Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion
- Matthew Turner
- 26 August 2019
The beloved comic book characters return for another computer-animated adventure
The indomitable Gauls return for this second computer-animated adventure based on the popular comic books by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. However, while directors Alexandre Astier and Louis Clichy based their previous adaptation (2014's Mansion of the Gods, released in the UK in 2016) on one of the best of the books, their follow-up is an entirely original story.
When elderly druid Getafix injures himself by falling from a tree, he decides that the time has come to pass on the secret of his magic potion to a trustworthy successor. Together with Asterix and Obelix, he searches all over Gaul for a suitable replacement. Meanwhile, the evil druid Demonix plots to steal the recipe and supply it to Caesar, and a group of Romans led by Callous Fraudulous Tomcrus (pronounced Tom Cruise) decide to attack the village while Asterix and Obelix are away.
Having helmed Mansion of the Gods, Astier and Clichy are intimately familiar with the world of Asterix and pals, which is presumably what gave them the confidence to strike out on their own story-wise. The film is packed with great visual gags (there's a remarkably high hit-rate in that regard) and it stays largely true to the spirit of the books, give or take a talking boar or two. The character interactions are very funny and it's nice to see the relationship between fishmonger Unhygienix and blacksmith Fulliautomatix given a bit of screen time.
However, the original story also means a surfeit of contemporary references, as well as a much more fantastical climax than anything Goscinny or Uderzo might have imagined, even if the CG visuals do full justice to le grand spectacle. The biggest disappointment is that the wonderful British voice cast that dubbed its predecessor have been replaced by a less recognisable line-up of Canadian voice artists for the UK release this time round. Sadly, Ken Kramer and C Ernst Harth aren't nearly as much fun as Jack Whitehall and Nick Frost as Asterix and Obelix, while to deprive audiences of a second helping of Matt Berry as the blustering Chief Vitalstatistix seems positively criminal.
Selected release from Fri 30 Aug.