Asterix and Obelix might be the only names that can rival Tintin in popularity in terms of fictional characters from a non English speaking background. I knew them when I was a child, the generation before me knew them, and now their latest film is being released, in the form of Asterix and Obelix: Mansion of the Gods. Well, I say their latest film, but it was actually made and released in it’s native France in 2014, and has seen a slow roll out across Europe and the rest of the world over the past two years. So, in a year with Finding Dory, The BFG, The Secret Life of Pets, Zootopia and with Moana yet to come, is there any way Asterix and Obelix can compete?

The Roman empire has succeeded in everything they’ve set out to achieve, with one tiny exception. A small village of Gauls has resisted them and their advances, but now they have a new plan – to build everywhere around this village, until the inhabitants can’t live there anymore. Obviously this doesn’t sit too well with the locals, and as you might expect, things don’t go smoothly, for either side.

Asterix and Obelix: Mansion of the Gods Review

In terms of animation, this film doesn’t come close to the bigger releases of the modern age. While it doesn’t help that the version I watched was dubbed into English, the character models don’t move quite as smoothly as your eye would like. Still, it’s never so bad that it feels distracting, or like it should’ve gone straight to home entertainment.

The voice acting is all good enough, with the film boasting a cast of English actors that most people will recognise, but it’s actually the plot where this film excels. Whilst remaining completely child friendly at all times, there are some adult themes that might go a little bit over the heads of some younger viewers. Topics like racism and class division are touched on, and while they aren’t explored deeply, they were a welcome surprise.

Asterix and Obelix: Mansion of the Gods Review

This film also features a surprisingly good score, which accompanies both the funnier scenes, and the more action heavy scenes well. There are a few things about this film that don’t work. There are some characters that feel a little bit racist in their depiction, and a lot of the humour does rely on cheap, easy jokes, but considering this film has existed for two years and I’ve never heard of it, I was expecting a lot worse.