March 27, 2023

With an XXL cast and an original scenario, “Asterix and Obelix: the Middle Empire” is finally coming out in cinemas this Wednesday, February 1. But will this unprecedented magic potion, made by Guillaume Canet, sparkle with the public?

It is an understatement to say that the pressure is strong on the shoulders of Guillaume Canet with the release of the highly anticipated “Asterix and Obélix: the Middle Empire”, at the cinema this Wednesday, February 1. A bet that is both artistic, both the original work is part of French cultural heritage, and financial, the budget being estimated at more than 65 million euros, i.e. the ninth most expensive feature film in the history of the 7th hexagonal art.

For this ambitious project that he is carrying out and in which he succeeds Edouard Baer in the costume of Asterix, the author of “Small Handkerchiefs” relied on an original script, while the other cinematographic adaptations in shots real ones are adapted from the comic strips imagined by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. With Julien Hervé and Philippe Mechelen, who notably collaborated on the trilogy of “Tuche”, Guillaume Canet has therefore chosen to write his own story while trying to respect the spirit of the saga that rocked generations. “Keep the DNA”, as he likes to repeat. For these unprecedented adventures, spectators find these irreducible Gauls in the year 50 BC, still busy terrorizing the Romans, hunting wild boar and sinking pirate ships.

But the routine of the famous mustachioed hero and his friend Obélix who is not fat but “coated”, will be somewhat disturbed. These two will indeed have to leave their village to reach China, in order to help Princess Fu Yi, whose Empress mother was poisoned following a coup fomented by Deng Tsin Quin and his adviser. Laugh who who. On their way, the Gauls will inevitably cross the path of Caesar who dreams of only one thing: to lead the Middle Kingdom to win back Cleopatra, the latter threatening to leave him for his coach Tabascos, whose muscular torso does not let her not indifferent.

anachronisms and militant struggles

After Claude Zidi (“Asterix and Obelix against Caesar”, 1999), Alain Chabat (“Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra”, 2002), Frédéric Forestier and Thomas Langmann (“Asterix at the Olympic Games”, 2008), and Laurent Tirard (“Asterix and Obelix: in the service of her Majesty”, 2012), Guillaume Canet has the merit of refocusing the plot around the two famous Gauls, all served by a beautiful musical proposal signed -M-. This fifth film inspired by the franchise tackles current issues such as feminism defended by the activist Bonemine or veganism, Asterix asking Obelix to stop eating meat and adopt a healthier diet based on fruits and vegetables . “Asterix and Obelix: the Middle Kingdom” multiplies the anachronisms (trolley in the shape of a 2CV; carrier pigeon emitting the sound of an SMS, etc.) which make you smile, but do not avoid clichés and link references, “La Chèvre” to Jul, without too much consistency.

On the interpretation side, Vincent Cassel (César), Jonathan Cohen (Graindemaïs), José Garcia (Biopix), Pierre Richard (Panoramix) and Philippe Katerine (Assurancetourix) have a great time and seem to take undisguised pleasure in playing the great bickering children. Same Gilles Lellouche, who has the heavy responsibility of taking over the role of Obélix, previously played by the imposing Gérard Depardieu, pulls out of the game. He embodies a man who is certainly a brawler, but above all tender and loving in the face of the warrior Tan Han. And the complicity with Guillaume Canet is also felt on the screen.

A succession of more or less justified cameos

Despite a disproportionate number of guests and an astronomical budget for a French production, “Asterix and Obelix: the Middle Kingdom” does not however manage to dethrone the cult “Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra” and its 14.5 million spectators . The repeated cameos of Youtubers, comedians, singers or sportsmen – in particular the footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Antivirus and Caesar’s henchman – are attractive on paper, but do not add anything to the narrative and sometimes serve bad actors (the real ones).

Still, this XXL cast including Angèle (Falbala), McFly and Carlito (Radius and Cubitus) or Orelsan in Titanix who goes to see “if the Earth is round”, is intended to be a major argument to attract fans to dark rooms. These same young people who have abandoned cinema for streaming platforms since the end of confinement.

Let’s hope that this family entertainment which offers some beautiful kung-fu scenes, will appeal to the greatest number. Note that an illustrated album inspired by the script of the film will be released on February 8.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: