ASTERIX: THE MANSIONS OF THE GODS

PrintE-mail Written by John Higgins

The most popular series of comic books to come out of France, with over 300 million copies sold, Asterix continues to endure over five decades since its inception and doubtlessly, like many of the enduring characters over the years, the advent and onset of technological advances means that slicker attempts at bringing the character into the mindset of contemporary fans are going to prevail, whether the time is right or not.

The latest Blu-ray release, Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods, is a 2014 3D CGI-animation, which features in its English dub the voices of popular British comedians Jack Whitehall, Greg Davies and Harry Enfield amongst the cast. With some strong, excellent animation on show, it is remarkably old-fashioned in tone and the English voices make it come across a little bit like Carry On Cleo, with the same joyous fun, but lacking those Talbot Rothwell-esque double entendres that earlier generations lapped up.

Based on the comic book of the same name, the story chronicles what happens when the Romans decide to build a hotel, the Mansions of the Gods, at the heart of Gaul territory. Inevitably, old mates Asterix and Obelix are leading a resistance against the idea and plan to destroy the hotel in one fell swoop. A Roman family, who win an apartment in the hotel via a lottery ticket in the Coliseum, are also thrust into the mix.

If you are long-term fans of the comic books and the umpteen film adaptations over the years, then you will enjoy this one which retains the look and feel of the characters. There is a lot of slapstick violence and cheerful silliness throughout with an element of magic and the occasion Middle Earth reference thrown in.

As such, Asterix is an enduring figure in comics given its history and this will have much to offer those curious about the character, not to mention stimulating interest in the source material.

Perhaps the biggest problem the film might have is being a victim of its own influence, How To Train Your Dragon and Shrek were clearly the sort of animation films inspired by Asterix. However, don't let that put you off a film that stands well on its own two feet and will be a truly Gaul-ing experience for all to savour.

ASTERIX: THE MANSIONS OF THE GODS / CERT: PG / DIRECTORS: LOUIS CLICHY, ALEXANDRE ASTIER / SCREENPLAY: ALEXANDRE ASTIER / STARRING: JACK WHITEHALL, NICK FROST, CATHERINE TATE, GREG DAVIES, JIM BROADBENT / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 12TH


 

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