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Western Animation / The Twelve Tasks of Asterix

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So imagine this: Julius Caesar conquers all of Gaul, with the exception of one tiny village, whose people just so happen to have a magic potion that can make them invincible. Due to this, the Roman soldiers start to wonder whether the village's inhabitants might actually be gods. So Caesar — who considers the whole idea idiotic — challenges the Gauls: If they — like Hercules — can carry out twelve tasks he invented (the original twelve labours are outdated), Rome will surrender and the Gauls will rule it as the new supreme masters. The chief picks his best men Asterix and Obelix and sends them off for an exciting adventure dealing with old hermits and sirens, facing beasts and ghosts and even... retrieving bureaucratic writs.

Released in 1976, Les Douze Travaux d'Astérix (The Twelve Tasks of Asterix) is the first Asterix movie (animated or live-action) that is based on an original screenplay rather than drawing its story from any of the comic books. It benefited from being directed and written by the series' creators themselves, René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, along with their friend Pierre Tchernia for the script. The story was also adapted into a written book with illustrations.

While the story starts like any other Asterix adventure, it quickly shifts into much more surrealist, fantastic and at points downright trippy territory, leading to an ending so bizarre you have to see it to believe it. However the original series' trademark humor (pun-filled historical satire mixed with some well-placed jabs at contemporary issues) is still present for the entire flick. It was generally praised by critics and fans of the series alike.

See also The Ballad of the Daltons, also created by Goscinny and made by the same short-lived studio, Studios Idéfix.

The Twelve Tasks of Asterix provides examples of:

  • 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, of course.
  • Anachronism Stew: In line with the comic books.
    • Cylindric the German is apparently a master of judo or jujutsu and claims that he had learned his fighting technique in his journey far, far away. However, martial arts were created in the 16th and 19th centuries respectively, and the action of both comic books and movies invariably takes place in 50 BC. On top of that, Cylindric is wearing a modern keikogi.
    • Everything about Iris the Egyptian hypnotist — his mannerisms, the look of his office (complete with waiting room), the way he admits his "clients", et cetera — just screams a contemporary psychiatrist.
    • Obelix is served a boar with fries, with the cook noting they're his own invention though he doesn't have a name for them yet (potatoes came from the Americas).
    • A metro station appears briefly in the cave of the Beast. The Alésia station, to be precise. (The location of Alesia, or rather certain characters' lack of knowledge of it, being a Running Gag in the comics.)
    • One of the victims of The Place That Sends You Mad suffers from a Napoleon Delusion, others seem to be pretending to be a steam train.
    • The old hermit atop the mountain who starts talking as if he was in a washing powder commercial. And while we're there, washing powder itself.
    • Amidst the circus games (or rather, amidst the Curb-Stomp Battle the hapless gladiators are receiving from the magic potion-empowered Gauls), a Gaulish kid is making a sand castle, with an architecture not to be seen at least until the 13th century. And later, when animals are unleashed, the Gauls turn the whole thing into modern circus.
  • Animation Bump: The eight-year gap since Asterix and Cleopatra was put to good use, as the animation was significantly improved. Notably, the dance sequence on the Island of Pleasure uses some rotoscoped scenes. They are integrated well enough, though, and the extra bit of smoothness works well in the context of the scene.
  • Art Shift:
    • When Caesar tells the story of Hercules' Labors, the deeds are presented in the style of Greek black-figure pottery.
    • The monsters/ghosts Asterix and Obelix encounter in the cave of the Beast are all drawn and animated in a much more artistic and surrealist style (not unlike the animated passages in Pink Floyd – The Wall) than the rest of the movie.
  • Batman Gambit:
  • The way Asterix outsmarts Cylindric the German also counts, by asking him for a demonstration to get his guard down instead of charging into a straight fight.
  • Big Door: To undertake the task of fighting Cylindric the German, Asterix and Obelix are taken to an arena where there's an enormous pair of doors... which open to reveal a very short judo expert.
  • Big Eater: Obelix as usual, except he goes to the extreme this time, eating 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 ze main course") an elephant stuffed with olives... and considering it all starters! A little later in the movie, he's implied to have eaten some kind of Eldritch Abomination that no-one could ever defeat, offscreen.
  • Big Little Man: One of the tasks is to fight Cylindric the German. Asterix and Obelix are taken to an arena where there's an enormous pair of doors...which open to reveal a very short judo expert.
  • Big "SHUT UP!":
    • Astérix does this to a Roman ghost who tries to explain himself to him.
    • Caesar also has to yell "SILENCE!" for the rowdy Gauls to stop babbling and listen to him.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Much like the books, the movie uses untranslated Latin quotes (in this case "Post equitem sedet atra cura" note  and "Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant!" note ) Note that Romans in "The Place That Sends You Mad" use a lot of Latin terms in their dialog — for example, they use "Cubiculum" instead of "Bedroom".
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Most of the Titans' Chef's menu, at least in the quantities used.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • The narrator notices a pile of 20th century junk and wishes it to be removed, because the story is set in the Ancient Roman Age, whereupon it is instantly zipped away.
    • The narrator asks the audience: "Who doesn't know the Gauls?", whereupon a large number of hands from the cinema audience rise and cover the screen. The Gauls for their part look depressed that the audience doesn't know who they are.
    • During his introduction, Asterix says "Hello" in various languages (English, American English, Japanese, German, etc.) to make the point that the comics have been translated in all of them. As the flag of France appears Asterix makes a rooster-like sound as a reference to the fact that the rooster is a national symbol of France.
    • When Julius Caesar explains Hercules's twelve tasks, he pulls down a screen over the movie screen showing twelve individual vignettes explaining each task.
    • During the running contest the Greek runs so fast that the scenery falls apart.
    • Near the end of the film, Obelix calls attention to how far Off the Rails the plot has gotten in regards to real history, as he asks Asterix if they are really the rulers of Rome now. Asterix responds that they are in a cartoon, and as such "everything goes" and they can do what they wish. So Obelix wishes himself to be back at the Isle of Pleasure, with the wild boar!
  • Butt Biter: Dogmatix attacks Romans by the fundament twice! One at the beginning in your typical Roman battle and the next in the final battle at the Coliseum.
  • Call to Agriculture: After Asterix and Obelix successfully complete the 12 tasks and the Gauls take control of Rome, Caesar retires and becomes a farmer with Cleopatra. Interestingly enough, farming was amongst the better regarded jobs in Ancient Rome.
  • The Cameo:
    • One of film's co-creators, Pierre Tchernia, appears as a Roman Prefect in the "Place That Sends You Mad" sequence.
    • One of the Native Americans glimpsed during the second task is Oumpah-pah, protagonist from another comic strip series René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo worked on.
  • Cave Mouth: The cave that Asterix and Obelix enter in order to confront The Beast looks very much like a mouth, even more so when it "eats" them by collapsing as soon as they enter.
  • Circling Birdies: After being punted into the ground by Fulliautomatix, Cacofonix has birds circling his head... lyrebirds, fittingly.
  • Cloudcuckooland: In a way, the Circus Maximus is turned into this during the twelfth task, as well as a modern circus.
  • Comically Missing the Point: One of Iris's clients is hypnotised into believing himself a bird, enough so that he is able to fly out of the office.
    Asterix: Did you see that?
    Obelix: Yes. He's flying low; we'll have rain.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Zig-Zagged. After Vitalstatistix and the rest of the village accept Caesar's challenge, Getafix the druid (and typically the village's voice of reason) calls them fools, arguing that Caesar will never keep his word. Throughout the entire movie it's hinted that Caesar might back out at the very last minute (which also seems most likely, since the comic books are usually somewhat historically accurate). And it seems he was right, as the final task was designed to get the entire village to come willingly to Rome and be put into the Circus. But after the village pulls together and makes a complete mockery of the task, Caesar is actually true to his word and the Gauls become the rulers of the Roman Empire.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The Gaulish village drunken on magic potion against the Roman legions, as usual. And this time, they also fight in the Circus.
    • Before that, there is Cylindric the Judoka inflicting this on Obelix of all people.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Caius Tiddlus, a tiny stoic Roman who thinks of the Tasks to be impossible to finish.
  • Dem Bones: Some walking skeletons and skulls are seen in the Cave of the Beast.
  • Demoted to Extra: Dogmatix (Idefix), while one of the main characters in the books, only makes a few brief appearances in the movie.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Cave of the Beast is full of Surreal Horror elements, nobody ever came out of it alive, and the Beast itself is The Unseen. Then Obelix just eats it offscreen.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The lengthy Isle of Pleasure dance interlude, with psychedelic imagery and Samba-inspired music, partly sung by the birds and played by other critters of the island.
  • Double Take: A Roman bureaucrat does one after realizing Asterix tricked him into giving him the permit, just before going mad himself.
  • Driven to Madness: "The Place That Sends You Mad", which is a tall bureaucratic building filled with absent-minded, lazy and selfish employees that makes it impossible to ensure proper public services.
  • Duck Season, Rabbit Season: How Asterix defeats the hypnotic gaze of Iris the hypnotist.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Beast. Obelix is so hungry he manages to eat it.
  • Evil Laugh: When Caesar tells the senate that the protagonists will have to face the priestesses of the "Isle of Pleasure", he bursts into a fit of demonic laughter — accompanied by a Nightmare Face — that sends his councillors (including Brutus) into a huddle, shivering.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Cylindric the German's general reaction after Asterix tied his limbs into knots, effectively allowing him to win the fight.
  • Fanservice:
    • The dancing girls on the Isle of Pleasure are very suggestively animated, with skimpy, skin-tight dresses.
    • When Caesar tells the story of Hercules's twelve labors, you can clearly see that the Amazon woman is breast-naked...
    • The goddess Venus is also wearing nothing whatsoever...
  • Fantastically Indifferent:
    • As you might expect, Asterix and Obélix are generally unfazed when dealing with various fantastic beings, creatures and people. In fact, the only thing that really bothers Obélix at all is the undead Roman garrison, since they are immaterial and can't be injured.
    • Caius Tiddlus qualifies too thanks to his deadpan reaction to everything.
  • Feathered Fiend: During their climb of the mountain to reach the old hermit on the top, Obelix has to fight a large, aggressive eagle while dangling from a rope.
  • Freak Out: Obélix briefly goes completely bonkers during the A-38 permit task, to the point where his pants run around on their own.
  • Funny Background Event: After Ceasar tells off Brutus for playing with the knife, we cut to Ceasar in close up and keep hearing the sound of Brutus playing with the knife, until we hear a meaty thudding noise. The next camera shot shows Ceasar continuing his speech with Brutus back in frame and one of Brutus' fingers has been bandaged up.
  • Gainax Ending: You have to see it to believe it... Obelix discusses the victory of the Gauls and their unbelievable consideration as Gods, but Asterix says that this is a film after all so anything is possible, thus Obelix vanishes from the village back to the Isle of Pleasure to receive the pleasure of the High Priestess.
  • Genre Shift: Unlike the comic books, this movie is much more fantastic, surreal, nonsense and fourth-wall-breaking than the comic book series ever was...
  • Get Out!: What the priestesses basically tell Obelix when he calls them out for not having any wild boar.
  • Graceful Loser: After the Gauls win, Caesar is so sure they're gods he makes them the new rulers of Rome as promised out of fear of what they'd do if he refused.
  • Gratuitous German: Cylindric the German speaks with a thick German accent with a fair number of German words and phrases ("Ja, ja, sehr gut! Wunderbar!") strewn in.
  • Guile Hero: Asterix wins a few of the tasks by manipulating his opponent. For example, he tricks Cylindric the German into teaching him martial arts and defeating him in the course of the "lesson", distracts Iris the hypnotist by asking him if his glowing eyes are good for reading in bed and lures him into hypnotizing himself instead, and turns the tables on the Place That Sends You Mad by asking for a permit that doesn't exist.
  • Hartman Hips: The women on the Isle of Pleasure all have very prominent hips.
  • Hell Is That Noise: A windy storm is blowing with a creepy sound while our heroes and Tiddlus are reaching the entrance of the Cave of the Beast.
  • Heroic Willpower: One of the tasks is visiting Iris the Hypnotist who tries to make Asterix believe he's a wild boar. While other clients were easily hypnotized, Asterix remains cool and unfazed and distracts the hypnotist by asking him silly questions which break the man's concentration. Eventually he is so confused that Asterix makes him believe he is a wild boar, whereupon the hypnotist leaves the room grunting on all fours. Thus the task is fulfilled and Asterix and Obelix keep moving.
  • High-Pressure Emotion:
    • At the end of the "Isle of Pleasure" segment, Astérix jumps into the lake to follow Obélix, leaving a trail of steam as soon as he touches the water.
    • Asterix has a cloud of steam puffing above his head (just as his helmet wings drop down) when he starts to catch on that finding the A-38 permit is going to be very hard.
  • Historical In-Joke:
    • Caesar's group of councillors features Brutus, who constantly plays with a knife. Caesar remarks: "Stop playing with that knife, you'll end up hurting someone!", ironically referencing how Brutus was the leader of the senators who stabbed and killed the historical Caesar.
    • Cylindric the German being a Judoka is a direct reference towards the three German pioneers of Asian martial arts: Erich Rahn, Alfred Rhode and Heinrich Frantzen, who made the art popular in the West.
    • At one point, while wandering through the Cave of the Beast, our heroes suddenly find themselves at a metro station. The sign at the station reads "Alesia". The Battle of Alesia was the last major engagement between Romans and Gauls and the final victory of the Romans in the Gallic wars. Alesia being a sore spot to mention around Gauls who aren't happy about the occupation is a Running Gag in the comics.
    • While on a rampage, Obelix breaks the arms off of the famous statue of Venus de Milo.
    • Near the end of the movie, you can notice the sign "Via Asterixa" (this is a reference to Roman road "Via Latina").
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: When Getafix finds Vitalstatistix practising for his future role as ruler of Rome, he accuses him of "counting your wild boar piglets before they're hatched". An odd case, given that the Gauls do keep chickens (and you'd expect Getafix, at least, to know that boars aren't hatched!)
  • Honey Trap: Geriatrix's wife uses this to distract a gladiator only for the warrior to be punched out by Fulliautomatix.
  • Human Knot: Cylindric the German ends up with all his limbs tied into knots via judo.
  • Hypnotism Reversal: Asterix is tasked with gazing into the dreaded eyes of Iris, an Egyptian magician, who tries to hypnotize him into believing he's a wild boar. Asterix irritates and confuses Iris so much with questions about his light-up Hypnotic Eyes that he messes up his mantra and all it takes is a quick Duck Season, Rabbit Season to make the magician think he's a wild boar.
    Iris: Repeat after me, "I am a wild boar, a wild boar!"
    Asterix: You are a wild boar, you are a wild boar.
    Iris: That's right! [eyes short out as he cackles madly] I am a wild boar! [snort, snort] A wild boar!
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: The women on the Isle of Pleasure all have prominent Hartman Hips, tiny waists and decent busts.
  • Inelegant Blubbering:
    • Manekenpix burst into tears after Obelix manages to eat all the food in his kitchen.
    • Upon seeing the crowd laugh at the Gauls having turned the fearsome Gladiator Games into a circus as we know it, the lanista bawls that "they've ruined the circus."
  • Invisibility: Asterix and Obelix have to cross an invisible tightrope above a river full of crocodiles.
  • Key Confusion: The Roman who has to let the Gauls into the Colosseum for their final task runs into this problem when he has trouble finding the right key on his key ring. While going through the keys, he comes across a heart-shaped one and wonders, quite embarrassed, how that one got in with the rest. Eventually, Obelix gets tired of waiting and offers to help (in his usual way).
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: After the last task is fulfilled, Julius Caesar is so afraid of what the Gauls will do to him if he doesn't keep his word he gives them full control of Rome as promised.
  • Literal-Minded: When the duo is at the The Place That Sends You Mad, Obelix reads Roman numerals as if they were letters.
  • Lost Roman Legion: The last task before our heroes are allowed to reach Rome? Spending the night on an old creepy battlefield... with a legion of Roman ghosts showing up.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The "Isle of Pleasure" induces an immediate trance and excited state of mind with the singing voices of the priestesses to make sure no-one will leave the place.
  • Ludicrous Speed: When Asbestos the Greek finally decides to go full blast with his Super Speed, he turns into a rocket and is going so fast that the movie itself breaks.
  • Mega Meal Challenge: Which Obelix passes with ease.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing:
    • What Cylindrix does to Obelix thanks to his judo mastery, in a rare case of him being on the losing end of a fight.
    • Also done by Oumpah-pah during his short cameo.
  • Mickey Mousing: The Place That Sends You Mad especially has music whose speed varies depending on the action occurring on screen. It gets slower and slower as Asterix and Obelix are climbing the stairs and they become more and more exhausted. Then it gets much faster when they are climbing down, and punctuates their search for the A-38 permit as it gets frantic.
  • National Stereotypes: We've got a Greek athlete, an Egyptian hypnotist, a Belgian cook... The only real aversion is Cylindric the German, who is cast as a jolly judo expert... though he's introduced goose-stepping and clicking his heels to a Prussian march.
  • Never My Fault: The Place That Sends You Mad is partially built upon this trope, and also why Asterix is able to defeat it. Everyone working there is unhelpful because they have a job to do, and only that job, and thus the onus is on you to be able to navigate it. But when Asterix makes up a fake permit and circular, none of the departments will take responsibility for not knowing about it and go off to blame someone else, getting them involved in the chaos (and subsequently never working out that Asterix made it up, which they would have done if they worked together as a team).
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Well, a river full of crocodiles would be a threat to everyone else, but eventually Asterix and Obelix prefer falling into it than crossing an invisible tightrope — in which the crocodiles end up hanging from!
  • Nightmare Face:
    • Julius Caesar makes one, hair shaped as horns and Evil Laugh included, when he's informed that Asterix and Obelix are approaching the Isle of Pleasure, a place that is believed to be of no return. It even scares his councillors, including Brutus.
    • Whenever Iris the hypnotist shows his Glowing Eyes. Good thing Asterix turns him into a Nightmare Retardant.
    • The Cave of the Beast features giant ghostly faces of different fiends (skull-like, orc-like) wandering the place.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Astérix faces an army of the dead while trying to make it through the night in a haunted battlefield. He chides their general for waking him up.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The goddess Venus is a parody of French actress and sex-symbol Brigitte Bardot.
  • Noodle Incident: Obelix mentions having tasted crocodiles before, and not caring one bit for this meat — too stringy.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: How Obelix beats the Island of Pleasure. While anybody else (even Asterix!) would just stay forever with the sexy priestesses, Obelix storms out as soon as he hears there's no boar on the island. Subverted at the end. Obelix returns to the island with a roast boar in his hand, suggesting he does like beautiful women — just not as much as he likes food.
  • Not So Above It All: After spending most of the film talking in a flat, deadpan voice, Caius Tiddlus is granted retirement to a place of his choosing. He chooses the Isle of Pleasure and enjoys being tickled by the beautiful women there.
  • Obfuscating Disability: The elderly man at The Place That Sends You Mad appears to be only pretending to be hard of hearing, as he has no problems hearing his boss who is speaking quieter than Asterix is.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Good gods, The Place That Sends You Mad is full of these.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: We don't see how Asterix and Obelix manage to defeat the Beast of the Cave of the Beast. All we know is that Obelix ate it because he was still hungry from the previous task where he ate about as much in a matter of hours as their whole village during, say, a week.
  • Offhand Backhand: Obelix and Unhygienix argue over who should get to fight the most gladiators while sending flying any who come near.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In-universe example. After Obelix rebuffs the priestess on the Isle of Pleasure for having no wild boar to eat, the girls turn on him and rather than the suave voices they originally had, actually have horrible chav-like voices.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The third task is to fight a very small martial artist, who can trivially toss around Obelix.
  • Punny Name: This IS Asterix after all!
  • Rage-Breaking Point: When Asterix and Obelix have trouble sleeping upon the arrival of an undead Roman garrison, Obelix is freaked out about not being able to punch them. Asterix, on the other hand? He's simply annoyed by the noise they're making (not remotely caring that they are ghosts) and rants to their centurion about wanting some sleep after every trial that preceded this incident, then tells him to shut up.
  • Riddle for the Ages: We cut away from Obelix's epic meal time just as he's being served the Elephant Stuffed with Olives, which the chef announces as the thing before the next course begins. It's unclear whether there really was a next course, or how big that was, just that Obelix had eaten it all and still was hungry enough to eat The Beast later.
  • Rolling Pin of Doom: Impedimenta during the finale in the Circus. She's chased by a gladiator while searching something in her bag. Then she finds her rolling pin, chases the gladiator back and bashes his butt.
  • Running Gag: Whenever Cacofonix the bard is about to sing, Fulliautomatix, the village's blacksmith, will smash him into the ground with his fist. This happens three times (one time off-screen) but the fourth time, Cacofonix quickly puts on a spiky gladiator helmet and Fulliautomatix hurts his hand.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: During the aforementioned scene of Caesar telling the story of Hercules, the last labor is stated to be "setting Theseus free from Hades". While Hercules did free Theseus from the underworld, that was not the actual labor; the labor was kidnapping Cerberus the guard dog of the Underworld. In the Polish dub, this is corrected and Caesar mentions this deed (even though, it doesn't match the image on the pottery).
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: The ghostly Roman centurion lets out a high-pitched shriek when Astérix tells him to be quiet.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Obelix has this attitude when he's demanded to leave the Isle of Pleasure.
    High Priestess: Push off! Get out!
    Obelix: You bet your life I'll get out. Not one wild boar and they dare to call this "the Isle of Pleasure". Some pleasure.
  • Shout-Out: Much like most Asterix stories, the movie contains plenty of shout-outs:
    • The goddess Venus (while appearing among other Gods) is drawn after French actress Brigitte Bardot.
    • The buxom priestesses of the Island of Pleasure (especially the high priestess), in turn, appear to be modeled after Italian movie star and sex symbol Sophia Loren.
    • Cleopatra appears near the end. Modeled after Elizabeth Taylor, much like she was in the Asterix and Cleopatra comic book and animated movie.
    • A rare musical example occurs during the protagonists' ascent to the Old Man of the Mountains, when the score takes on a notably Wagnerian feel (as opposed to the more jolly score heard throughout the rest of the movie) using motifs that are clearly inspired by both the "Ride of the Valkyries" and the prelude to "Das Rheingold".
    • The riddle of the Old Man of the Mountains, and subsequently Asterix's answer and the Old Man's reaction, all make fun of laundry detergent advertisements.
    • When the chicken in the Roman arena goes insane and she lays several objects, one of them a mini image of Donald Duck!
  • Something Else Also Rises: In the epilogue, Caius Tiddlus is tickled until his wine launches to the sky.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: At the end, Julius Caesar loses all the power and starts a new life as a farmer... which means no death by stabbing for him!
  • Spoiler Title: The German title: "Asterix erobert Rom" ("Asterix Conquers Rome").
  • Statuesque Stunner: The women on the Isle of Pleasure are all about as tall or taller than Obelix, and are all very beautiful.
  • Super Speed:
    • The first task is out-running a super-fast Greek athlete, in which Asterix eventually succeeds thanks to the Magic Potion.
    • When Obelix's spear reappears, the Persian runs away in fear for it and runs so fast that he runs to America!
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: You can actually hear Caius Tiddlus imply this when Asterix asks him if the 8th task (getting the A-38 permit from The Place That Makes You Mad) is a simple administrative formality.
  • Surreal Horror: Plenty during the Cave of the Beast sequence! And even the wind that is blowing outside of the cave sounds horrific...
  • Surreal Humor: Much moreso than in the original series, which mainly had Anachronism Stew, Punny Names, some fantasy elements and standard comedic exaggeration. Here we have almost literal fourth-wall breaking, a Rubber Man, a man that flies like a bird just because he was hypnotized, sandals that walk by themselves, Hammerspace, and a hen that lays eggs shaped like souvenirs, among other surreal elements.
  • A Tale Told by an Idiot: A centurion ghost tells Obelix that he and his group were Roman soldiers massacred by man's folly, and came back from the grave to avenge themselves on anyone crossing the battlefield at night. When Asterix wakes up and demands to know what all the racket is, Obelix cuts in by explaining that they're Romans killed by madmen on their way back from somewhere. The ghost tries to clarify things, but Asterix just yells him into disappearing.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: As mentioned right above, Asterix manages to drive away an undead legion by yelling at them.
  • Theme Tune: Despite Gérard Calvi returning to compose the score, the theme from Asterix the Gaul and Asterix and Cleopatra was not reused, a new one was composed. It was never reused in following films, setting The Twelve Tasks further apart among the early animated films of the franchise.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Obelix's fondness for roasted boar ends up saving our duo from the "Isle of Pleasure". Once they have seemingly succumbed to the charms of the isle, Obelix starts to feel hungry and asks for boar. The high priestess then replies to him that there's no boar on the isle, which upsets him and prompts him to leave the isle.
  • 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 (about 1800 kilometers / 1120 miles) 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.
  • Twitchy Eye: Well, not an eye, but Obelix gets an ear twitch in annoyance as it becomes clear that the task of finding the A-38 permit is going to be very hard.
  • The Un-Reveal: We never see the Beast from the Cave that Caius Tiddlus warns Asterix and Obelix about. All we learn is that Obelix thinks it was 'tasty'.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: Also kind of a Take That!. In what might be the most memorable task of the story (the seemingly unobtainable "laissez-passer A 38" ["permit #A 38"] has since become a cultural trope in France, Poland and Germany, whenever tedious bureaucratic issues are concerned), Asterix and Obelix need to get a certain paper from a bureaucratic agency. All previous attempts to do so have ended in insanity: going up and down stairs, being informed that the form you need doesn't exist/is the wrong color, the person you need to consult with is out to lunch, and so forth. The method Asterix uses to win is sheer elegance in its simplicity. He turns the bureaucracy against itself asking for a paper that doesn't exist, "laissez-passer (permit) #A 39", required by a supposed new decree that nobody knows about, "circular B 65", but which the employees try to find anyway, exposing the weaknesses of a system where everyone has a task but no-one knows how the whole, or even how the part not involving them, works. In the end, the employees themselves go mad.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • The Centurion of the Ghost Legion gets very upset about Asterix not being afraid of them.
    • As the Gauls ace the final task, turning the whole thing into little more than a circus, the ringmaster is left a sobbing wreck. Caesar, while quiet, makes a face that speaks volumes to what is going on in his mind and that he has pretty much just given up at that point.
  • Vocal Dissonance: The small leader of the bird chorus during the Isle of Pleasure Dance Sequence has one word to say, and it makes the most of it.
    Deep-Voiced Bird: SAMBA!
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The first two tasks are done without problems, then the heroic duo runs into Cylindric the German, and Obelix, of all people, has troubles against him, leaving it up to Asterix to outsmart him. Likewise, the two Gauls would have been stuck on Pleasure Island if not for its lack of boars, which kicked Obelix out of the Lotus-Eater Machine — Asterix had no chance to beat this one.
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: "If you like apples, I know where to get them!" And sure enough, Asbestos the Greek finds that tree. Head-on.
  • Wheel o' Feet: Happens during the race against Asbestos the Greek athlete in the first task. Asbestos's legs spin around but are distinct, while Asterix's legs blur into a spinning wheel.


Video Example(s):



A gigantic meal meant to be eaten by Titans? Mere starter dishes for Obelix.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / BigEater

Media sources: