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Asterix at the Olympic Games

By Louise Catier

After the release of  ‘Asterix and Obelix take on Caesar’ in 1999 and the huge success of ‘Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra’ in 2002, the most famous Gaul in the world is back on screens to face new challenges in Thomas Langmann and Frédéric Forestier’s ‘Asterix at the Olympic Games’

In this third adventure, one of the Gaul villagers Alafolix (Stéphane Rousseau) fall deeply in love with Greek princess Irina (Vanessa Hessler), who, unfortunately for him, is intended for Caesar’s son, Brutus (Benoît Poelvoorde). There is nevertheless one way for him to marry her: he has to win the Olympic Games. It is thus to help their friend that Asterix (for the first time played by Clovis Cornillac), Obelix (Gérard Depardieu), their little dog Idefix and the druid Panoramix (Jean-Pierre Cassel) decide to go to Greece where they’ll have to fight against the awful Brutus who is ready to do everything to win the Games and murder his father Caesar (Alain Delon).

Before entering the French Institute, I had some doubts as to whether I would really enjoy the film. The newspapers’ critics, both French and British, had not been very kind to say the least about the film. Indeed they had all been blaming the directors, who, they said, by wanting to reach not only the French but also the wider European public, had lost the humour of the second opus. Yet, for the first screening night in London, the theatre was full of children impatient to discover their hero’s new adventures. I decided therefore to relax and be as opened as possible to appreciate the movie. And I found it was not so bad. Actually, really not bad at all! It’s true that it was different from ‘Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra’ and actually slightly less funny. But we have to keep in mind that the story of Asterix and Cleopatra itself is one of the funniest of Asterix adventures. The plot was also very simple and the set looked sometimes like a cardboard one, what showed that the directors’ goal was above all to make people laugh (Which is though a kind of shame as regards to the incredible budget this movie received).

Yet, the games of both actors Benoît Peolvoorde (Brutus) and Alain Delon (Caesar) were perfect. They were funny in their fight for power and I couldn’t stop laughing at almost every Benoît Peolvoorde’s appearances.
The last scene, which reminds us of mission Cleopatra as it stars famous French comic Jamel Debouze playing his character Numerobis, plus loads of French celebrities such as soccer player Zinedine Zidane, Basketball player Toni Parker and others, was also absolutely hilarious.
So, even if the best jokes were always French references, I was not the only ones to laugh about in the theatre and this new adventure of Asterix and Obelix is definitely good family entertainment. So let us appreciate it for what it is and not for what it’s not.


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