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Times of India
After a series of unsuccessful attempts to take over the stronghold of the Gauls, Julius Caesar devises a more subtle plan to conquer the stubborn lot. By building a luxury residential estate (the Mansions of the Gods) in the forest on the outskirts of their village, he hopes that the Gauls will be tempted to abandon their village, move into the new property and adopt Roman culture.
While a lot of comic book characters have received cinematic representation, with suitable use of contemporary special effects, Asterix and gang have been curiously missing out on some big screen action... until now, that is. Sure, while there have been a few somewhat forgettable live-action films about Asterix and Obelix, this one is refreshingly different and fun.
Accordingly, the diminutive architect with towering ambitions Anglaigus (Deutsch) is dispatched to Gaul with Caesar's blessings to get the Mansions of the Gods built. However, Asterix (Carel) and Obelix (Briat) will have none of that and actively oppose the Romans in one encounter after another. They make life hell for the Roman garrison but soon enough, the rest of the Gauls much to their surprise, realize that doing day-to-day business with the Romans can be rather profitable, in money terms.
As infighting sets in among the Gauls, Asterix and Obelix (with a little 'magical' help from their druid Getafix) realize that only a few drastic methods will convince the Romans to leave. They after all, are not in Rome and certainly won't do as the Romans do.
The film makes a few pertinent points that won't be lost on adults as well - that of urban encroachment on forested areas, country life versus city living and the dishonest means builders often use in order to pursue their pot of lucre.
Astier, Clichy and crew have - in terms of renderings and dialogues - stayed very faithful to Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo's beloved characters and have dished out something that is both briskly-paced as well as entertaining enough for its core audience, children. This one makes for some fairly delightful viewing.
Alain Chabat, who wrote, directed and starred as Julius Ceasar in the second edition of the Asterix franchise, Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (2002), has voiced Sénateur Prospectus in this one.
The film is adapted from the 17th volume of the Asterix comic books which goes by the same name- The Mansions of the Gods.
Julius Caesar intends to finally wipe out the Gaulish village after many unsuccessful attempts to get rid of the same. While the military option in the past has always been ruled out thanks to the Gauls being fortified with Getafix's magic potion, Caesar now devises a new plan. He decides to get the villagers to have a taste of some Roman culture by establishing a luxury Roman building estate called the Mansions of the Gods. The project is led by the architect Anglaigus, who has his army of slaves begin construction work by pulling down the trees in the forest where the Gauls live. However, with the help of Getafix's magic potion, Asterix and Obelix plant trees magically enhanced by one of the druid's potions to reach mature size quickly; whereupon an increasingly erratic Anglaigus threatens "to work the slaves to death". Taking this literally, Asterix gives the slaves magic potion with which to rebel; but the slaves, upon rebellion, do not stop work and leave, as Asterix intended, but insist on better working conditions, regular pay, and freedom after completing the first building of the Mansions of the Gods (similar to that of modern-day employers and trade unionists). Upon hearing that the slaves are better paid than they, the Roman legionaries go on strike for similar and better conditions for themselves (a common occurrence among French strikers). Since the freedom of the slaves depends on constructing at least one building, the Gauls allow the work to proceed. Finally, the first building of the Mansions of the Gods is built and inhabited by Roman families: the first of these consisting of a husband, wife and their son selected by lottery. These Romans then go shopping at the village which, before long, turns into a market town selling "antique" weapons and fish to the Romans, embroiled in price wars and (in the case of some of the wives) assuming Roman dress. To counteract this, Asterix asks Anglaigus for an apartment, but is told they are full. One morning, Asterix arranges for Cacofonix the bard to sing loudly at sunrise. As a result of the bard's discordant singing, the rest of the Roman inhabitants rush out of their homes and get ready to flee to Rome. Meanwhile, Obelix, who has been weakened by the lack of food, is captured and locked up in a cellar. He however gets his strength back after some leftover food is discarded via a chute into the cellar he is in. Just when Caesar visits the project, Obelix escapes, Getafix manages to get his potion to Asterix and in the resulting battle, the Romans are defeated. Caesar, who watches on, accepts that he came and saw, but didn't conquer and so, he leaves. But not before Asterix tells him that such a cunning plan was below Caesar's dignity. That evening, the Gauls hold their usual celebratory banquet.
Louis Clichy and Alexandre Astier's animation film, 'Asterix: The Mansions of the Gods' has been well received by the critics. Here's what the Twitter feels about the film: