Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Asterix the Gaul

Astérix le Gaulois; Animated comedy, France/ Begium, 1967; D: Ray Gossens, S: Roger Carel, Jacques Morel, Pierre Tornade, Jacques Jouanneau

A small Gaelan village is still able to resist the Roman occupation with ease. Phonus Balonus, a Roman leader of a nearby camp, decides to send a spy to seek out the secret of the Gauls. Once when it is discovered a magic potion gives them superhuman strength, the Romans kidnap Getafix, a druid who knows how to make the magic potion. As Asterix seemingly also surrenders to the Romans, Getafix creates a false magic potion, causing all the Romans to grow beards. Julius Cesar appears and releases Asterix and Getafix.

"Asterix the Gaul" was the first and for a long time the worst movie adaptation of the famous animated serial (the last few sequels later on proved to be even worse), although it's weak quality can be excused by the fact that it was made without consent of the comic authors Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. The whole film is a dated, unfunny, uninteresting and forced comedy for kids that lacks the sharp satirical humor of the later sequels, while the character Obelix was practically omitted from the story. Excruciating humor based on wacky names and Getafix's false magic potion that causes the Roman soldiers to grow gigantic beards doesn't have much going for it, while even the animation is inferior to many animated films produced in that era. Here and there an amusing moment shows up an some occasional charm, but "Asterix the Gaul" is one of those rare kind of films that were actually topped by it's sequels.


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