Asterix & Obelix XXL: Romastered PS4 [REVIEW] | For Toutatis!

Oddly, this was the last of the Asterix XXL series to get the remaster treament, the first being XXL 2 in 2018, then we had the brand new XXL 3 in 2019, then the “romastered” version of the first game in 2020, the one we’re talking about today, to celebrate the release of a new Asterix & Obelix movie in theathers.

One of the live-action ones, but still, it’s new Asterix & Obelix material!

Originally developed for PS2, Gamecube and PC (with a GBA version that’s basically another game entirely) by defunct french studio Etranges Libellules and published by Atari Europe, this remaster was instead published by Microids (which pretty much took the place Infogrames had back then) and developed by the quite non-defunct (at the time of writing, anyway) french Osome Studios.

The plot sees the titular duo wander off of their little Gaul village to the ol’ boar hunt only to come back and find out Ceasar (yes, Julius Caius Ceasar from Caligula, exactly) has somehow managed to storm the village, capturing most people and sending them off to various distant ends of the Roman empire in order to have locked out sight and mind, hopefully for good.

But with the help of a fired roman spy, you find out that most of the imprisoned gauls most likely managed to get a piece of the map indicating their location, as Ceasar took the extra step – just in case – of ripping the map in pieces and scattering them in various locations.

Good enough as an excuse in terms of videogame logic to have Asterix & Obelix travel to various places like Egypt, Normandy, Greece and Helvetia, freeing their fellow gaul citizens and getting more pieces of the map along the way.

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Pinocchi-O-Rama #1: A Tree Of Palme/Palme No Ki (2002)

While it’s not completely unknown, i’d say A Tree Of Palme it’s quite obscure, definitely forgotten, overlooked and rarely discussed, despite being created, written and directed by respected anime veteran Takashi Nakamura, who also previously worked as a key animator for Nausicaa And The Valley Of The Wind, joined the acclaimed anime anthology of Robot Carnival in 1987, and just the next year would be animation director for a little movie called AKIRA.

It was also laboriosly made over the span of 6 years, and you can just tell by the cinematography that indeed A Tree Of Palme was treated as a big project that Nakamura wanted to cultivate as well as possible without compromises to his vision.

The story concerns the titular Palme, a puppet created by a man for his sickly wife, and upon her death the puppet becomes paralyzed by sorrow, until he accidentally stumbles upon a misterious woman (whom Palme mistakes for the man’s dead wife, Xian) being pursued, and she entrusts the puppet to deliver a certain special item to a sacred place called Tama.

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[EXPRESSO] EO (2022) | Wanderdonk

Clearly inspired by Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar, this 2022 polish movie follows the life of donkey that, after escaping from a polish circus sets on a “picaresque” journey through Europe, witnessing various realities of modern european countries along its aimless wander.

And intriguingly enough here it’s in theathers, limited release but not that fleeting, it stuck around more than Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, so that’s nice.

As expected the titular donkey and his accidental European trip is a device to depict various episodes of humanity and its often unsavoury sides, sampled through many various vignettes, going from Eo joining a farm with other mules to being used as a scapegoat by violently murderous football fanatics, being rescued by robot dogs, used as workforce in an illegal fur farm, and so on…

So the donkey himself isn’t the focus of the narration, makes sense but since we’ve seen this type of film done before, EO it’s kinda disappointing because it straddles between committing to fully characterize the animal protagonist (even indirectly) or fully utilizing his role as a narrative tool to eviscerate humanity’s many, many facets.

I’d prefered it “went harder” in many ways, because the execution often made me wish the movie would committ to show more small, gritty or unflinchingly realistic stories, or to contextualize more the ones shown. That and while it’s sincere, at times i felt it was a bit too enamored with being artsy for its own sake, and again, the final result feels compromised and hence it never properly achieves the emotional potency it clearly wishes for.

It’s not a long watch, it does have some very effective moments, i was intrigued all the way and i would recommend watching if you can, but i won’t deny i also felt kinda disappointed by it.

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #24: The Last Dinosaur (1977)

What, no japanese rubber monstersaurus this time? Of course no, you silly billys.

I left this one for last, because it’s not just a japanese giant monster movie.

It’s a Japanese AND American coproduction, and it’s actually just one of the many movies to come out of the Rankin Bass and Tsuburaya Productions collaboration, including The Ivory Ape and The Bermuda Depths, just to cite the adventure/monster movie stuff or adiacent ones.

But this time you might already had an inkling of familiarity with the giant t-rex body suit shown in the poster, especially if you were already familiar with another piece of Tsuburaya Productions’ prolific output, as boy it does look like the evil t-rex mastermind from Attack Of The Super Monsters, and hence from the anime-live action series Dinosaur War Izenborg.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #23: Land Of The Lost (2009)

FIY, i didn’t know this movie’s history beforehand, i figured we could use a mainstream released feature with actors people might have actually have seen before, you know, in theathers and all, it wasn’t an obscure product from a country that no longer exists and it was “2YK survivor”.

So i just slotted into the list, only to later find out i basically enlisted “comedy Hitler” for this Dino Dicember, as this thing was widely hated back in 2009, with the deadly combo of being both a box office bomb and receiving overwhelming amounts of negative reviews from the press.

And also won 7 Razzies, which – as said before – i don’t really acknowledge, but by all accounts it had everything going against it, as it was regarded as an awful, awful sketch comedy, and made people extra salty because it was technically one of those “parody movie adaptations/remakes” of an older, beloved TV series, in this case Sid and Marty Krofft’s Land Of The Lost from 1974.

Which i never saw since i’m technically a Millennial and whatnot.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #22: Tyranno’s Claw (1994)

Time for something very obscure and very fun, with some history behind it, too, because when i think old monster movies from Korea, my mind goes immediatly to good old Pulgasari/Bulgasari.

And guess what, i’m gonna give myself a pat on the back, and you might too, since in 1994 the director of D-War: Dragon Wars and Yonggary (the 1999 movie, itself a remake of 1967’s Yongary, Monster From The Deep), Shim Hyung-rae, caught wind of the international dinosaur-mania, so he concocted one of the most peculiar and strange kaiju films ever committed to celluloid, Tyranno’s Claw, far from the obvious Jurassic Park mockbuster the year of release might suggest.

Even though there IS a “goat scene” …. this is something else indeed.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #21: Hatched (2021)

Clearing up some of the last year’s releases with Hatched, a 2021 dinosaur film about a woman and her family moving to her reclusive brother’s farmhouse to check on him, only to find out he moonlighted as Dr. Alan Grant, resulting in many living dinosaurs that trap the family inside the house.

Yes, the dinosaurs are coming from inside the house, hur hur.

I’ve heard this one described as “Michael Myers but if dinosaur”, for some reasons that don’t really make much sense when you think about it for more than 3 seconds, but i would say we’re more in Carnosaur or Raptor Ranch territory, because we’re yet again talking about someone doing clonosauruses around chicken coops and shit.

At least we’re not in space?

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #20: When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth (1970)

The third (and penultimate) entry in Hammer’s “Cave Girl” series (One Million Years BC, Prehistoric Women, and lastly Creatures The World Forgot), when Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth (or The World, in its UK release) is also one of Hammer’s prehistoric cavemen and dinosaur films to be confusingly retitled as “When Dinosaurs Chased Their Own Tails” for its italian release, which also altered the opening voice over narration to make some random ass sexist and classist remarks about dumb bimbos and how unlikely “lazy student protesters“ were in the stone age and so on.

It would be utterly random if i was not well acquainted with the comtempt and disrespect italian producers at the time had for most “foreign but not american” films (or for example the shameful adaptation/mangling they did of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, especially the movies), and combined with the fact we usually made cavemen movies as comedies. Sex comedies, too.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember # 19: Jurassic Thunder (2019)

Oh, boy, THIS one.

I was gonna include it in the original Dino December, but i eventually relented.

Not because it looked like crap, like really atomic level of trash, just a smidge above the realm of stuff like Weasels Rip My Flesh, quite the opposite, i’m even more intrigued by the fact it looks and most likely is utter bungum, as i keep gazing into the abyss (Mondo Zappa style) until the abyss itself gets bored or produces some new unholy artifact for my collection. Which it often does, actually.

I eventually didn’t bother as i was so irritated and angry at it, and i did want to review it, not use the movie as a verbal punching ball. So i let some time pass, and combined with the fact i don’t want to pity people in general, i’d say it’s time to review Jurassic Thunder in proper and earnest and whathaveyou.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #18: Cowgirls Vs Pterodactyls (2021)

In the spirit of exploiting terms like “gender equality” and “inclusive”, i had to follow up my review of Cowboys VS Dinosaurs with this one, because everyone (aside from nazis, fascists, and their “variants”) is welcome to make its own bad movie about dinosaurs, with effects that really stretch the modern goodwill towards crap movies to excuse stuff that’s embarassing even by film student standards.

So cowgirls can fight the other – and honestly more represented in cinema – group of specific dinosaurs, because we’ll pretend we can’t afford to create any other dinosaur that isn’t a pterodactyl.

I do like pterodactyls (and Aerodactyls), so whatever, what plot brings these two factions to fight for the fate of the land without having to kidnap emperors?

A stolen husband. Yep. One day a teacher’s husband is pteronapped, so she enlist the helps of a prostitute and a gunslinger (a rpg class not represented in the title, for shame) to save his ass.

One thing i was hoping for is them trying to do this as “period piece”… and they do!

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