But the six northern counties (Ulster), where there was a Protestant majority at the time, never joined the republic and stayed within the UK. But as there still were many Catholics there, who also felt like they were discriminated by the Protestants, there would be many conflicts over the years.

    1. Asterix is mostly portrayed as very sneaky (he tricks the romans just as often as simply punches them), smart, short tempered and with a very dry humour. He is certainly not generic. If anything, Obelix is a little bit generic, being not particularly smart and only interested in eating. But he has his own charm, mostly because he is so sensible.

  20. When it comes to the movie, I hardly remember it, despite the fact that the Latin American branch of Cartoon Network used to show all the movies fairly often. But thinking back, I consider “The Twelve Tasks of Asterix” as the best one of the movies ( when it comes to the plot).

    I just realized that I have been reading this blog since 2013 and that is the first time I have wrote a comment. Belated congratulations for the awesome work you put Mouse.

  21. Huge Tintin and Asterix fan myself. I honestly can’t choose between the two as I love them both so much. If only more Americans knew about them.

    Anyway, I haven’t seen this movie, so skimmed the review. But, I have seen The Twelve Tasks of Asterix and Asterix and Cleopatra.

  22. I have adored Asterix since I was about seven years old – though I read Tintin too – but one area where it definitely has the edge is the humour. I’ve reread some of them as an adult and picked up on references and jokes that went several miles over my head as a child. But *nerdalert* regarding the pirates, my understanding is that they were originally introduced as a reference to another French comic (the name escapes me), and so the ‘look’ was determined by other artists. Not that that makes it better, necessarily, but certainly more explicable. I doubt they were originally intended to become such a running gag.

    I have never watched any of the films – as I’m reliably informed that they would upset me – but I can attest to the strength of the translations. I’ve read one or two of them in the original French (which is about the limits of my French-speaking to be honest), and it was nice to realise how little had been lost in the transition to English. (And French can be quite tricky to translate into English as well)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s