Asterix at the Olympic Games (tbc)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner31/01/2008

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 116 mins

Asterix at the Olympic Games is lively, well acted and impressively designed, but it loses a lot in translation and is nowhere near as much fun as Asterix and Cleopatra.

What's it all about?
Based on the 1968 book by Goscinny and Uderzo, Asterix at the Olympic Games stars Clovis Cornillac (replacing Christian Clavier) and Gerard Depardieu as the imdomitable Gauls Asterix and Obelix. When fellow Gaul Lovestorix (Stephane Rousseau) falls hopelessly in love with the Greek princess Irina (Vanessa Hessler), he finds himself in competition with Caesar's son, Brutus (Benoit Poelvoorde) and her father decrees that she will marry whoever wins the Olympic Games.

Deciding to embrace their status as Gallo-Romans, Asterix, Obelix and the druid Getafix (Jean-Pierre Cassel) accompany Lovestorix to Greece in order to compete. However, when their magic potion is declared an illegal performance-enhancing drug, they have to use every ounce of cunning at their disposal in order to defeat the scheming Brutus.

The Good
Clovis Cornillac makes a much wilier Asterix than Christian Clavier and Gerard Depardieu is perfectly cast (again) as Obelix. There's also amusing support from Alain Delon as Julius Caesar and Vanessa Hessler is very fetching as Irina, even if she doesn't actually have that much to do.

The strongest element of the film is the production design, with both the sets and the characters sticking closely to the distinctive look of the books.

The Bad
Unfortunately, unlike the superbly translated Asterix and Cleopatra (though for Toutatis' sake, avoid the dubbed version), many of the jokes of Asterix and the Olympic Games have been lost in translation. Similarly, the addition of the love story and the Brutus plot means that too much attention is given to Benoit Poelvoorde, meaning that Asterix and Obelix are sidelined in their own story.

In addition, the film rather overstays its welcome with an excruciating final sequence comprised of dull celebrity cameos (Eva Longoria Parker's husband!) and jokes that fall horribly flat.

Worth seeing?
Asterix at the Olympic Games is watchable enough but it's nowhere near as good as the previous film and even hardcore Asterix fans will probably be disappointed.

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Content updated: 25/03/2019 16:43

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