Back in November, I wrote how in 2020 Papercutz would be publishing new editions of the Asterix series that would “feature new translations in American English" (see "Confessions Of A Comic Book Guy -- Can Asterix Conquer America?"). Whether Asterix and (of course) Obelix can finally break the states is important and for the sake of America I certainly hope they do (I really want to see an Obelix balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade), there’s a bigger question. Can They Conquer China? Because apparently China is the next step in the duo’s live-action globe-trotting cinematic adventures according to Tresor Films Plots $72 Million ‘Asterix & Obelix: The Silk Road,’ New Projects (EXCLUSIVE).
The movie is set in 50 B.C. China and concerns “the only daughter of the Chinese Emperor Han Xuandi, who escapes from the grips of a rogue prince and runs off to Gaul, seeking help from two valiant warriors, Asterix and Obelix, who have gained superpowers thanks to a magic potion.” This seems like a highly unlikely place for a princess to go looking for magic-infused warriors, as well as a kind of a long way to go. Especially given how ancient China is usually full of heroes with quasi-mystical kung fu powers in these kinds of movies anyway.
But Asterix & Obelix: The Silk Road definitely has a premise with potential, both creatively (the only thing I could kind of compare it to is 1962’s The Three Stooges Meet Hercules) and financially. Because, while it's definitely a gamble, Chinese audiences traditionally do embrace historical movies with a magical bent. And the characters aren't entirely unknown; there are Chinese editions of the Asterix albums. As I wrote back in November. the Asterix film franchise has proven to be incredibly popular and profitable on a global scale, and the next logical step for it is to take on the Chinese market. Though after that, I hope they go to India. I’d simply love to see Asterix & Obelix in a Bollywood musical.Confessions Of A Comic Book Guy -- Everyone Hates H.E.R.B.I.E."). I also talked about how, over the last 40 years, the much-maligned character had slowly been gaining acceptance among fans. But for those still nursing a grudge against him for replacing the Human Torch in the cartoon should probably just accept in their hearts he’s not going anywhere. In fact, he could be the next "Baby Yoda" (see "'Baby Yoda' Is The 'Star Wars' Gift That Keeps On Giving").
Unfortunately, it was only after last week’s column was posted the obvious occurred to me; Disney had its own Herbie; the sentient Volkswagen that starred in 1968’s The Love Bug as well as all of its many sequels and remakes. Now that Disney owns Marvel, H.E.R.B.I.E. V Herbie could actually happen; now there's a mashup I'd really like to see.
I liked it, well enough, and after seeing it, I can understand how some of the plot elements (and plot holes) could have irritated some fans. But what I could not understand is how outsized and utterly inappropriate some of their reactions were. I'm thinking in particular of a YouTube video that called it "The Rise Of Garbage".
I realize that I gripe about getting, and being old, but what's really getting old for me is the number of would be reviews I come across that resort to calling both a work and it's creators "garbage". We seem to have reached a place where nothing is ever good enough and that for an increasing number of people not being perfect equals "garbage". It frankly makes me tired. No, I have to confess it makes me want to ask these people as sarcastically as I possibly can, "Is there anything in the universe that would totally meet with your majesty's approval?"
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.