"Astérix et les Vikings", which of course means "Asterix and the Vikings", is a co-production between France and Denmark from 2006, so this movie has its 15th anniversary this year already. The title makes it really obvious that this is of course another Asterix movie (I will do without the accent for now) and just like the older ones, it is a pretty short one at under 80 minutes, which is not even the shortest from the series. I should also add that this is fully animated, which is not really a given if we take a look at Asterix films from the 21st century because of the films that had Gérard Depardieu as part of the cast. He's not foing the voice work here though. Or anywhere else I believe. The much bigger name is the Asterix actor this time again. Roger Carel was almost 80 when this was made and he also gave his voice to Asterix back in the 1960s already. Certainly his career-defining character. May he rest in peace now. Just like with the other Asterix films, this is based on a book, a book with the same title I believe. So kinda fitting with the background and characters in here that two filmmakers from Denmark were in charge of the direction here. Or are they from Denmark. Jesper Møller sure sounds like that, but he has worked on all kinds of international movies over the years. Pretty interesting still that this was his first directorial effort overall, but then again he was truly experienced in the animation department at that point already, for example also worked on the Asterix film before that and that was more than a decade ago in the mid90s. His co-director here is Stefan Fjeldmark, who had directed a lot before this film too and his Oscar-nominated short film surely may have helped him in getting the part here. So two Danish directors for a film about Vikings. Kinda fitting. Even if the Vikings are not more in the center of it all than our French buddies here.
This movie was the eighth animated Asterix film. I like the looks of it, it seemed like a healthy mix of retro combined with new visual standards. Good choices there. Goscinny and Uderzo deserve a mention too of course, even if they were not incolved with this film anymore. Goscinny died decades earlier and Uderzo was also 80 already at that point. But they had more writers on board. One would be the aforementioned Fjeldmark and the other two that focused mostly on the dialogues were also fairly experienced by then already. Good inclusion because I liked the dialogues all in all. I cannot really talk about the original, but they cannit be that bad if they worked in the German dub. So really, really many writers here honestly (and directors) for a fairly short film. As for the voice actors, I mentioned the legendary Asterix performer Carel already and cannot say too much about the others. I think Forestier is somewhat known in France. In any case, the German dub had many really familiar names. Especially Hallervorden was very easy to identify. There is something pretty unique to his voice. Tramitz I knw very well too, was that really him doing Asterix? Jacques Frantz, even if he seems to be a successful actor, also internationally, I cannot say a lot about. same goes for Tilo Schmitz. I guess this may be one reason why Obelix sometimes feels a bit underrepresented in these films, at least this one here, that the voice actors are no really big names. Wolfgang Völz was also easy to identify. May he rest in peace to. Same goes out Wolfgang Hess. He's the one who lent his voice to Bud Spencer for decades, what a charming man! I think here he was in charge of that really stupid brute antagonist (we do not really know he is an antagonist until the end). Smudo, Tschirner and Otto are also all fairly famous here in Germany, but enough with the voice cast now, even if I believe they all did a good job.
This film does not really have any major weaknesses and their performances certainly do not fall into that category either. Now, let's lose a few words on the story: I like how they use some references right from the books, like how the people from this French village are always eager to fight, even if it means fighting each other. And of course the foul fish. Oh wait, I should not say that or I might get slapped from the guy. I am not really sure what the name of the boy from Lutetia (Paris) means in other languages, but here in German it was an ironic meaning because he was called kinda fearless, but we see how he is really actually immediately scared in the slightest bit of a dangerous situation. Kinda saw that coming. Not gonna lie. I mean look at him. He is tiny. Interestingly enough, his father is really one people are scared of, especially in the end when the boy has gone missing. More scary than the Viking leader for example. He is one who also tends to be scared more of his wife than people actually being scared of him. He is honestly not too different compared to the chief of our French village.
It kinda shows here that a lot of the background and general action is from the past already and not included in this film: The Romans are basically not existent at all. References on magic potion (how Obelix fell inside as a child),boars, the pirates (no surprise as the Vikings spend a lot of time on the water too) and stuff you always find in these older films is not a factor here whatsoever. The not so talented singer is featured frequently here nonetheless (also at the end with the fear reference),but the druid is basically missing altogether. Not a surprise wih how closely connected he usually is with the magic potion. The only real reference here is basically when the very old guy shows the new kid from Paris what the magic potion does. Or also when Asterix takes a bit before fighting the Vikings. But as the Viking daughter and the young Gaul are about to end up as a couple, the Vikings are not really antagonists, even if they abducted him. It was just one of the two bad guys from the Vikings. Speaking of said daughter, not only was she pretty cute (freckles and even with teeth missing or maybe because of that),but she felt as if she could also lead a Disney movie. Anyway, the comparison with How to Train Your Dragon comes to mind immediately for sure, but that got released later.
Said daughter also had one of the funniest moments when no matter what she said, the male Vikings would always scream a dedicated "Yes". So she adjusts her questions, which shows she is certainly a smart character. But the first question where it goes all wrong was very funny because it felt as if they thought she was in favor of women being treates like slaves. Another funny moment involved her father. This was when they had captured the boy already and he tells him to scare them, so they can be able to fly and how he says it in a childish manner already (the second part) was really hilarious for how absurd it all felt. The boy is 100% correct. So there were some pretty funny moments and inclusions here and there, certainly enough for a movie with this running time in my opinion. I enjoyed the watch. Still, they also doulc have done better here and there. For example, the issue with Obelix walking away because he was so frustrated did not do too much and did not feel as crucial as it was meant from my perspective. A bit of a pity because Obelix really looks 100% the Viking part. It's a good movie from beginning to end and while I also liked the much more recent animated Asterix, I still would have preferred them to use the animation style we have here. So good decision here to not make this film too modern in terms of the looks. But I said that early already. I am not really sure where I would put it in terms of a ranking of these movies, probably closer to the bottom than to the top, but this is only because the films are all pretty good and you will rarely find a franchise where after so many sequels, they still come up with so much quality. Like they did here. It shows that the base material is also still on a high level. Or at least was back in 2006. Glad to see the franchise running for this long and it reminded me how I want to read the books again at some point.
This film deserved certainly much more awards recognition that it received. Only one single nomination it says here on imdb. Boo! Oh and as the previous film took them to America even, this is also a bit of back to the roots as the Viking territories are considerably closer. These films always list Asterix in the title and they kept this tradition, probably also for promotional purposes because everybody know this character, but Asterix is not that much at the center of the story as you could guess. Many new characters in here, but it is working and I believe this was quite a challenge. Okay, maybe it felt a bit clumsy when they included some modern aspects like the early bird basically representing mobile phones that were obviously still much more envogue in 2006 than really an everyday item as they are today 15 years later for everybody. Everybody? Nope, a (not so) little Berlin guy still doesn't have one and does not plan to. And it seems that he will not get one before the Romans finally manage to conquer the little Gaul village, i.e. never. Overall, this film certainly gets a positive recommendation. I think it looked really nice in terms of light and dark, in terms of nature phenomenons like snow, ice and fog, but also during sunny days. I would have been perfectly fine with this scoring a nomination in the Animated feature category at the Oscars and I think most critics liked it too. But it's not American and does not have an indie or art-house component to it, which certainly destroyed its chances before it even had any chance. But glad to see that most people who worked on this one, if still alive, have managed successful careers in the years since 2006. It's nowhere near my favorite Asterix film, the one with all the challenger, but you should still watch this one here. Thumbs-up.