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Recap / Asterix Conquers Rome

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The comic book adaptation of The Twelve Tasks of Asterix.

The constant defeats of the Roman Legions against the indomitable Gaulish village has got people in Rome suspecting that the Gauls are actually Gods. Doubting this himself, Caesar heads to the village and offers them a challenge: He will give them twelve tasks which they must complete to prove their divinity. If they succeed, Rome will surrender to them. If they fail even a single task, the village must surrender to Rome. After some discussion, Vitalstatistix chooses Asterix and Obelix to be the village's representatives in the twelve challenges:

  1. Run faster than Asbestos, champion of the Olympic Games.
  2. Throw a javelin farther than Verses, the Persian.
  3. Beat Cylindric, the German.
  4. Cross a lake, resisting the temptations of the Isle of Pleasure on the way.
  5. Survive the hypnotic gaze of Iris, the Egyptian.
  6. Finish a meal by Calorofix, the Belgian.
  7. Survive the Cave of the Beast.
  8. Find Permit A 38 in "The Place That Sends You Mad"
  9. Cross a ravine on an invisible tightrope, over a river full of crocodiles.
  10. Climb a mountain and answer the Old Man's riddle.
  11. Spend a night on the haunted plains.
  12. Survive the Circus Maximus.
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Asterix and Obelix complete each of the first eleven challenges, then join the rest of the villagers to complete the last. In the end, Caesar is forced to admit defeat, surrendering his laurel wreath to Vitalstatistix.

As the village celebrates its great victory, Obelix asks Asterix if they're really the rulers of Rome. Asterix replies "This is just a cartoon film, and anything goes."


Tropes

  • Alternate History: While the comic series as a whole dabbles in this, this movie in particular has history taking a truly different course, as Asterix, indeed, conquers Rome. In particular, things end up a whole lot different (and better) for Caesar, who, rather than being murdered, gets to enjoy a happy, quiet retirement in the country with Cleopatra. The ending is non-canon in both history and comic book continuity.
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  • Animated Adaptation: Reversed. The film version of this book, The Twelve Tasks of Asterix, came out first, and the comic was released three years later.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Apparently, Obelix is responsible for the Venus De Milo losing her arms. Elswehere, he has also been spotted breaking the Sphinx' nose and partially demolishing the Colosseum (more than a century before it was even built). At least in this particular case, he cannot be held fully accountable for the destruction he causes, as The Place That Gets You Mad was beginning to get to him. What was Venus doing there in the first place, anyway?
  • Berserk Button: Zig-Zagged with Obelix and him being called "fat". When Cilindric does it, Obelix immediately flies into a murderous rage (allowing Cylindric to beat him with ease). When Fulliautomatix does it later on in the movie, Obelix simply acts like a child who is called names. Perhaps it isn't so bad when a fellow villager does it?
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Asterix gets a moment of this near the end, angrily scaring away a legion of undead Romans who keep him out of his sleep. It is telling that Obelix, who was getting quite frightened of the ghosts until that point, promptly asks Asterix to calm down and not be angry at the ghosts.
    • Completely averted with Obelix, who is easily defeated by Cylindric after having been provoked into a violent rage.
  • Beyond the Impossible:
    • This is the point of the 12 challenges. For a mortal, they would be impossible, but for a god? Cake.
    • Asterix and Obelix display this trope in their feats. Obelix sends his javelin into orbit. Asterix slacks off to pick some flowers, and can still keep up with a marathon runner that can break the sound barrier.
  • Big Eater: The sixth task takes Obelix's appetite to hilariously absurd levels. He is served a boar with fries, a flock of geese, several sheep, an omelette made with eight dozen eggs, a whole school of fish, an ox, a cow and veal ("because to separate ze family...zat would not be right!"), a huge mound of caviar (with a single piece of toast), a camel, ("and before we start on the main course") an elephant stuffed with olives. That was the first of three courses, and not only is he still hungry after eating everything in Calorifix's kitchen, he then goes on to eat the Beast in the next task!
  • Butt-Monkey: There are a fair few, but Vitalstatistix stands out in this movie. He literally becomes a clown in the final act.
  • Canon Discontinuity: While the actual creators of the Asterix comics did create the script and later comic adaptation, this story is not an official part of the series, due to the fact that the ending makes any further Asterix stories impossible.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The Isle of Pleasure from Obelix' point of view. Beautiful and idyllic? Check. Inhabited by sexy priestesses, ready to fulfill your every wish? Check. Wine fountains? Check. An abundance of wild boars to hunt and eat? Ch- wait, none? Let's get out of here!
  • Deadpan Snarker: Caius Tiddlus has his moments. Emphasis on the deadpan.
  • Enthralling Siren: The priestesses of the Isle of Pleasure. They lure unsuspecting men to their island and keep them there for all time. Mind you, they are never shown to be malicious in any way, and staying on the island would be a viable option if it wasn't for a disturbing lack of wild boars.
    • Fridge Horror: Why aren't there any other captive men on the island?
  • Evil Laugh: When Julius Caesar, one of Pop Culture's definitive Noble Demons, decides to show off his demonic side, it is quite a sight to behold. His councilors are left cowering in the corner.
  • Fisher Kingdom:
    • The Place That Sends You Mad is a definite example, as everyone who enters the place comes out as a raving lunatic. Obelix is starting to become affected until Asterix snaps him out of it, and even Asterix's patience is beginning to wear thin.
    • The Isle of Pleasure is a borderline case. Going there makes you not want to leave, but it is unclear whether this is due to some enchantment or just to the general niceness of the place.
  • The Ghost: The Beast is never seen. With copious amounts of Mood Whiplash, the film smash cuts from a frightening scene in the cave just before the Beast shows up, to an idyllic scene in a town with Asterix and Obelix apparently having defeated (and eaten!) it.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Asterix defeats The Place That Sends You Mad by asking them for forms that don't exist and watching the clerks there drive themselves mad trying to figure out what he's talking about.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Iris the Egyptian, who combines this with a Compelling Voice. His shtick is to make his clients - volunteers, apparently - think they're animals. One victim, believing himself to be a bird, actually gains the ability to fly. The Body is the Plaything of the Mind, apparently.
  • Impossible Task
  • Jumped at the Call: The entire village, being made up almost exclusively of Boisterous Bruisers, eagerly accepts Caesar's challenge. Vitalstatistix later wonders if they weren't a bit too enthusiastic.
  • Medium Awareness: Asterix is quite aware of the story's status as a standalone animated feature.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: What Cylindric's brand of martial arts boils down to.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: "The Place That Sends You Mad" is full of them. Any request is responded to by an instruction to fill out a form, which can only be obtained at one specific window (which are randomly scattered around the building in no discernible order), which must then be taken to a different window to get the next form, etc, etc. Truth in Television, as parts of the Roman Empire were hideously bureaucratic.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: In addition to Asterix himself, Cylindric. Slightly subverted as, by his own admission, he isn't all that strong; just immensely skilled at using his opponent's strength against them.
  • Retired Monster: Caesar, at the end.
  • Riddle Me This: Parodied by the Old Man of the Mountain. The riddle is a challenge to tell which pile of laundry had been cleaned with Olympus, the Detergent of the Gods, while blindfolded.
  • The Right Hand of Doom: Played for laughs with Verses the Persian. He has one - just one - ridiculously muscular throwing arm. His other arm is comically thin.
  • Status Quo Is God: Lampshaded by Asterix.
  • The Stoic:
  • Top-Heavy Guy: Verses the javelin thrower.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: It is implied by the scene on the Haunted Plain that ten of the twelve tasks have taken place within one day; Asterix claims they haven't slept since they began. Apparently, they got from their village in the west of Gaul to Rome in that time, fulfilling their tasks along the way. What's more, when they wake up after sleeping on the Haunted Plain, they've somehow reached the outskirts of Rome, which was nowhere in sight when they went to sleep. Obelix lampshades this, claiming that the Romans can build very fast.
  • The Voiceless: Both Asbestos and Verses, the sportsmen encountered in the first two tasks. Well, save for the odd scream from Asbestos when he's about to hit a tree and a similar scream from Verses when Obelix's orbiting javelin starts flying at him.

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