Guillaume Canet’s 2023 adventure comedy Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom is a movie that feels like a breath of fresh air amidst all the tension, drama, and sadness that the film industry has been releasing of late. Based on the world-famous Asterix comics by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, the latest live-action movie stars some of the biggest names in French cinema, including Guillaume Canet, who plays Asterix; Vincent Cassel as Julius Caesar; and Marion Cotillard as Queen Cleopatra, among others. With an exciting adventure and an entertaining group of people, our heroes Asterix and Obelix go through a series of emotions on this journey as they try to save the day. Read on to learn more about this wholesome and light-hearted movie that’ll surely keep you entertained.
It’s been a while since we, the audience, got to see a proper comedy movie that doesn’t have any lofty ideals. It knows what it brings to the table and works with it to entertain the audience while also making them laugh heartily. The fourth live-action adaptation of an Asterix comic, titled The Middle Kingdom, begins with Asterix wanting his best friend Obelix to cut down on the wild boar meat and start focusing on veggies. The hubbub of their barricaded village of Armorica, fanned by the off-key notes of Cacophonix and the constant battles between Fulliautomatix and Unhygienix, is interrupted when foreign guests arrive at their home. The swindling Phoenician trader, Bankruptis, has brought in a carriage, and from inside steps out a stunning beauty named Sa See, the daughter of Tat Han, the Empress of China, instantly making Asterix’s helmet wings flutter. Joining Sa See is her imperial bodyguard, Ka Ra Tay, a trained martial artist, and the women seek assistance from village chief Vitalstatistix to help the princess reunite with her mother.
Far away in China, the land where the sun rises, according to the decrepit druid Getafix, Tat Han was surmounted by an upstart prince named Deng Tsin Qin, who had captured the empress and Bankruptis’s uncle. Only Sa See was able to escape with her bodyguard and Bankruptis. Qin plans to execute the empress and force Sa See to marry him, but his army is laughably minuscule. Thus, the best solution is to ask for help from Julius Caesar (Vincent Cassel), who’s busy with marital woes with his ravishing wife, Queen Cleopatra (Marion Cotillard). Having his ego stoked by his biographer, Biopix, and with Qin’s strategist, Ri Qi Qi, questioning Caesar’s bravado, Caesar agrees to take his 80,000-strong army to help destroy Qin’s enemies and establish the usurper as the Emperor of China. Meanwhile, in a hanging fortress on a mountain in Xuan, Tat Han and Bankruptis’s uncle are held hostage, and they get to keep their heads until Caesar’s forces arrive.
The heroes set out on a journey, with Obelix carrying the transport using his superhuman strength to unite Sa See with her mother, while Asterix can’t shake the feeling of being inadequate without the magic potion. Oh, and he’s locked in a battle with Bankruptis, too, as to who gets to win the princess’s heart while the princess quietly weeps for her captive mother. The heroes travel to a harbor, later to be known as the Suez Canal, and charter a ship, and Obelix watches Ka Ra Tay demolish the pirate crew and instantly starts feeling something in his heart. After traveling through the Sahara Desert and braving all odds, they reach China, where Sa See has a huge price on her head. She can no longer tolerate the entente of the Chinese and Romans announcing her mother’s execution, and comes out of their hiding place. A fight breaks out between the enemies and the heroes, and later on, at an acupuncture clinic, the two best friends reveal their frustrations with each other. On the other side of things, Caesar’s top guy, Antivirus (football phenomenon Zlatan Ibrahimovic), dominates the Chinese rivals of Qin as they advance towards the final rival, Koo Ku. Apparently, because of a hideous deformity, Koo Ku wears a bamboo mask, and it’s something rather grotesque.
The heroes finally reach the hanging fortress of Xuan, and Ka Ra Tay rescues the empress while Bankruptis’s uncle chooses to stay behind. The empress takes the bodyguard away to raise her forces, while Sa See, Bankruptis, Asterix, and Obelix head to Koo Ku’s palace. When the prince finally comes before them and takes his bamboo mask off, the deformity is revealed—he has luscious, rippling blond hair, making Sa See instantly fall in love with him. However, there’s no time to rejoice; the enemy is at the gates; Caesar has arrived with his 80,000-strong army.
Is Sa See Reunited With Her Mother?
A huge battle ensues, and the magic potion works wonders for a while, helping the heroes flatten the opposition, but soon, the might of the Roman army proves too extreme, and the princess, Koo Ku, Asterix, and Obelix are pushed inside a circle, surrounded by spears. When all hope seems lost, empress Tat Han arrives with an army of 1 million people, outnumbering Caesar completely. As the Chinese empire returns to the rightful ruler, Tat Han, Caesar returns to Rome, tearful that his dear wife Cleopatra has left him. Sa See and Koo Ku fall in love with each other, while the empress takes a fancy to Bankruptis’s uncle. The feast at the village, in the end, is one of celebration, and Asterix and Obelix overcome their arguments and realize nothing can come between their friendship, including Panacea, who throws herself before Obelix, seeing how smitten he is with Ka Ra Tay. Obelix’s love has to leave for China, and he goes back to enjoying beer and boar with his best friend Asterix, while inside a bar in modern-day Suez Canal, Caesar is reunited with Cleopatra. Ri Qi Qi and Deng Tsin Qin, though, are spotted scrubbing the floors in Caesar’s palace, awaiting his arrival and their subsequent punishment.
All’s well that ends well is the message every Asterix comic aims for, and the same happens here. In the end, Sa See returns to China as the princess of the rightful ruler of the empire, Tat Han, and the fiancé of prince Koo Ku. The Gauls and Chinese form a beautiful alliance of friendship, while Asterix and Obelix choose to drown their fights with beer. This is definitely a wholesome family movie with enough comedy to keep you entertained throughout. Watch it today and relive the childhood nostalgia that Asterix used to evoke in all of us.