Eye For Film >> Movies >> Asterix And Obelix In Britain (2012) Film Review
Asterix And Obelix In Britain
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
The diminutive Gaulish hero with a tendency to command big budgets if not always big box office is back for a fourth instalment of action with the foibles of the British firmly in his sights. This is a review of the subtitled version, which although it is clear and captures some of the linguistic comedy here - about which, more later - is a disappointment in that it retains the characters' original names, rather than the Anglicised versions with which English-speaking lovers of the comics will be more familiar. It's a shame, as the names are often worth a laugh in their own right - I've included them here, for reference.
Laurent Tirard, Grégoire Vigneron and Alain Chabat, the team who were responsible for 2009's charming adaptation of René Goscinny's Little Nicholas comic strip, attempt to repeat the feat here with Asterix and his tubby chum - and Goscinny's collaborator Albert Uderzo has given the film his own seal of approval. Here they blend the story of Asterix In Britain with a dash of Asterix And The Normans and present it in virtually pointless 3D.
The Romans, as always, are intent on taking over the world (there is certainly a satiric nod towards America here) and are aiming for victory in Britain. The queen (Catherine Deneuve) is not amused and sends her trusted emissary Jolitorax (Anticlimax, Guillaume Gallienne) to a little place she's heard about in France, where the natives are said to have hidden talents of resistance.
It is there that he discovers unlikely pals Asterix (Edouard Baer pulling on the moustache for the first time) and Obelix (Gerard Depardieu). They're doing their best to instil some sort of values into local lazy teen Goudurix (JustForKix, Vincent Lacoste, virtually reprising his role from Le Skylab) and see the trip to Britain as a chance to teach him a lesson, sadly leaving Idefix (Dogmatix) behind.
Meanwhile, Cesar (Fabrice Luchini) has hired in a Norman horde - essentially viking barbarians - to do his dirty work for him... but they have a mission of their own.
The comic adventure that ensues relies heavily on the British reserve and insistence on propriety and manners above all else - with typical scenes lampooning British cooking - boiled boar and mint sauce, anyone?; or showing our inability to express our feelings - Jolitorax finds it impossible to snog his betrothed Ophélia (Charlotte Le Bon) while the louche Goudurix has no such qualms.
Undoubtedly some of the bad 'Franglais' on offer is lost in translation - although it's easy to see the English characters are massacring the language in attempt to add linguistic filligree, such as "don't you think" to the end of sentences, while the 'English' accents will be best appreciated by French-speaking audiences.
The Normans subplot, however, including an amusing turn by Valérie Lemercier as the straitlaced Miss Macintosh who takes a shine to Obelix, is fun that needs no translation. With enjoyable performances, particularly from Lacoste and Gallienne and a decent stab at an 'importance of friendship' message underlying the laughs, Asterix is pleasant company, even if this isn't quite as magic as his potion.Reviewed on: 15 Nov 2012