Asterix and the Actress (2001)

Asterix et Latraviata

The Birthday Boys play Happy Families...


Presenting a pretentious thematic undercurrent...

The pitfalls of bachelorhood laid bare.

Notable Nomenclature...

Continuity; lack-thereof and other gaffes...

Cleverness and contemporaneity...

Those motherly humiliations in full...

Non-PC World

Not much. A couple of stereotype Egyptians customising the souvenir shop, and that's it.

Obelix has a tender side...

Classic Pegleg...

Ceterarum rerum prurens. If anyone would let me know if that's a quotation, I'd be grateful.

Good or what?

Well it's better than Asterix and Obelix all at Sea.

That, however, could be the very definition of 'not saying much'. It's beautifully drawn - in fact all the comedy is there in the pictures, by which I mean the subtle touches - not horrendous jokes like the 'Asterix bounces, shouts Yippee and is rescued by a Dolphin' sequence.

The narrative suggests that Uderzo's source of ideas has run dry as a mummy's tit. There's no story to speak of - just some inconsequential silliness about a golden sword and helmet - and certainly no satirical clout. Instead it contains forced narrative devices - eg A&O suddenly sharing a birthday - and moreover it is heaving with continuity references. The already large list I have drawn up above is only from two readings of the book. Given time I could probably double that. At best this becomes tedious as one checks off references from a mental list; at worst it leads to glaring gaffes such as the historical inaccuracies concerning Pompey.

I still want to see new Asterix books because I like the artwork, I like the characters and I like the atmosphere. Uderzo, however, is neither storywriter nor wordsmith. I therefore have a question to pose to anyone reading this. This is quite possibly a heresy. Should Uderzo - even in his advanced years - create any future Asterix books in collaboration with someone who knows how to write? Should he find himself a new partner?