Asterix-Asterix vs Caesar (Astérix et la Surprise de César) (Shock) (1985)

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Released 8-Aug-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio
Biographies-Character
Notes-blurbs for all the Asterix movies
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 73:38 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Paul Brizzi
Gaeton Brizzi
Studio
Distributor

Shock Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case C-Button-Version 2
RPI ? Music Vladimir Cosma


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Asterix is the hero of a series of comic books (I'm sorry, but I can't bring myself to call them "graphic novels") which have been published for many decades. The original stories and drawings come from France, but the translations are superb - they would not be the success they are if it were not for brilliant translation. The translators manage to come up with puns which are, I have been assured, at least as awful as the original French. Asterix and his best friend Obelix have the same names in all translations, I believe, but all the other characters (except for Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and other historical figures) have different names in each translation - this is because their names are puns; I'll come back to this later (in the review of Asterix and the Big Fight).

    I have collected the Asterix comic books for many years, but I was unaware that movies had been made. So it was with high expectations that I came to review these DVDs. Four movies are released in the first batch: Asterix vs Caesar, Asterix in Britain, Asterix and the Big Fight, and Asterix Conquers America. Others are to follow. To keep things consistent, each review will start with the same information - feel free to skip the first three paragraphs when you're reading the other reviews.

    These stories are set in the days of Julius Caesar, when all of Gaul (France) was ruled by the Romans. Well, almost all of Gaul - one village holds out against Rome because its inhabitants are supplied with magic potion by their druid; the magic potion gives them superhuman strength, and they use that strength to beat the stuffing out of the Romans on a regular basis. The lead warrior in the village is Asterix. His best friend is Obelix (a menhir delivery man); Obelix's dog is Dogmatix. The druid is Getafix. The chief of the village is Vitalstatistix. The village elder is Geriatrix. The blacksmith is Fulliautomatix. The bard (who can't sing) is Cacofonix. The fish seller (who gets his fish fresh from Paris by oxcart) is Unhygienix. I think you begin to get the idea...

    On to this particular story: Asterix vs Caesar. This one is loosely based on the book Asterix the Legionary, which is one of the earlier ones. Obelix falls in love with Panacea, who is Vitalstatix's niece. Panacea is engaged to be married to Tragicomix. In the book Tragicomix is forced to join the Roman Legion. In this movie, both Tragicomix and Panacea are kidnapped, and sent to Africa with the Roman Legion. Close enough. Asterix and Obelix end up joining the Legion to rescue Tragicomix. Their training is amusing, and then they get sent to Africa. That's where the book and movie really part company. Through a sequence of events, they end up back in Rome, fighting as gladiators in the Colosseum, part of which is destroyed by Obelix (ever wondered how that happened?) - that bit is not exactly a grab from Asterix the Gladiator, but close enough.

    I have a couple of complaints about this movie. For a start, all the signs we see are in French - I guess the translators of the movie couldn't be bothered to fix the signs. Second, the back cover calls the female who is kidnapped Falbala throughout the blurb, but her name is Panacea.

    Even so, this is quite fun, and something that can be enjoyed by children and adults. 

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. This is narrower than the original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 - some of the credits are cropped, so I suspect that this is a pan-and-scan effort, but most of the film looks OK this way.

    The image is reasonably sharp. Backgrounds are fairly soft, but that is part of this style of animation - it matches the books rather well. There's no visible low level noise.

    Colour is vivid and well-saturated. No trace of colour bleed to be seen, not even on Asterix's red trousers.

    There are plenty of (mostly minor) film artefacts, with the worst two being a big white splodge at 55:11, and a black blob at 56:20. There are traces of aliasing, but no other video artefacts. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are no subtitles.

    The disc is single-sided and single-layered - no layer change, which keeps things simple.



Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is a single soundtrack on this disc - an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack without surround encoding. I think it is actually mono, because I heard nothing that sounded stereo.

    Dialogue is mostly clear, but a few words here and there are obscured.

    The score is adequate, but nothing special. It is amusing that the song over the closing credits is sung by Plastic Bertrand - the original one-hit wonder - I had wondered what he did after vanishing from view.

    The surrounds and subwoofer are not used by this soundtrack.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras on most of the Asterix DVDs are the same.

Menu

    The main menu is static, with music.

Characters

    There are profiles for six of the characters: Asterix, Obelix, Vitalstatistix, Getafix, Cacofonix, and Dogmatix.

Other Titles

    Although this is headed Other Titles, it is a list of all the titles, including this one. There is a two page summary of each title attached to the picture.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie does not appear to be available in Region 1 at all. It is available on DVD in Germany, but my knowledge of German being negligible, I am unable to tell if they get a better transfer than we do - heck, I can't even tell if theirs is widescreen or pan and scan. The only soundtrack on theirs appears to be German, so you'll need to speak German if you want that version.

Summary

    Asterix vs Caesar is an entertaining animated movie.

    The video quality is quite reasonable.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are basic.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Wednesday, October 10, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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