It’s been 20 years since my sister picked up Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s masterpiece (Asterix) to read as my bedtime story in hopes it would put me to sleep as a child. Sadly, it never worked as most of the time I would want to hear more adventures of Asterix and his best friend Obelix. From chariot racing, to fighting in coliseums, crossing waters to accompany Cleopatra down the Nile River, to competing in the Olympics, Asterix has always been exceptional in delivering an exciting adventure. So where do our heroes journey this time?
In Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion, Asterix and Obelix travel across the lands of Gaul in search of a new village druid after their current one, Getafix breaks his leg while climbing a tree to acquire some mistletoe. Getafix realising his age is catching up to him and a new druid must continue the legacy, he decides it’s time to pass down his mantle to a worthy successor who will also obtain the secret of the magic potion. The potion has the ability to give its consumer superhuman abilities which has caught the attention of the film’s foe Demonix, a druid and former friend of Getafix.
Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion has a very strong driven storyline but it’s the way that you are roped in that’s so unexpected. You are welcomed to the cinematic adventure by the tune of Dead or Alive‘s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” which to me I felt like the main overall theme of the film. It was a well-played hook that fit the storyline completely. It was so clever that I couldn’t help but chuckle in amusement. Overall, I was happy with the story, direction and feel that the movie took. But I was more impressed with how everything was expressed in clusters and then brought together for the resolution and conclusion. Every part of the film remained important, every character, every small detail played a part in the progression of the story from beginning to end, with nothing unnecessary or a waste of time.
In Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion, it really did feel like an Asterix book had come to life; Asterix and Oblix‘s arguments, the characteristics, the display of super powers, the humour and the use of “IX’s” at the end of everyone’s name, this showed that the film was sticking close to the books to provide the best experience for Asterix fans. The film is visually beautiful. The scenery and character designs are so vibrant with the display of superpowers and conjuring of spells seemingly enchanting.
I quite liked how the film also showed how the village fared with the absence of Asterix and displayed how vulnerable they were. Particularly from attacks made by Julius Caesar who in the comics is one of the main villains. The introduction of Ceasar in the film caused major conflict which made the film interesting, opening the question of, “How will our heroes stop Demonix, find Getaifix’s successor and save their village all at the same time?“
I wasn’t familiar with the original cast of voice actors. While this film is originally in French, I watched the English dub. From the display of voice acting, that I did witness however, I personally thought all the cast vocally portrayed their characters very well particularly Huub Dikstaal (Asterix), C. Ernst Harthand (Obilix) and Daniel Mesguich (Demonix). Each voice actor in the English dub breathed life into their characters to the point I really believed by their pitch and tone that their voices suited their characters completely.
It would have been nice to have seen more of Julius Ceasar, but I understand that the main focus was the conflict between characters Getafix and Demonix. Although this is an Asterix film, I felt this film seemed more about Getafix and Demonix’s rivalry than it was about Asterix and Obelix going on an adventure. Nevertheless, this didn’t take away anything from the film at all, still playing out to be an enjoyable journey overall.
Watching Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion brought me back to my childhood and after all these years, these characters and their stories still have the same effect on me. I was kept captivated from start to finish, I enjoyed the humour, the sense of adventure it provided me and the wonderful display of colours. Seeing Asterix and Obelix on the big screen, I really did feel like that eager child once more and I personally can’t wait for their next adventure.