This year has been something of a mixed bag for myself as someone who watches films. I’ve seen films that have brought me to tears through their emotional potency. There are however multiple films, films that are growing in number, that utterly disappoint me. My list has so far included: Aladdin, Spider-Man: Far From Home, X-Men: Dark Phoenix and most recently Hobbs & Shaw. Now today a new film has entered my list to possibly cement itself as the worst film of 2019. This film is Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion and I did not care for it.
Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion follows the continuing adventures of Asterix, Obelix and their little village. This time around they’re off on an adventure to find the successor to village druid Getafix. The reason being he’s worried he’s getting on in years after a disastrous fall from a tree trying to get an ingredient for the magic potion that imbues Asterix and his village with superhuman strength.
Along the way they will encounter the nefarious Demonix, an exiled druid vying for the secret of the magic potion. He hopes to make profit off the potion and will sell it to the highest bidder (obviously the Romans) or he hopes to prove he’s the greatest druid of all, or he’s just vengeful against the druids for kicking him out for practicing dark magic. It’s not quite clear which motivation the director is going for as Demonix flips between them from scene to scene. It’s a shame because when he’s first introduced he’s interesting but that evaporates as quickly as he conjures his go-to spell, a small fireball. It’s cool for one moment and then just like that it’s gone.
The magic is missing
I’ve said this several times over the past 8 months and I can’t believe I’m saying it again, I have seen the worst film of the year. This time its title is Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion. I could not believe how unimpressive this film was.
The first element that struck me was the terrible dubbing. The English voice cast of Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion gives nothing performance-wise. It didn’t help that you can easily see when the mouths don’t connect with what the characters are saying. I have to assume the team behind the English dub of the film hoped that because the majority of the cast have beards and mustaches audiences wouldn’t notice sadly I did notice and I couldn’t get away from it when I saw it. If the film was in its native French language this could have given the characters more conviction and depth.
The second element that stops this magic potion from being in any way special was the utter predictability of its narrative. From the moment Asterix, Obelix, and Getafix set off on their adventure you know where it will end up. A young member of the village joins them on their adventure, Pectine. She’s smart, helps our heroes on their adventure and is in my opinion invaluable. So when you see Getafix go through all the hopeless candidates and see her there helping him out you know where the film will end. There is a brief moment where the film runs the risk of not doing this and thank god it didn’t because if it didn’t go down this predictable route I’d be giving it an even lower score.
If there is anything positive to take from Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion it would be the animation. It looks solid. There is a particular moment in the final act involving Demonix and pyromancy that is gorgeous. Honestly, I was impressed by the style of the film. It evoked memories of when I was a child reading Asterix & Obelix books in my local library. That, unfortunately, is all I could enjoy in the film. None of the comedy lands, the characters are paper-thin and worst of all I just couldn’t find anything of substance within the story.
All and all Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion is a complete waste of time. Stay tuned to Scannain for more reviews and news and hopefully I’ll have something more positive for you.