After another raid in an empty village, the chief of the Vikings Timandahaf misunderstands the explanation of his druid Cryptograf that "fear gives wings to the dwellers" and believes that fear actually makes the villagers fly. They decide to chase the champion of fear in Gaul to learn how to fly and make them invincible warriors. Meanwhile, the nephew of Vitalstatistix, Justforkix, is sent from Parisium to the Gaulish village to become a man and Asterix and Obelix are assigned to train the youngster. The stupid son of Cryptograf, Olaf, listens to a conversation of the coward Justforkix with Asterix and Obelix and kidnaps him. While returning to the Viking village, Justforkix meets Abba, the daughter of Timandahaf, and they fall in love for each other. But the Machiavellian and ambitious Cryptograf plan to marry his son Olaf with Abba and become powerful. In the end, Asterix realizes that it is not fear that gives wings, it is love.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Influenza (or "Zaza", as her family calls her), from the book "Asterix and Caesar's Gift", makes a non-speaking cameo appearance in this movie. Justforkix dances with her briefly during the party in the village at the start of the movie. See more »
When Asterix is going on Vikings pursuit, in one sequence he already has the magic potion that he will receive few moments later. See more »
[Abba has been told she's going to marry Olaf; the Vikings are dragging her and Justforkix away from each other]
Abba! Don't worry, Abba, I'll take care of this -
[tries to sound important]
As the Champion of F...
[gets hit on the head with a club]
See more »
The rolling credits are accompanied by rock cryptograms on which the Vikings and the Gauls are depicted. See more »
Performed by Billy Crawford
Written by Rick James and Alonzo Miller
1981 Jobete Music Co Inc./Stone Diamonds Music Corp.
With the authorisation of EMI Music Publishing France SA
All worldwide rights reserved
Produced by Mamadou Niakate
Programmed and keyboards played by Mamadou Niakate
Guitars by Christophe Pantano
Recorded at Studio Du Palais
Mixed by Chris Chavenon at Studio Harryson
2005 M6 Interactions See more »
I came. I saw. I still prefer the old ones...
If you're an avid Asterix reader, you'll probably know what most characterizes the Vikings (called 'Normans' in the book): they don't know fear. Don't take it too literally, that doesn't mean they're the bravest, just that they don't know the meaning of fear. Well, that's taking it literally I guess.
They're indeed such fearless people that legal authorities never get the respect they deserve, kids don't fear their mothers' stories, and hiccups are practically incurable diseases. But Olaf, the fearsome chief, heard that fear gave people wings, a secret weapon the Normans ought to get, so they went to a randomly picked Gaul, for what they call an educational trip.
Meanwhile, our Gallic heroes must take care of Justforkix, the chief's nephew too softened by Lutetian lifestyle. The kid is an interesting character, the first preeminent teen in the series, and a cocky city slicker patronizing the Armorican yokels, but revealing his true side when he witnesses a (literally) landing of Normandy on the beach (guessed the reference?) and decides to leave the village, panic-stricken. Confronted by Asterix and Obelix, he touchingly admits he's the champ of fear, at least when he's alone. When the word comes to Olaf, he orders his men to capture the champ so he can be taken away from the ignoramuses' bad influence.
The story's most delightful fun (or funniest delight) is the sight of poor frightened Justforkix surrounded by towering Normans, and then Olaf, the chief, asking him, in all solemnity and seriousness, to scare him. That's writer Goscinny at the top of his game, and to be fair, the movie adaptation "Asterix and the Vikings" played fair with that aspect of the story, and made Justforkix a fun and endearing character. Too bad they had to ruin him with so much anachronistic stuff. I know references to the present time are undeniably part of Asterix fun and it works as long as it's not blatant anachronism. But this is a tricky form of humor that doesn't translate well in the screen.
Take the original "Asterix in Britain", Asterix and Obelix go to Londinium and see many British archetypes such as a big sundial and the giant tower where prisoners are jailed, these are jokes that don't age because the archetypes they refer to, don't. But in the book, they also encounter four successful bards surrounded with hysterically screaming teenage girls, and of course, they look exactly like the Beatles, who were at the pinnacle of their career in the mid-sixties, when the story was written. The joke worked in that context, but when the film was adapted in 1986, the authors wisely skipped this reference. Naturally, the Beatles' gag didn't affect the timeless appeal of the album, but how does a story that feels like a product of its time manages to stand its test.
In "Asterix and the Normans", Justforkix drives a Roman car, talks about Lutetia's catacombs (nightclubs) and plays a music that looks like Rock 'n' Roll, he's obviously representing the then-young baby-boom generation. But within its own anachronism, the joke works because, unlike the Beatles' gag, his music could pass for any version of Rock. In "Asterix and the Vikings", the movie goes fairly well, until all of a sudden, Justforkix engages in a "Get Down on It" routine, and the sight of the Gallic villagers dancing to hip-hop music was a real embarrassment. "Asterix vs. Caesar" in 1985 started with a catchy theme that screamed 80's, but it was just the cover song, in "Vikings", the rest of the film didn't have the Gauls doing the moonwalk
"Asterix and the Vikings" desperately tries to match some marketing requirements, but all it manages to sell is the witty little Gaul's soul. Couldn't they just come up with original songs? Or original lyrics to famous songs? They even have a training montage for Justforkix, with "Eye of the Tiger". I can see some of the executives thinking, that would be fun to have Rocky music but the question is "would a live-action film do the same?" So why not treat your film with similar respect? Why? This is endemic to movies belonging to our era, they really believe some curse changed the minds of younger audience and everything should have a connection to their present.
Justforkix even has a bird named SMS, because he can send short messages, well, the bird was cute, but the day the word SMS won't be used anymore, what use will be left of that gag? The reference to the present must be subtle, take "The Twelve Tasks of Asterix", one of the greatest sequences was the 'Place that sent people mad', a magnificent (and still relevant) satire about bureaucracy that didn't need any references to phones or typewriters. The tragedy of "Asterix and the Vikings" is that it's a great animated movie in the visual sense of the word and it treats most of the original material with overdue respect, they waste a few opportunities for nice jokes but overall, this is a real improvement from the disastrous "Asterix and the Indians".
However, it sins by intelligence-insulting predictability or obviousness. Take Olaf's daughter Abba, an obvious creation in order to appeal to the feminine target. Still, she looked and sounded like an interesting and fully developed character, a conventional rebel, but who was a fine complement to Justforkix' cowardly attitude. Now, did she have to tell the guys "one day, women will be equal to men", "we deserve respect" and so forth. We already know that's what she's supposed to incarnate, girl-power but why telling it in such an on-the-nose manner?
The film was good, but it's for these desperate attempts to be a product of its time that it fails to get a timeless appeal and will probably be forgotten when people will still laugh at "Asterix and Cleopatra" or "The Twelve Tasks".
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