Asterix and Obelix: Mansion of the Gods (4 stars)

Asterix and Obelix: Mansion of the Gods

The Gallic duo return for an animated adventure which successfully captures the spirit of the original comic books

Based on the 1971 comic book The Mansions of the Gods by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, Asterix and Obelix: Mansion of the Gods is the thirteenth Asterix film and the first to be presented in 3D. Marking the duo's return to animation after two recent live-action films, this latest outing represents a significant advance in quality over the previous animated versions; the most recent of which was Asterix and the Vikings in 2006.

With the small village of indomitable Gauls still holding out against the Roman Empire, Julius Caesar (voiced by Jim Broadbent) hatches a plan to build a luxury housing complex in the surrounding forest, in the hopes of assimilating them into Roman culture. Despite various attempts by Asterix (Jack Whitehall) and Obelix (Nick Frost) to thwart the building process, the so-called Mansions of the Gods are soon complete, which creates an entirely different problem when the Roman tenants arrive.

The voice casting on this British dub is frequently inspired; particularly Matt Berry as buffoonish Chief Vitalstatistix and Greg Davies as the exasperated Roman Centurion. Similarly, Frost makes a suitably bumbling Obelix , while Whitehall ditches his familiar comic inflections and delivers an accomplished voice performance.

The appealing character animation perfectly captures the distinctive look of the source material, while co-directors Louis Clichy and Alexandre Astier maintain a snappy pace throughout with plenty of nicely timed visual gags and a distinct eye for rewarding background details. Similarly, the sharply-written script contains decent jokes for both adults and children (satirical comment on capitalism and gentrification sits happily alongside Roman-bashing and people getting hit in the face with fish) and maintains the spirit of the books, even if the latter half of the film takes some necessary liberties with the plot in order to successfully heighten the dramatic stakes.

Wide release from Fri 19 Aug.

Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods

  • 4 stars
  • 2014
  • France / Belgium
  • 1h 25min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Louis Clichy, Alexandre Astier
  • Cast: Jack Whitehall, Nick Frost, Greg Davies, Matt Berry, Catherine Tate, Harry Enfield, Dick & Dom, Jim Broadbent
  • UK release: 19 August 2016

Julius Caesar devises a plan to assimilate the indomitable Gauls by building a luxury housing development in the forest surrounding their village. Much the slickest animated Asterix adaptation, with a sharply-written script which combines satire on capitalism with people being hit in the face with fish; the British dub…