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The best of the several movie adventures of Asterix, Obelix, Vitalstatistix
and Co., our heroes are given a series of increasingly difficult tasks by
Caesar, with the future of the village at stake - ranging from crossing a
ravine by an invisible bridge ("Which you do not see over there") through
avoiding the lures of the sirens, combating a champion javelin thrower and
getting a permit for the next task (something that will strike a chord in
anyone who's ever had to face red tape) to facing a celestial challenge by a
god who asks them to... actually, that last one is so funny you have to see
it for yourself.
There is a book out, but it's the adaptation of the movie, making "The Twelve Tasks Of Asterix" the only one to date actually written for the screen first. Perhaps the makers of the later animated movies and the live-action ones could take the hint? (Or is adapting them properly beyond 'em?) Sheer pleasure throughout, with moments that still make me laugh years after seeing it and some surprisingly strong satire, all the movies should have been like this. Right, let's tie up the bard and bring on the boar...
I'm mostly a rather introvert person. When a comedy makes me smile it has
succeeded, when it makes me chuckle it is a rousing success. The climax of
this film made me fall from my cinema seat laughing.
This film is not based on any of the Asterix comic books as most of the Asterix films. Asterix faces 12 tasks, one more daunting than the other (I can't remember why, it was over 20 years ago), building up to the last one, the most difficult of the lot. Do not, under any circumstances, including hurricanes and invading Mongolic hordes, leave the cinema before that scene!
This is Asterix the way I like him to be! I have always been a big fan of
the comic books, and also liked the animated movies. This one has the
particularity of not being based on any of the books, but having a new
storyline - a fun and original one, not the incongruent rehash of pieces
from the books that was the 1999 live-action movie.
In this adventure, due to the super-human strength of the Gauls, the Romans had came to think that they can be actual gods instead of medium human beings. To try them, Caesar decides to send the most powerful Gaulish warriors (Asterix and Obelix, of course) to 12 dangerous tasks, imitating the "Works of Hercules". If the Gauls succeed, they'll be considered Gods, and Caesar will stop trying to conquer them. But if they fail, they and their village will become property of the Roman Empire.
The movie is a lot of fun for kids and grown-ups. It has even moments that are almost scary (the ghosts of the dead legionaries coming to life), and others that are hilarious by describing situations that, after all, are not so dissimilar to reality (I'm talking about the House that Makes People Crazy, of course).
So, if you want the opinion of a serious Asterix fan, avoid the 1999 waste (actually the 13th Task of Asterix, as it's really hard to endure ;) and see this or any other of the first four animated movies (I haven't seen the other two). You don't need magic potion to enjoy them.
This is the year 50 before JC. All the Gaul is occupied by the Romans. All
the Gaul? No! A little village populated by some irreducibles Gallics
resists again and always to the invader. This situation gets on Jules
César's nerves who's starting to compare these Gallics as gods. To have
proof of this, he sets them 12 works. Astérix and Obélix are chosen to take
up the challenge...
This animation film isn't an adaptation from one of Astérix' albums, it's
an original screenplay that inspired from the Greek mythology with Hercule's
works. The movie is a pleasant surprise because the animation is more
careless than in Astérix' previous adaptations for the cinema, although it's
a bit basic. Concerning these "works", of course they're fanciful and
eccentric but they're irresistibe, varied, full of modern anachronisms (like
the chips in the sixth work when Obélix must eat a pantagruelian meal).
Besides, the anachronism is a common thing in Astérix' adventures.
The best moments of the movie are the pantagruelian meal, the sequences of the hypnosis and the crazy flat. At the end, in spite of tiresome sequences, peculiar to Astérix's adaptations, I think about the (useless) battle against the Romans at the beginning, the movie is a happy entertainment and the best animation film with Astérix.
I've been laughing at "The Twelve Tasks of Asterix" for about 20 years
now. Early on, I laughed hardest at the slapstick comedy segments. Now,
I laugh hardest at the history-based jokes and sly sexual references.
So you see, like all the best children's entertainment, this can be
enjoyed on several different levels - some for the kiddies, some for
(The slapstick comedy is still cool to my adult self, by the way. Nothing beats watching an unruly mob of Gaulish villagers tear through a phalanx of hapless Roman dudes...)
The plot is very episodic, centering around the efforts of wily Asterix and oafish Obelix to perform twelve tasks and, if successful, become gods in the eyes of the Romans. Inevitably, some of the tasks are more interesting than others. The best one is set in the Place That Sends You Mad, a spot-on satire of bureaucracy and red tape. Probably the lamest task involves alligators and an invisible string, but even that's okay.
The animators did an excellent job capturing the style of the Asterix comic books. Oddly enough, though, the quality of the drawing is variable. Sometimes the characters look quite rough and sketchy, and other times the lines are much cleaner. However, the task set in the Beast's cave is undeniably very well-animated and even a bit creepy.
The ending is outrageous, and therefore brilliant. It brings the Asterix saga to a satisfying close (of course, the little guy's adventures continue in various formats). Speaking of the ending, pay especially close attention to Caius Tiddleus's cup when he's getting tickled by the priestess in the closing moments. It's a good, naughty sight gag.
This movie was my first exposure to Asterix, and thus I have a soft spot for it. Sentiment aside, though, I do think it's easily the best of the Asterix films, and is only rivaled by the very best comic adventures. Hey, I honestly haven't got tired of it during these twenty-odd years of occasional viewing - that's about the best endorsement I can give a film!
vThe year is 50 Bc. Gaul is entirely occupied by the Roman. Well,not entirely..One small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders. And life is not easy for the Roman legionaries who garrison the fortified camps . In the village are our friends : ¨Asterix¨,the hero of this adventure,he's a shrewd , cunning little warrior ,all perilous missions are immediately entrusted to him.¨Obelix¨ his inseparable friend,he's a menhir delivery-man by trade and addicted to wild boar,he's always ready to drop everything and go off on a new adventure with Asterix,so long as there's wild boar to eat, and plenty of fighting.¨Panoramix¨,the venerable village druid,gathers mistletoe and brews magic potions,his speciality is the potion which gives the drinker superhuman strength although also has other recipes up his sleeve.¨Abraracurcix¨,the chief of the tribe,majestic,brave and hot-tempered,the old warrior is respected by his enemies,he has only one fear,he's afraid the sky may fall on his head tomorrow,but as he always says,'Tomorrow never comes'. And of course ¨Cacofonix¨,the Bard,opinion is divided as to his musical gifts,he thinks he's a genius,everyone else thinks he's unspeakable,but so long as he doesn't speak,let alone sing,everybody likes him..... The film concerns about Julius Caesar who offers the Gauls a covenant ,they must prove which they're Gods by making twelve extremely difficult works, similar to 12 works of Hercules which are the following: vanquished to the Amazonas,captured wild boar and bull of island of Crete,killed the Hydra,swept the stable of Ujias,murdered to Gerion and Diomedes,took apples of garden of Hesperides,won a race against the clock to a deer,strangled to Lion of Nemea,shot arrows to birds of lake Stinfano,got out at Teseo of the inferno. Asterix and Obelix will must be able resolve twelve similar tasks that Caesar chose and if the fail they will converted slaves and the Gauls village will hand over the Roman empire to them . Between the dangerous missions our friends must suffer are the followings : the fighting a winner javelin thrower and against a judo-man, the lures of mermaids , taking a celestial challenge with a God, combating a ghosts army, the crossing an invisible bridge and confronting public officials with a extremely critic to the bureaucracy ,among others. The picture will appeal to Asterix and Obelix comic-books fans.
The best Asterix film at the time of its release and certainly one of
the best overall. "Twelve Tasks" was always a favorite of mine and
watching it now, close to 20 years later, it's still as funny and
imaginative as it ever was.
As an Asterix movie it's a bit of an anomaly. It isn't based on any of the comic-books (are they graphic novels?) and doesn't follow any of the continuity or logic of any of the other stories. But since it's by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo themselves you could hardly call it unofficial.
Julius Caesar calls a truce with the village and says that Gaul can rule Rome if they can win Twelve impossible tasks in the vein of Hercules a few thousand years ago. If they fail, they must surrender to Caesar. But with Asterix and Obelix as their chosen champions do you really think they will fail? The plot lends itself to lots of visual humor and irreverent satire. How can a kid's animated movie have this much depth and wit and still be relatively unknown in the wider world of Toy Stories and Ups? It's insane.
Definitely a great treat for Asterix fans and the perfect way to introduce new people to the franchise.
Time goes so fast, it seems like yesterday when I asked my uncle if he
could tape "The Twelve Tasks of Asterix" for me.
As a child, I was already an avid reader and watcher of Asterix' adventures, I collected the albums and videotapes, and knew almost every film by heart. That year, because of summer holidays, I couldn't tape the film on the day of its TV airing, coincidentally, my 9th birthday. I told my uncle it would make a great gift if he recorded the film for me. He kindly accomplished the 13th task and when I was back, I had the VHS with a dedication wishing me to be as strong as Asterix during his twelve tasks. It didn't affect my appreciation of the film, but I love it even more because it's forever connected to this childhood memory.
Now, 22 years after, I don't look at "The Twelve Tasks of Asterix" just as THE touching gift from my uncle, but as a tremendous gift from a giant of humor named René Goscinny to a whole generation. The film is the consecration of a talent never equaled ever since, a mix of originality and creativity appealing to both kids and adults, and a level of humor and slapstick responsible of unforgettable laugh-out-loud moments. If I could only pick one sequence to illustrate the film's brilliance, I guess the 'Place that Sends you Mad' is no contest, the one that elevates the film to the dimension of a timeless classic. For all of the agonizing victims of bureaucracy the 8th task, worthy of the most Kafkaian nightmares has an extraordinary cathartic effect for all those who had to obtain a Permit A38. On Youtube, it's the most commented part of the film.
Need I to mention the plot? The title is only misleading because it overlooks Obélix' role in many tasks, but both are selected for their intelligence and strength making them the only ones capable to accomplish the twelve tasks given by Julius Caesar. The purpose is to determine whether Gauls are Gods which would explain why the small village always beat up Caesar's powerful army. Apparently, Romans seem to have forgotten the Magic Potion but who cares when it is the pretext to a series of twelve hilarious sequences involving physical and intellectual challenges, with adversaries from every place in the world: Greece, Egypt, Beligum, including a monstrous creature named the Beast, and ghosts from the Dead plain, although the unhelpful public servants of the 'Place that Sends you Mad' are the scariest of all.
The merit of the plot is to never be short of original ideas, while it starts with sports, the tasks take a new turn where the two Gauls must cross a lake near the island of Pleasure, where voluptuous big-lipped long-legged sirens tempted the two Gauls for a frenzied samba, and when the game looked over, the ensuing dialogs between Obelix and the Great Priestess worked on an anachronistic level. While the first two Asterix films were adapted from written material, "The Twelve Tasks" is the only original creation from Goscinny, as if he sensed there was a great inspiration for gags from new ideas, especially if the film is meant for the big screen. This is why he created with Uderzo, their own company, Studio Idefix whose logo Is a cute parody of the MGM lion. They produced "The Twelve Tasks" and "The Ballad of the Daltons" one year later, an original adventure of Goscinny's other great creation Lucky Luke.
It's interesting that the two films follow the same pattern, Asterix must accomplish twelve tasks, the Daltons must kill eight juror who sentenced their uncle, it's the same episodic structure that allows to create micro-universes and different inspiration for gags. Sadly, Goscinny passed away in 1977, a few months before the completion of "The Ballad of the Dalton" and before he could enjoy the beautiful tribute to Hollywood's musical. "The Twelve Tasks of Asterix" marks the end of the first period that includes "Asterix the Gaul" and "Cleopatra", before his all-time friend Pierre Tchernia would take the torch in the 80's, the Gaumont period. It's our luck that Goscinny let his creativity implode on his last years, creating one of the funniest French animated films ever, that never lost their cultural significance.
You'll enjoy the Warner Bros-like race with the Greek marathon runner, a javelin discovering America before time, a small German fighter dressed in kimono, Preasure Island priestesses with sexy samba moves but narrow-minded views on marriage, a hypnotic Egyptian, a scary journey in a dark cave hiding the strangest stuff, a dangerous mountain climbing, a riddle, a hilarious climax in the Circus Maximus, but the Place that Sends you Mad, is the highlight of the film. Now, what can I say about the ending? Maybe you'll find a bit preposterous, unbelievable, ridiculous, but the way they tackle their own criticism reaches infinitesimal summits of hilarity. And as Asterix told Obelix: "it's a cartoon, so no holds barred".
And Obélix' reaction is the greatest demonstration of why animation can sometimes surpass movies, as the ultimate escapism, the common link between kids and adults, it's the perfect dream-like universe, were anything can happen for the sake of a gag. Nothing happens in "Twalve Tasks" that doesn't serve a laugh. This is Golden Age material, everything is perfect from the story, to the dubbing, the drawing and the score by Vladimir Cosma. There is a lot of fourth wall breaking and to also conclude on a childhood episode, the film enriched my knowledge on the Twelve Tasks of Hercules. God, my sentimental weakness while remembering the film and the good old days.
I'm not surprised that in my teenage days, the first comic I wrote was a parody of Hercules' story, who said mythology couldn't be an inspiration for laughs?
This was one of the first films I actually remember watching and I had
already read a few of the comics and loved them. Recently I found my
parents still had the video and watched it again. And I still loved it.
Brief summary, after yet another defeat by the indomitable Gauls,
Caeser decides that the only reason for this is that the Gauls are Gods
and sets out twelve tasks to prove this. Asterix and Obelix are
selected to perform the tasks with hilarious consequences.
Although a non original story unlike the other Asterix films this film brilliantly captures the charm and the humour of the comics. With jokes about the ancient world and the modern day (the take on bureaucracy is side splitting), coming up with a few modern inventions on the way and a musical number thrown into the middle you won't keep a straight face throughout.
Admittedly compared to recent animation this film doesn't look or sound as good as it might but it was made on a low budget 30 years ago. It's still funny and the visual gags still work. Plus you can use it to teach kids the twelve tasks of Hercules.
Once again, in the year 50 BC, the Romans are having the holy hell beat
out of them by a small village of defiant Gauls, who have inhuman
powers, thanks to a magic potion. Rather common, as we all know. Hence
the rumor spreads among the fearful Romans, that those Gauls could
potentially be gods (unlike in the comics, the Romans here aren't aware
of the magic potion). Bad news for Emperor Julius Caesar, who offers
chieftain Vitalstatistix a deal: the chief's most capable men
(obviously Asterix and Obelix) must complete twelve tasks. If they
fail, the village must give up their defiance. If they win however,
Caesar will accept their divinity and relinquish his crown or rather
his laurel wreath. Hence, our heroes must run faster than Greek
marathon-runner Asbestos, beat Verses (the Persian) at javelin, beat
Cilindric (the German) at a fistfight, cross a lake that is the home of
sirens, survive the hypnotic gaze of Iris (the Egyptian), eat an
enormous meal at Calorofix' (the Belgian) tavern, make it alive through
the "cave of the beast", retrieve Permit A38 in "The Place that sends
you mad", cross a ravine filled with hungry crocodiles via an invisible
tightrope, answer the question of an old man on the mountain, spend a
night on the haunted "plain of the dead" and finally survive a fight in
the Colosseum in Rome.
Let me start off by saying, in Germany the "Asterix"-comics always had something of a family-tradition. Many a dad bring brought home the newest "Asterix" to their kids and for many kids including myself that was pretty much like somebody else's Dad taking his kid to a baseball-game. Actually, there were usually two copies purchased: One to be read and kept in mint-condition, the other one to take to the local grilled chicken shop and read will eating, pretending the grilled bird was grilled boar. (Don't laugh: In Germany it was not uncommon to see people sitting in the "Hendl-Shop", a German version of KFC, chowing away while reading "Asterix" and it wasn't even considered bad manners).
Having dropped that nostalgic tit-bit, I'm not the first to point out that "The Twelve Tasks of Asterix" is considered by many fans the best of all the many cartoon-adaptation. For one, it's not an adaptation, but rather a story completely unrelated to the series. The first two movies, "Asterix the Gaul" and "Asterix and Cleopatra" kept close to the comic, but missed the satire and cultural references that made the comics appealing not only to kids but to adults as well. What came later was clearly produced entirely for kids.
"The Twelve Tasks of Asterix" on the other hand could be enjoyed by both young and old, in fact, seemed to have been geared more at an adult-audience. The scene with the nymphs was rather raunchy for "Asterix"-standards, the task in the Madhouse (a pun on modern bureaucracy) probably wouldn't even make sense to younger kids, while the task with the ghost-legion was rather spooky. The animation remains the most pedestrian of all Asterix-films, but it's the seemingly careless painted backgrounds that give the film its charm and (thanks to the xerographic process) almost psychedelic feel, that at times remind of Ralph Bakshi cartoons like "Heavy Traffic", "Wizards" or many other 'artsy' 70's cartoons.
Producers often don't seem to understand that cartoons and comics are two different medias, which have only one thing in common: they're both painted. That doesn't make them compatible or easily translatable, however. Most of the 'twelve tasks' (perhaps with the exception of Obelix versus the Belgian cook; in German called Mannekinfix) wouldn't work well on paper, nor would they fit into the Asterix (comic)-formula. This is probably the reason why "The Twelve Tasks of Asterix" work, while most other Asterix-cartoons fail at capturing the magic of the comics, or at best appear like a pale adaptation.
The third Asterix cartoon (there would be five more, including numerous live-action films and a computer-animated cartoon) would remain the last for almost ten years. After that, the cartoons took on another formula, which usually spliced the stories from various comics together and, as said, were mainly targeting a minor audience. Whether that was because "The Twelve Tasks" was a box-office bomb or not, I cannot tell but like many other hardcore Asterix-fans I felt sorry that future films would take the direction they did, and that "Twelve Tasks" would remain a unique experience. And this uniqueness made it the ultimate Asterix-cartoon and possibly the dearest to the hearts of most lifelong fans.
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