Asterix at the Olympic Games
The third of the live action Asterix movies retains Gérard Depardieu as rotund sidekick Obelix, but sees Clovis Cornillac taking over from Christian Clavier as the diminutive warrior. Much like the first two entries in the series, Asterix at the Olympic Games wrestles unsuccessfully with the problems of bringing the comic book humour established by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo to life. Directors Frédéric Forestier and Thomas Langmann’s computer-enhanced visuals of Asterix and Obelix smashing up the Greek stadium under the nose of Julius Caesar (a slumming Alain Delon) have the appropriate anarchic style, but fashioning a plot about magic potions to mirror modern steroid use cheapens the well-loved characters involved.
Such anachronistic gags have always been a part of the world of Asterix, but most of the puns and the linguistic jokes on offer here get lost in translation for English speaking audiences. Devoid of the original book’s satire and reduced to slapstick and tomfoolery, there’s no reason for the knockabout adventures of Asterix and co to clock in at nearly two hours, padded out with an unnecessary romance with Greek princess, Irina (Vanessa Hessler), and cameo appearances from a variety of French sporting heroes (Zinédine Zidane probably being the only face recognisable outside of France), this is innocuous fare. (Eddie Harrison)
General release from Fri 1 Feb.