What we have here is "Astérix chez les Bretons" and as the title already gives away, this is a movie in the French language. At least in the original. I watched the German dub today. This is also a Danish co-production, which surprises me a bit because I do not see a great deal of Scandinavian involvement with this movie. If I am not mistaken, this is the fifth animated Asterix film and it's been almost 20 years at that point in 1986 already since the very first film. Also I was already born when this came out. It has its 35th anniversary this year, surely something to be proud of and I am glad it is still on national television, especially here in my country, which is of course not the country where this film is originally from. This one stays slightly under the 80-minute mark and even if that is certainly not a lot compared to full feature films in general, this is still by far not the shortest of these many Asterix films. The two original writers of the comic book, Goscinny and Uderzo, did not contribute here too much. The only credit they have apparently is that they were in charge of the base material. This is different compared to the older films with which they had more impact, be it in terms of screenplay writers or directors even. But it does make sense because Goscinny had been dead already for years and that point and maybe Uderzo did not want to take care of it on his own. And it must be said they did everything right because the ones in charge here did a marvellous job really. This applies to director Pino Van Lamsweerde and he has so many countries attached to his life and body of work that it is difficult for me to focus on one. In any case, it was among his final career efforts already, even if he lived on for a long time afterwards. He died in 2020, last year. So did Uderzo and also Roger Carel, the voice of Asterix. Which means 2020 was a pretty sad era for Asterix fans. At least, they all reached really high ages.
The writer here was Pierre Tchernia, a true all-rounder it seems as he has acted, directed and written on so many occasions. In contrast to Van Lamsweerde, this is also not the only Asterix film he worked on. Actually, he worked on quite a few I see and he has not been with us anymore for five years now. May they all rest in peace. As for this movie here, it is once again a meet-up between out favorite Frenchies and people from another nation and culture as it happened so many times in Asterix films and even way more often in Asterix books. I think they did great here from this perspective. It's basically Bretagne meets Grande-Bretagne from beginning to end. There were so many funny references here in this film linked to Britain. It's impossible to mention them all, but let's see what stayed in the mind. There is the teatime (that actually wasn't "teatime" yet") early on of course, which is pretty hilarious how they stop fighting to have their favorite beverage. There is the fog. There is the rain. There is the Tower. There is a brief mention of the Channel. There is the tea revelation in the end. There is the peppermint sauce. There is the rugby game. We hear about Oxford and Cambridge and how they are so famous when it comes to rowing. And so on. I thought that you could indeed learn a lot about Britain here while watching and the best thing is that it is all downright funny too. One reasn for my high rating is how educational this was.
As for the title, it is the case that they always use Asterix there, but with this film here sometimes I felt as if Asterix was really nothing but a smart bystander who would make sure that the mission is accomplished, also with his great idea in the end. But by 1986, they definitely recognized already that there is so much more entertainment and fun potential to the character of Obelix and he is basically the by far best thing about this movie. Again, it's not possible to mention all the hilarious moments, but I will give you some. The scene in the fog was amazing after the battle when he asks if there are any Romans left and how two respond differently. And then the one Roman guy asking if there are any Gauls still there was hilarious too. Then there is the running gag with Obelix appreciating the idea that he is not obese. Hilarious more than once. Also when the one fella sees double. "There are no two fat folks here, just one and that one is not fat either." Best line ever. The way the voice actor was talking in a slightly offended and sensitive manner was hilarious too. Great dubbing. I hope it's as good in your language and in the original too. Kinda sweet that in the ages of political correctness one can still watch these films. I guess if this was made today, then some white knights would whine again. Another funny Obelix (okay, not only him) moment here is when he basically runs out of the Tower while Asterix runs up and all of a sudden, they miss each other and it takes more running until they are both out and down there at the entrances. There we also see a lot of nice attention to detail for example with shields flying out of windows etc.
I also liked it when Obelix spoke a sentence that was constructed like something from the English language in the end to show his solidarity with their British friend. Or when he said something like "the poor pig" about his food when he is the last person otherwise to show mercy on boars. As we see when he does not exactly pick up what the druid told him to early on. When he said that it was because he considered it an abomination and travesty what was done to the pig because it got turned into a meal that he found really unpleasant. I don't really know why, but I remember this line pretty well somehow. I think I found it really funny and the irony behind it too. Apart from all of that, we also get a great deal of the usual inclusions here. The Gauls love fighting and brawls as we see once more early on. We find out that Obelix fell into the magic potion as a child. We meet the pirates again and it's fairly funny how they react when the captain's son mentioned the Gauls, but the Romans are also not too shabby as we see. A little mocking of Caesar was in it as well when he made that genius plan on how to win against the Brits. The one thing he did not expect was that they had one among them who is close to our favorite Gauls and it's a delight for Obelix already too because the Romans basically stopped caring about the little village and moved on to Britain with their conquests and he was depressed because he could not beat any of them up for a long, long time. So Obelix of course joins in on the journey here and this gives us many other fun moments. Just take the scene in which Obelix tells the Roman soldiers to follow the words of their leader and attack, so he can finally have some fun.
Still, even if violence is always a factor in these movies, it's always family friendly. Nobody is killed (except the boars) and hardly anybody is injured. The best example is when the Brits leave for their drinks and everybody is really fine. Okay, the one guy is injured a bit by Obelix during the rugby game. Fun animation there with this yellow-black wall that easily collapses in the face of Obelix's magnificent strength. The music was great fun here too. The Asterix tune is amazing already, but here we at times also get some vocals that truly make an impact. The ending is happy as always too. It's certainly not too frequent that a fifth film from a movie series reaches such a high level of quality, but here it was the case in my opinion. I genuinely enjoyed the watch. No need to really go into detail now about the case of the missing barrel, even if it's the key story. It was really more the case here that the smaller moments and attention to detail made this an amazing watch, even if said core story wasn't shabby either. The confrontation with the guy who stole the barrel was okay. Idefix getting a bit of the potion too and taking care of a bigger and stronger dog immediately afterwards was okay too and also Asterix's not amused surprise when a barrel of wine is actually a barrel of wine and how he deals with it when talking to the guy selling the wine. Oh and the neighbor of the thief I just mentioned was hilarious too I think. That was another thing how they depicted the British as really relaxed here ("Ruhe weg haben" as we say in German) that I found pretty entertaining. Even when the Romans are about to attack, they still have the time and decency to respectfully admire the Roman fleet.
Rugby is generally nothing I am too interested in here, but this was fun too. I already mentioned some of it earlier, but there is more. Also the slim player for example who is literally stomped to the ground and then accused of pretending and the following revenge thanks to the magic potion were fun as well. And the pirates return too in the end. And then with the closing credits we listen to the awesome tune again. Apparently, Cook da Books performed it. Must admit no clue who that would be. My loss for sure. That's all then. I highly recommend watching this movie. It helps if you have seen some of the previous films, or all of them, but it is not a necessity. This is also a great first choice for an Asterix film. And a great rewatch if you have seen it before. Also especially recommended to the English of course because this is their movie from the Asterix universe. Maybe the ones who love the druid (Miraculix in German) will not enjoy it that much because he is not included a lot here, but at least makes a crucial reference in the end about the magic herbs. Sure, maybe it is a bit exaggerated that they managed to keep the Romans away only through willpower (and tea),but it's tolerable I suppose. After all, it's fantasy anyway, even if the proxy war statement here is still interesting. Drunk Obelix I did not find that funny, but it was probably really accurate how he behaved. So yeah, do not miss out on this movie.
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The diminutive Asterix and his rather larger companion Obelix, warriors of the last village in Gaul still free after the Roman invasion, set out on a mission to deliver a barrel of their druid's famous magic potion to help Asterix's cousin in Britain fight off the invading Roman army.
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