Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar Poster

Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar (1999)

Adventure | Family   
IMDB Rayting:   5.9/10
Country: France | Italy
Language: French | German

Inhabitants of the last unconquered village in Gaul (ancient France) use a magical potion to hold their independence from Roman invaders.

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GrafZahl 11 April 1999

Before I went to see it I had some open items about this movie: - How would the actors fulfill the roles of the cartoon characters? - To which book(s) will the movie refer? And the really most important question: - How the hell are they going to animate the flying Romans?

To answer the last question: The special effects are really brilliant, every Asterix-fan will be delighted by the ways how the Romans leave ground. As well I really fell in love with the village.

Some actors are really good. Most of all Roberto Benigni as the evil Destructivus is gorgeous. As well, I was positively surprised by Depardieu as Obelix. But Asterix is not as witty and humorous as in the books, Miracolix (alias Panoramix or Getafix) the druid is not the relaxed old wise.

The plot is new but has a lot of motives from the books. The real Asterix-fan will have noticed (I only know the German titles): Der Seher, der Kupferkessel, der Gallier, die Goten, als Legionaer, and there are surely more.

All in all I really much enjoyed the movie although I was really skeptic about it before. And I missed the pirates.

Clive-Silas 19 December 2001

At the end of the day it's not a film for introducing one's kids to Astérix - buy the comic books for that. It's more a capture of the flavour of the Astérix books for those of us adults who remember them with affection, and who consequently aren't concerned overly with details of plot or characterisation. In fact Astérix and Obélix are woefully under-characterised from the start of the film. If you don't know that Obélix's trade is in quarrying menhirs, then the joke about the heart-shaped menhir for Panacea (Laetitia Casta) is likely to fall flat. But those of us who know and love the characters already are going to enjoy it.

One reason for not showing it to your kids would be that there is the occasional crudity in the language - in my view utterly unnecessary, and against the practice of the comic books - at least the English translations of same.

One of the joys of the English translations of the books was the pains taken by the translators to include jokes specifically for the English, particularly in character's names, eg the chief is called VitalStatistix, the druid is called GetAFix, Caius Bonus becomes Crismus Bonus, etc. Terry Jones has happily continued this tradition, although it's a shame that he didn't do more, as it seems to me that movie script rather emphasised silly japes and slapstick over the wonderful wit of the comic books.

Dèpardieu is an absolute revelation as Obélix (and in the English version, splendidly dubbed by Terry Jones himself).

dafyd 29 August 2004

This film is a genuinely brilliant live-action translation of an (arguably) unfilmable classic comic book series... Claude Zidi's writing and direction are top notch, and the main characters as played by Clavier and Depardieu work extremely well.

The English translation, on the other hand, is awful. When I saw the film in England having already watched it in France, I was, frankly, embarrassed! Terry Jones relies too much on direct translations and gags that don't fit... perhaps they should have used Bell and Hockeridge, the hugely talented translators of the actual books. Oh well.

I definitely recommend the film, though, albeit only in the original French. Don't worry if you don't speak a word of the language; you'll soon pick up what's going on, without the experience being spoiled by the abysmal English dubbing.

LeRoyMarko 15 April 2001

I thought this movie was a fairly good adaptation of the work by Uderzo and Goscinny. Of course, the comic books are better and I would read one album probably 10 times before seeing this movie again. But still, this film was entertaining and fun to watch.

The acting was good by Depardieu and Clavier (who's also playing in Les Visiteurs) and Roberto Benigni was very good as the Roman soldier. I also liked Michel Galabru as the chief of the Gaulois. I really like this actor that I came to know after watching the whole series of «Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez» with Louis de Funès, the great French actor.

Two things to end this review. First, the special effects, in this day and age, could have been a lot better. Second, the movie is lacking the subtlety that the comic books have. Verdict: on the way to the video store, stop at the library and get the comic books too. Compare for yourself.

Out of 100, I gave it 75.

MarioB 17 June 1999

Critics, in France and Quebec, have been very hard on this movie. They all compare the film to the excellent comic books of the adventures of Astérix and Obélix. It's the same old story for any movie adapted from a book : the book will always be better! That's right: Astérix is not as charming as in the books, and some characters (Falbala) are there for... well... what for? Some of the characters of the books are missing in the movie: Cétautaumatix and Ordralfabetix. But for just good entertainment, this is a good movie! It reminds me a little bit of the Flinstone movie : better in cartoons (or comic strips) but not so bad at all. When I saw the movie, I noticed that people really loved Roberto Benigni, because of his succes in the Life is wonderful movie. Children of the audience love the movie, I have lots of fun, so, what's really wrong?

varkaris 6 January 2000

Depardieu is very hilarious in the role of Obelix while Clavier as Asterix is perfect in bringing laughter and joy.Detritus played by Begnini is depictive of the Roman marshall in an environment of Roman expansion.Brilliant comedy based on visual effects.Transformation of the cartoon series that will work well in bringing the spirit of the Roman era with the naivety of the Galatian people and their resistance against the external menace.If you read the cartoons,you will love this too.

dr_foreman 8 April 2002

When I was a little kid, my Dad picked up a copy of The Twelve Tasks of Asterix at the local video store. Oh, happy day! I've been completely enamored with Asterix and his adventures ever since.

The wily little Gaul first appeared in 1959, in a French children's magazine, and gradually his creators – Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo –built him up into a national phenomenon. Asterix has his own cartoons, his own theme park, and now his own big-budget movies (a pair of the most expensive French films ever made, in fact). Wildly popular throughout Europe and even parts of Asia, Asterix remains obscure in the United States, which is why this film has seen no official distribution here. Thankfully, Miramax recently purchased the rights to both this movie and its sequel, Asterix: Mission Cleopatra, so they should both be seen in the U.S. eventually.

The concept behind the character is simple. Asterix is a small, cunning warrior who, in conjunction with his strong, dumb friend Obelix, travels the Roman Empire thwarting the plans of Caesar and his imperialist minions. Aiding Asterix in his quest is the druid Getafix, who brews a magical potion that endows its drinker with super-strength.

After seeing disastrous big-screen revivals of Godzilla, The Avengers, and Star Wars, I was reluctant to see this poorly-reviewed film. Sure, it did great box office, earning more than double its $45 million price tag, but so what? Popularity isn't always an indicator of quality.

But hey, I liked it!

The film's design is just gorgeous, with the outrageous settings and costumes from the comic strips recreated in loving detail. The soundtrack is lovely, creating a real "period" feel. The opening segments are a big slow – the fish fight and the boulder-dropping sequence are pretty silly. But soon after that, the story takes off like a bullet.

The film has an episodic structure, with multiple subplots running at once. This has opened the film up to criticism, but I rather liked seeing a "greatest hits of Asterix" movie. It's all here – giant battles in the arena, Obelix falling in love with Panacea, Asterix clashing with a charlatan soothsayer, Getafix winning the golden sickle at the annual druid's conference. It's a cut-and-paste combination of several Asterix comics, but it works.

Much of the film's success is owed to the cast. Depardieu was born to play Obelix, and he dives into the role without pretense, playing the oaf with comic flair. Clavier's Asterix has been panned by some but I thought he was witty, and he bears an almost eerie resemblance to the comic book character in some shots. Benigni is the ideal Asterix villain, hamming it up like a lunatic, and Laetitia Casta makes a gorgeous Panacea.

The special effects are delightful. Romans get punched over hill and dale, Asterix pulls hilarious faces when he drinks his potion, and clever visual trickery makes dozens of Roman extras look like hundreds. The sets are spacious and impressive, and the film has wonderfully rich colors (particularly reds, which appear everywhere – Asterix's pants, the Roman uniforms and tents, the banners in the arena…)

Of course it's just silly rubbish, but it's perfect entertainment for kids and kids-at-heart. No one is killed and there's nothing mean-spirited about it. Big-budget though it is, the film has a European wit and silliness that is lacking in American action films. French critics were afraid

palaste 25 May 2000

I, not being a fan of live-action movies based on cartoons or comics, didn't expect much of this film. "At least it's made by the French, as were the comics", I thought. The film, however, turned out to be pretty good. The actors did their jobs well and actually managed to look like the original Gauls and Romans I've grown to love. The special effects were impressive, especially the effect of the magic potion. The plot didn't follow any particular album, instead it was a mix-match of several album stories, with a little of its own thrown in. In my opinion, they didn't focus on certain albums enough. The main story, however, was very good. My only real complaint is the portrayal of the Roman legions. The Italian accent they spoke in was needless, because the Italian language wasn't around in 50 BC. And they should dress in green, not red! I recommend this movie to all fans of the Asterix comics. This is what live-action movies about cartoons should be like, which is more than I can say for many Disney movies.

Quintius 17 May 2005

I thought this production had the best of both worlds in capturing the spirit of the original comic strip as best as could be achieved by a movie, but adding the extra ingredients of three lovely comic performances from Clavier, Depardieu and Benigni. The plot is made up of several strands from different Asterix story lines, but holds together very well. I saw it originally dubbed in English, but prefer the original French, Clavier and Depardieu dubbed just doesn't work for me! Suitable for all ages, my six year old daughter loves it, although one or two scenes might be a bit scary, particularly if you don't like spiders!

thegarf 4 February 1999

Why this title? Simple. A friend of mine invited me to a premiere of this movie, last Monday. We do not consider ourselves as cinemaniacs, but we both know a lot about what has been done these last 40 years. And I'm forced to say that "Asterix and Obelix, the movie" is pulling the global level downwards.

It's always a challenge to adapt a successful comic for the big screen. Many tried and failed (see Lucky Luke, Spawn, etc... only to name the most recent). My opinion is that this movie could have reached its target if Christian Clavier hadn't been involved.

First of all : Asterix, played by Clavier, is far from being funny, intelligent and mischievous like in the comics. The character we see is mainly over-excited, he is as dumb as his nice-but-not-too-bright friend Obelix. And you just can't stand this voice when you've heard Pierre Tornade's interpretation in the cartoon versions....

Next comes Obelix, interpreted by Depardieu. It's curious when you say it, but the character is far too clever. And like Asterix, they talk a lot and don't laugh enough.

Caesar... well, the usual bad guy.

FInally let's turn to the story. It has some interest, but not many efforts have been made to involve the audience. It looks like a shapeless compendium of 2 or 3 comic books,with a strange beginning and a weak end. In between : the vast silence of lack of imagination. Many interesting things could have rose from it all, but everything drowns under the flood of pitiful puns and wordplays... Where are the beautiful views of roman cities, all Goscinny's irony about military states and administrative zeal ???

Oh, I almost forgot the sexy girl, Laetitia Casta... believe me, she was born to be photographed but definitely NOT to act !!! I'm sure all you english-speaking viewers will hear a nice voice after the sound dubbing : remember the French had to deal with the sleepy, boring and un-talented Laetitia. God, forgive her because she doesn't understand what she says...

One phrase to say it all : better buy the comic books collection. This way you'll be sure to have a lot of fun. Or have a look at the films (especially with the Brittons... :))

rcuppen79 6 March 2001

I've always been a big fan of the Asterix-comics, but I wasn't thrilled when I heard they were filming a live-action movie. I wasn't expecting much of this movie because most comic adaptations fail horribly. And this comic-adaptation is no different. Asterix is one of the best and most popular comics in Europe and a live-action movie would be the next step. But Asterix deserved a better movie than this one. "Asterix et Obelix contre Cesar" is not a bad movie, but as an adaptation from the comic it failed miserably. The story is just a mix of a few comics from Asterix. This makes it a poorly told story and it's rarely original. However, the makers did spend a lot of time on the art-direction, which is superb. Also the make-up is ok, and Jean-Jacques Goldman's opening number is brilliant. The special-effects are ok, but you can clearly see they came out of a computer. The acting is good or bad. Christian Clavier is ok as Asterix, but Gerard Depardieu wasn't at all convincing as Obelix and made it easy on himself by just playing a big teddy-bear. The movie is not as funny as the comics and there some things where the film is different from the comics. That's why I think that this movie is a poor adaptation of the comic. I hope the next Asterix-movie will be better.

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