Directed by Louis Clichy and Alexandre Astier
Starring Roger Carel, Guillaume Briat, Philippe Morier-Genoud
Asterix is a French institution; the comics are international bestsellers and have been adapted into multiple animated and live action films. This latest adaptation sees Asterix looking all new and shiny in 3D animation and is a delight for both young and old fans.
Asterix (Roger Carel) and the village of Gaulish warriors still hold out against their Roman invaders. Caesar (Philippe Morier-Genoud), frustrated that he has not quite conquered all of Brittany, conjures up a plan that he thinks will defeat the Gauls once and for all: to absorb the Gauls into the Roman culture by building an apartment housing estate in the forest next to their village, dubbed the Mansions of the Gods. Thus ensues an hour and a half of cunning schemes, cartoonish punch ups and a lot of punny names.
Asterix: The Mansions Of The Gods is a fun and very French animated comedy. Like in the original comics, there are a plethora of visual gags to appeal to its younger audience, while also retaining the wordy and understated French humour that adults will enjoy. Too wordy at times – the subtitles flash by quite rapidly on the screen, possibly tricky for the younger audience to read. The story has been changed quite a bit from the original comic book, but the changes are necessary to turn the story into a feature film and have been done while still retaining the sensibilities of the original authors Goscinny and Uderzo’s characters and story.
It is easy to see why out of all the Asterix comics this story was chosen. It contains overt themes of urban development causing environmental destruction and the consequences of this on both animals and people. This and the idea of an imposing foreign culture taking over the native ways of life with promises of wealth and ‘civilisation’ are universally relevant and relatable.
Mostly though, Asterix: Mansions Of The Gods is a great adventure, filled with gags, many references for Asterix fans and a multitude of other film references (Getafix shouting ‘You shall not pass’ to a group of Romans was a highlight). It also looks beautiful, the design taken straight from the comic artwork, but the 3D animation makes it more atmospheric and brings it to life for the film medium.
While fans of Asterix will enjoy this film the most, this is definitely a fun family film, with a slightly visible environmental message, that everyone can enjoy.
Asterix: Mansions Of The Gods screens at Cinema Paradiso Saturday, March 28, Friday, April 3, and Saturday, April 4, and at Windsor Cinema Friday, March 27 as part of the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival. For tickets and sessions times, go to lunapalace.com.au.