Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion

Movie review by
Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media
Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion Movie Poster Image
Flat animated tale has moments of peril, cartoon violence.
  • PG
  • 2019
  • 87 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

While the movie is intended to entertain rather than educate, audiences may be inspired to learn more about Ancient Rome and Gaul.

Positive Messages

Teamwork and courage are strong themes. As is accepting that we all grow old.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The women in the village are told to stay at home as they are not allowed in the forest. However, they prove their worth when the village is attacked. Pectin shows she is just as capable as any boy. Obelix's size and weight is the subject of some humor, as is a villager who is hard of hearing. The Romans are generally depicted as being dimwitted.

Violence & Scariness

There is cartoon violence throughout including punching, kicking, and eye-gouging. Mass brawls often break out but no serious injury occurs. A character falls from a tree breaking their ankle -- they are subsequently unable to walk unaided. A sword and a sickle are brandished in a threatening manner but are not used. A characters uses magic to put people in a motionless trance. A village is attacked with boulders and arrows and is later set on fire. After a character magically grows into a giant, they have a fight with a robot made up of a large group of shield-carrying centurions -- this results in the former being punched into space. After consuming a magic potion, characters  develop superhuman strength, which they use to defeat their enemies. A ship repeatedly sinks as part of an ongoing joke.

Sexy Stuff
Language

Some name calling, but nothing malicious and no profanity.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink what is presumed to be wine at a party and banquet. The plot revolves around making a magic potion that when consumed gives superhuman strength.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion is a new story based on the French-Belgian comic books, and contains cartoon violence and some moments of peril. The movie is originally in French, although an English dubbed version is widely available. Set in Roman-occupied Gaul in 50 B.C., women are prohibited from going to certain areas or events, but as the movie develops they prove they are just as capable as the men. Getafix (John Innes) -- or Panoramix if you're watching the French version -- breaks his leg after falling from a tree. There are numerous fight scenes -- including punching, kicking, and eye-gouging -- but it's all done in a slapstick fashion and no character gets seriously hurt. Weapons -- swords and sickles -- are brandished in a threatening manner, but they are not used. The Romans attack the Gaul's village with boulders and arrows. Later, the village is set on fire by the evil Demonix (Mike Shepherd) -- Sulfurix in the French version. However, no character comes to any harm. Some jokes revolve around the size of Obelix (C. Ernst Harth) and a villager who is hard of hearing.

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What's the story?

After Getafix (John Innes) falls from a tree in ASTERIX: THE SECRET OF THE MAGIC POTION, the elderly druid decides it's time to share the recipe for his secret magic potion. Along with Asterix (Ken Kramer), Obelix (C. Ernst Harth), and a young girl from the village, Pectin (Fleur Delahunty), the druid sets about finding a worthy successor who he can share the secret ingredients with. But when an old rival returns, the group's mission becomes that much harder.

Is it any good?

This sequel will disappoint long-term Asterix fans and fail to engage new audiences. In choosing to deviate from the original source material of René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo's comic books, Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion starts from a somewhat blank canvas. Unfortunately while it explores new territory -- Getafix (or Panoramix if you're watching the French version) is very much the lead in this movie -- it fails to recapture the magic of the much loved books.

Asterix and Obelix are mere support acts -- Asterix in particular does little more than throw the occasional tantrum -- and while the introduction of Pectin, a young girl fighting for acceptance in a "man's world" has potential, it's never fulfilled. There's the occasional funny scene and some moments of jeopardy that feel appropriate for the target age range. But ultimately the result is a confusing story with plot lines barely holding together.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Getafix's decision to look for a successor in Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion. What prompts him to start his search? What does growing older mean to you? How might our lives change as we grow older?

  • How are women portrayed in the movie? Did you find it problematic -- why/why not?

  • Discuss the cartoon violence. How do we know we can laugh at it instead of worrying about the characters' safety?

  • What examples of teamwork and courage can you give from the movie? Why are these such important character strengths?

  • How did the movie compare to the original comic books?

Movie details

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