Gaul invaded! Asterix must save the Druid Getafix from the Romans.
In the year 50 BC Gaul is occupied by the romans - nearly. But the small village of Asterix and his friends still resists the Roman legions with the aid of their druid's magic potion, which gives superhuman strength. Learning of this potion, a Roman centurion kidnaps the druid to get the secret formula out of him.
This is the first of the Asterix films and, I would say, the weakest. It is a very faithful translation of the first Asterix book. What this means is that many of the hallmarks of later Asterix books- the satire, the anachronisms, the well-developed cast of regular characters- are not present.
Such humour as survives is rather weak. Excruciating pun names, such as Romans Phonus Balonus, Marcus Sourpuss and Petroleum Pumpus, are much in evidence, and attention is drawn to them wherever possible. There is a lot of cartoonish violence, but this becomes repetitive.
There seems to have been a problem in translating this into English, as much of the dialogue seems to have been simply chopped up and fitted in wherever there is lip movement in the original. The result is that sentences are often rushed or split awkwardly, so one is presented with odd lines like, "He wanted to... become emperor!" and "What a brilliant... idea that is!"
To add more translation confusion, there is an opening segment with pictures of the characters and their names. Unfortunately, this has been left in French. So the bard Stopthemusix (remember those awful puns?) is introduced as Assurancetourix at the beginning, and so on.
While it's faithful to the book, it's not a film that you should watch unless you really, really like Asterix. And then only for curiosity value. Asterix the Gaul is the film adaptation based on René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo's comic strip series. In said series Rome has invaded almost all of Gaul. All but for one tiny village on the northern shores of the land, where the villagers still keep the legions at bay with the help of their druid Getafix, who knows the recipe of a very special magic potion, which is capable of increasing its drinker's strength to inhuman levels. The comic strip is a beloved children's classic in Europe and widely read by adult population as well. So a film adaptation was inevitable.
And in my opinion they succeeded pretty well. The film adapts the first album of the series, bearing the same name as the film, following its plot very closely. It's a simple story as far the adventures of Asterix and Obelix go, mainly meant to introduce the setting and the characters, but it's still filled with tons of humorous moments, outrageous characters and odd twists. It's nowhere near my favourite of these stories, but it's definitely head and shoulders above most of its peers.
What really keeps this movie from achieving a greater ranking is the animation, and to a lesser degree the music, which both show the constraints of the budget. The character designs are identical to the comic books, so no complaints there, but the film reuses its animation sequences heavily, the movements are either too jerky or too linear, depending on the scene, and the backgrounds, while nice, are a bit simplistic. The music has a few good moments, and I especially like the main theme, but it's nothing overly special.
Nevertheless, Asterix the Gaul is a good introduction into the world of Asterix and well worth a watch for all fans of humorous animation adventures. 646f9e108c
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