Asterix & Obelix Take On Caesar (French: AstÃ©rix & ObÃ©lix contre CÃ©sar, Asterix & Obelix vs. Caesar in some regions) is a 1999 feature film directed by Claude Zidi, the first of what went on to become a series of live-action films based on Goscinny and Uderzo's AstÃ©rix comics. The film combines plots of several AstÃ©rix stories, mostly Asterix the Gaul (Getafix's abduction), Asterix and the Soothsayer, Asterix and the Goths (the Druid conference), Asterix the Legionary (Obelix becoming smitten with Panacea) and Asterix the Gladiator (the characters fighting in the circus) but jokes and references from many other albums abound, including a humorous exchange between Caesar and Brutus taken from Asterix and Cleopatra, and the villain Lucius Detritus is based on Tullius Detritus, the main antagonist of Asterix and the Roman Agent (known as Tortuous Convolvulus in the English translation of the comic).
At the time of its release, the film was the most expensive production in French cinema of all time, making it the most expensive production in France for the twentieth century. It was surpassed by the sequel, Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, in 2002.
Julius Caesar is celebrating his victory over all of Gaul, but Lucius Detritus has kept from him that one village has managed to resist them. Detritus travels to the garrison near the village where Caius Bonus (Crismus Bonus), the garrison's commanding Centurion, explains that the Gauls have a magic potion, which makes them invincible. Detritus decides to capture the potion for himself, and hearing that the clever Asterix and permanently invincible Obelix are the backbone of the Gaulish forces, attempts and fails to eliminate them.
A false soothsayer arrives at the village and predicts the arrival of Romans and treasure; despite Asterix's protests, the village believe him, wherefore when a Roman tax collector arrives, they drive off his forces and take the gold. The "soothsayer" later drugs and hypnotises Asterix to create a diversion while he recaptures the tax money; but news of the theft reaches Caesar, who comes to the garrison himself, demanding the legion attack. Upon witnessing the defeat of his army, he demands Detritus subdue the village or be fed to the lions.
Detritus disguises himself and some men as Druids and kidnaps Panoramix (Getafix) at a Druid conference. Asterix disguises Obelix as a legionary, and they enter the garrison to rescue the Druid, but are separated. Asterix joins Getafix in the dungeon, where the pair resist Detritus' demands to make the magic potion, until he tortures Idefix (Dogmatix). Detritus uses the potion to throw Caesar into a cell (locked in an iron mask), and takes command with an oblivious Obelix as his bodyguard. Obelix later helps Asterix, Getafix, Dogmatix, and Caesar escape.
Caesar co-operates with the Gauls to defeat Detritus, who mounts an attack on the villagers using his own magic potion. To defeat him, Panoramix brews a special version of the potion which creates dozens of duplicates of Asterix and Obelix. Caesar is returned to power, and grants the village its freedom.
Differences from the books
- It is revealed early in the film that the magic potion used by the Gauls only lasts for ten minutes. Such a short time limit is not implied in the original books, wherein the potion's effects can last for several hours, such as disguised legionary Caligula Minus holding a rock up for several hours in Asterix the Gaul or crooked adviser Codfix retaining superhuman strength until well into the daytime after drinking a ladelful of potion at night in Asterix and the Great Divide.
- In the book Asterix and the Roman Agent, a character named Detritus (in the original French version) was an agent of Caesar who was a master of manipulating people. In the movie Detritus appears to be more based on Crismus Bonus from Asterix the Gaul or Felonius Caucus from the book Asterix and the Big Fight.
- Getafix's grandfather, who appears in the movie not mentioned in any of the books.
- In the books, Obelix's affection for Panacea was mostly comedic. In the movie, the romance is played for dramatic effect and is taken much more seriously.
- Dogmatix appears to be Asterix's dog in the movie, not Obelix's.
- Christian Clavier (English: Olaf Wijnants): AstÃ©rix
- GÃ©rard Depardieu (English: Terry Jones): ObÃ©lix
- Roberto Benigni (English: Johnnie Lyne-Pirkis): Lucius Detritus (Tortuous Convolvulus / Tullius Destructivus)
- Michel Galabru (English: Douglas Blackwell)Â : Abraracourcix (named "Vitalstatistix" in English)
- Claude PiÃ©plu (English: John Baddeley): Panoramix (Getafix)
- Daniel PrÃ©vost (English: Harry Barrowclough)Â : Prolix
- Pierre PalmadeÂ : Assurancetourix (Cacofonix)
- Laetitia CastaÂ : Falbala (Panacea)
- Arielle DombasleÂ : Mme Agecanonix (Mrs Geriatrix)
- SimÂ : Agecanonix (Geriatrix)
- Marianne SÃ¤gebrechtÂ : Bonnemine (Impedimenta)
- Gottfried John (English: Peter Marinker)Â : Jules CÃ©sar / Julius Caesar
- Jean-Pierre Castaldi (English: Rodney Beddal)Â : Caius Bonus
- Jean-Roger MiloÂ : Cetautomatix (Fulliautomatix)
- Jean-Jacques DevauxÂ : Ordralfabetix (Unhygenix)
Soundtrack by Jean-Jacques Goldman and Roland Romanelli
- "Elle ne me voit pas" - 4:26
- "Lei non vede me" - 4:26
- "Asterix et Obelix contre CÃ©sar" - 2:20
- "L'Embuscade" - 2:07
- "L'Amour" - 3:52
- "Le Cirque Encore" - 5:15
- "La Serpe D'or" - 4:07
- "Falbala" - 1:48
- "Le Devin" - 2:43
- "L'Amour Toujours" - 3:45
- "Les Hallucinations D'AstÃ©rix" - 2:56
- "La Potion Magique" - 3:14
- "BÃ©lenos" - 7:18
- "ObÃ©lix" - 3:44
- Golden Screen (1999)
- Bogey Award in Silver (1999)
- Bavarian Film Award (2000)
- Asterix & Obelix Take On Caesar at the Internet Movie Database
- Asterix & Obelix Take On Caesar at Box Office Mojo