The well-known little village from the Asterix and Obelix-comic books is in trouble: It is the last place not controlled by Rome. When Tax collector Claudius Incorruptus does not get his ... See full summary »
After another raid in an empty village, the chief of the Vikings Timandahaf misunderstands the explanation of his druid Cryptograf that "fear gives wings to the dwellers" and believes that ... See full summary »
Popular animated hero Asterix and his faithful sidekick Obelix travel to ancient Egypt to help Cleopatra build a new summer home. Cleopatra and Julius Caesar have made a bet, with Caesar ... See full summary »
Caesar has had enough when another legion is hacked to pieces by the damned single indomitable village in Gaul because of the druid's magic potion, so he decides to tackle the problem at ... See full summary »
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 ... See full summary »
Pino Van Lamsweerde
Obelix falls for a new arrival in his home village in Gaul, but is heartbroken when her true love arrives to visit her. However, the lovers are kidnapped by Romans; Asterix and Obelix set ... See full summary »
The first was made by an old-school director, the second by a fan, the third, by businessmen...
René Goscinny's untimely passing in 1977 left a vivid interrogation
mark on the future of his most iconic creation: Astérix, the little
Gaul. Yet Albert Uderzo, the drawer, took the challenge and managed,
for at least two decades, to remain respectful to the witty, comical
and slightly satirical tone of the first albums. Of course, here and
there, he injected some fantasy or romance, but the humor did justice
to the legacy of the great Goscinny and never caused any concerns.
It's not until the dreadful "All at Sea" in 1996 that some signs of,
pardon me, senile over-inspiration, alerted the fans. It started with
the Atlantis Island and that horrific sight of a flying cow, it was
followed, five years later, by another story featuring Asterix and
Obelix' mothers attempting to marry their bachelor kids but even those
were nothing compared to the deathblow of 2005, the last album drawn by
Uderzo, daring to mix Astérix with Sci-fi. The title was "The Falling
Sky", reading it, I felt like the sky actually fell on poor Uderzo.
The relationship between Uderzo and Astérix became as problematic as
when a troubled parent has the custody, and to understand the horrid
disaster of "Astérix at the Olympic Games", one must consider the
context of its making. Basically, the third live-action adaptation was
one of the most anticipated projects of French Cinema, especially after
the success of the hilarious "Mission Cleopatra". "Chorus" director
Gérard Jugnot wanted to pay his tribute to his childhood hero and the
movie was planned to be based on "Astérix in Hispania".
However, Uderzo dismissed a script that, according to him, didn't
respect the spirit of Astérix. The man who was just preparing an album
that would make the late Goscinny roll over his grave, who despised
"Mission Cleopatra", sealed the fate of a promising project. I would
hate to think that Uderzo, who co-created Astérix, would be the least
capable person to judge the quality of an adaptation, didn't he love,
after all, the magnificent "Mansion of the Gods" in 2014? Uderzo
probably refused the script, out of fear that it would interfere with
the release of "The Falling Sky" and "Asterix and the Vikings". It was
nothing personal, but strictly business.
And indeed, when you see "Astérix at the Olympic Games", you don't
think of it as the work of a fan, but of businessmen. Claude Berri, who
produced the first films, let his son Thomas Langmann taking over the
ambitious project, and invest millions of euros to make an
international blockbuster. Clavier was replaced by Clovis Cornillac,
Depardieu would still be Obelix and Jean-Pierre Cassel, in his last
role, was a rather weak and invisible Getafix. The rest of the cast
featured bankable stars: Alain Delon, comedians Benoit Poelvorde, Elie
Semoun, Franck Dubosc and Alexandre Astier, and so many cameos they
became the rules rather than the exceptions.
Still, the most disconcerting aspect of the casting is Canadian
comedian Stéphane Rousseau as a Gaul named Alafolix, in love with a
Greek princess, I say 'surprising' because this has nothing to do with
the album, yet it works as the set-up of the film: to marry the
princess whatever-her-name-is-and-who-cares, Alafolix must win the
Olympic Games over his greatest rival: Brutus. Astérix and Obélix are
almost relegated to secondary roles just like in the 'Vikings' film.
Again, romance ruins everything. Check all the previous attempts,
Justforkix and Abba, Obelix with the Native girl or Falbala in the
first live-action film, and even "Asterix vs. Caesar" to some extent,
romance never fits with Astérix and just slows down the action.
But "Olympic" takes the cake as the romance isn't part of the original
album, and involves two characters who don't even belong to the series.
It's dull and boring and only redeemed by the sight of beautiful
Vanessa Hessler and Poelvorde's funny performance as Brutus. Well he
manages to grab a few laughs although some attempts are so
intelligence-insulting that you're wondering if the gags that work
aren't accidental. It starts with the falcon whose landing on Brutus'
arm is so "brutal" he's thrown from the saddle, okay then he sees
Princess and recites a poem. The lyrics are an excerpt from a famous
French hit song. The gag works for a few seconds until the unforgivable
mistake where he actually sings the original song, which totally ruins
A similar gag occurs when we first meet Caesar, Delon delivers a tirade
full of references to his previous films, the first reference is fun,
the second can pass, at three, it gets redundant, at the fifth one, you
just want to shout "stop, this is embarrassing!". Delon is not even
playing Caesar but a Caesar version of Delon, which is not funny, since
this is the most predictable cliché about him, not to mention the
running gag of Brutus' assassination attempts, which, despite some
funny ones, confine to a level of absurdity totally discrediting
Caesar's intelligence. If that's the joke, it's not even funny. And
this is actually symptomatic of the film's problem, the script was
written according to the stars, they are the references, the story is
So secondary that after an overdose of CGI-driven lousy effects, movies
references, and cringe-worthy performances, the film's conclusion
gratifies us with an extra ten minutes featuring a cameo of Jamel
Debbouze and Adriana Karembeu, then Zidane and Tony Parker showcasing
their skills. The only interesting jokes came from Alexandre Astier as
Centurio Mordicus and it's interesting that Wikipedia mentions he wrote
his lines, as to justify this oasis of brilliance in a desert of
mediocrity. Later, Astier would write the greatest adaptation of
Asterix since Chabat's, "The Mansion of the Gods" making us forget
about that dreadful adaptation.
"Asterix at the Olympic Games" shows how far cinema can go when
poisoned by business, it's almost ironic that it has to be a
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