Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion

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* * * 1/2

I grew up on Asterix, and now have the pleasure of introducing my young daughter to his world: of forests and wild boars, druids, villagers, feasts, adventures and Romans. It is a warm world of great wit; the books have always worked simultaneously for kids and adults, because the wordplay is so funny and the satire so astute.

Luckily, Asterix and the Secret Of The Magic Potion, an animated feature with an original story, honours the spirit of the books with grace and integrity. It also nods to girl power, which, of course, was good news for me and my little one. Getafix the druid, having had a near-death experience, decides to share the secret of the magic potion to a young druid-in-training, and takes Asterix and Obelix along for protection; a young girl with a passion for science stows away with them, and is treated with respect by the gang (and the filmmakers), ultimately overcoming a traditional gender bias or deux.

I’ve now seen the film in French and English; the version being shown in Australia, dubbed into English by a crack squad of Canadian voice artists, is faithful and funny. Far less formulaic and far wittier than your average American animated feature, this is truly fun for old and young.