A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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?
How did the movie compare to the original comic books?
- In theaters: June 28, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: February 3, 2020
- Cast: John Innes, Ken Kramer, C. Ernst Harth
- Directors: Alexandre Astier, Louis Clichy
- Studio: Altitude Films
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Book Characters, History
- Run time: 87 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: April 13, 2020
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