The basic plot of Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom – Due to a magic potion that provides the local hero-doofuses Asterix and Obelix superhuman power, a stronghold of native Gauls has defied Rome’s conquering soldiers.
Obelix is an obese brute who once fell into a vat of the potion and now has permanent super strength, while Asterix is a flimsy guy in a winged helmet who guzzles some of the substance and uppercuts dudes right out of the frame. Together with Obelix’s small, yappy terrier Dogmatix, they make the best of friends.
The Chinese princess Fu Yi (Julie Chen) and her bodyguard Ka Ra Tay (Leanna Chea) are the priceless cargo that Graindemais (Jonathan Cohen) brings back to the Gaulish settlement. Traitors staging a coup capture and imprison the Empress (Linh-Dan Pham), the mother of the princess.
For The Uncultured: Who are Asterix & Obelix?
The artist Albert Uderzo, who passed away in 2020, and the scriptwriter René Goscinny both contributed to the development of Asterix and Obelix. These characters initially appeared in a cartoon in Pilote magazine on October 29, 1959. While Uderzo, who continued to do all the work after his partner left, passed away recently, René Goscinny went away in 1977.
The last stand against the Romans was made at a village in 50 BC that doesn’t actually exist (although some claim that because of the setting and the authors’ artistic license, it can be identified).
The fact that Julius Caesar and his Roman armies have not yet taken this town and all of Gaul is praised. The villagers do this by becoming superhumanly strong after consuming the druid Getafix’s magic elixir, which enables them to face and defeat any approaching Romans.
The name “Asterix” was derived from the asterisk (*) symbol, and the name “Obelix” from the French for the dagger (†) symbol. This was intended as a joke since, like the two companions, an asterisk and an obelisk are rarely seen apart from one another.
Offensive Comedy Still Works If You Don’t Get Offended
The latest Asterix movie, Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Kingdom, is now available on Netflix. Asterix is a French comic book that first appeared in 1959 and has since inspired 16 films, a tonne of merchandise, and a theme park.
With the release of his most recent action comedy, Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom, Guillaume Canet gives us a live-action depiction of this thrill. This film has everything you need for a joyous weekend: fantastic actors, breathtaking landscapes, wonderful portrayal of diverse cultures, and side-splitting humor.
Anachronisms, sight gags, cartoonish slapstick, and Marion Cotillard’s sarcastic laughs make up the comedy. Travelers complain about “chariot lag,” carrier pigeons land with text-message chimes, and troops stomp-stomp-CLAP to the beat of “We Will Rock You.”
There are a generous amount of jokes sprinkled throughout the film that are racially targeted, however, the jokes never go further than what would be equivalent of a comedian with no limits attempting to lighten the mood. All in all, the humor of Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom is childish, harmless, and slapstick, any offense taken by the audience just adds to the comedy of the absurdity of today’s tolerance.
Did You Know This About Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom?
- The name of the renegade prince, Deng Tsin Qin, is a play on the words “Dancing Queen” by ABBA, and “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles. Tat Han translates to “slap” in English, Ri Qi Qi to “riquiqui” (or “itsy-bitsy” in English), and Ban Han to “banane” (or “big grin” in English). Titanix, Antivirus, Remix, Biopix, Radius, Cubitus, Sinus, and Plexus are a few that immediately come to mind. Lapsus means “Freudian slip,” Abribus means “bus shelter,” and Abdelmalix is an allusion to the author and rap musician Abd al-Malik.
- Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom cost 65 million euros, which is huge for French cinema: at the time of its release, it was in the top 10 of France’s most expensive movies.
- At one point, Caesar is requesting from the populace whether they would want a female Caesar to rule Rome. Giorgia Meloni, the first female minister-president of Italy, was in reality in charge of the country at the time the film was released.
- While Gilles Lellouche gained 20 kilograms for the role of Obélix by eating four times daily and doing weights, Guillaume Canet gained 6 kilograms for the role of Astérix.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a football (soccer) player, plays the role of antivirus. He begins to run during the assault on the Chinese Castle, stops in the middle of his stride, clutches his right hamstring in anguish, and then gives the universal signal that he is hurt and must be replaced.
Who Is This Masterpiece For?
Vincent Cassel, Gilles Lellouche, and Guillaume Canet all give excellent performances, and Marion Cottilard is charming in her brief part in Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom. Leanna Chea impresses in her avatars as the royal bodyguard, whether she’s a no-nonsense warrior or a lady in love with Obélix.
The production, special effects, and cinematography of André Chemetoff are all top-notch. The soundtrack has also been skillfully and delightfully utilized, from the couples in love reliving The Time of My Life (Dirty Dancing) to Ennio Morricone’s cowboy anthem Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon a Time in America).
Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom has a lot of funny moments, great production value, and a unique premise, but it works best when seen separately from the well-known comic book series. For those who don’t mind a slightly leisurely watch, it’s good family entertainment.