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The year is 50 BC. Gaul is entirely occupied by the Romans... Well, not entirely... One small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders. Julius Caesar, exasperated by the situation, decides to change the tactics. Since his armies are unable to prevail through force, Roman civilisation itself will charm the barbaric Gauls. And so he has a luxurious housing complex built near the village for Roman families, called 'The Mansions of the Gods'. Will our Gaulish friends resist the lure of easy money and Roman comforts? Will their village become a simple tourist attraction? Asterix and Obelix are going to do all they can to thwart Caesar's plans...
Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods (2014) is the latest attempt to bring René Goscinny and Alberto Uderzo's beloved characters to life on the big screen. This, probably more than any of the previous incarnations, is the most successful. The 3D computer animation is designed to look more like claymation than the standard cell animation of the past. It's a look that works well; being modern enough to appeal to those who have grown up on a diet of Pixar and DreamWorks Pictures animation, while retaining just enough qualities of Goscinny and Uderzo's illustrations as not to put off fans of the original artwork.
The humour also retains the level of the original, whilst at the same time bringing it up to date for today's audience. The story is based on the seventeenth book (first published in 1971) in the series and if you're a fan of that, you'll be impressed at how faithful this is to the original subject matter.
For those new to the world of Asterix, there are a few things that you may miss, but fans will pick up on immediately. The most notable being the fact that Dogmatix gets very upset when he sees trees harmed.
Bearing in mind this is originally a French movie, I was initially put off in the opening minutes by the poor quality of the lip synch. Obviously the English script had to be adapted to use words that matched the original lip movement of the animation and it shows. However, as the movie progressed this didn't really become an issue.
The only extra is the movie's original theatrical trailer (1 min, 27 sec). It's a shame there wasn't the option to listen to the original French soundtrack with English subtitles.
This is an enjoyable and very funny movie which will be taken to the heart of young and old alike. It's certainly the most enjoyable adaptation from the pages of the books to date.