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Marina Antunes [DVD News 09.12.11] France movie review dvd action fantasy adventure

Year: 2010
Director: Luc Besson
Writers: Luc Besson, Jacques Tardi
IMDB: link
Amazon: link.
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 7 out of 10

Jacques Tardi's comic books aren't exactly mainstream reading across the water but from the bit of footage we'd seen of The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec, it looked like Luc Besson, the writer and director behind the adaptation, was setting off on a great franchise and though Adèle Blanc-Sec didn't exactly burn up the North American screens, I'm fairly certain it didn't play theatrically, it's quite likely we'll be seeing more of Adèle's adventures.

The beautiful Louise Bourgoin stars as Adèle, a journalist and adventurer who spends her time researching the mysteries of history and writing adventure novels about her experiences. This particular adventure takes her to Egypt to retrieve the mummy of a doctor to a great king but she's not searching for treasure: the goal is to get the mummy back to Paris where professor Ménard will use his great metaphysical powers to wake the mummy. All of this so that the mummy can save Adèle's twin sister who, in a freak accident, has ended up with a hat pin through her skull and has been comatose for an extended period of time. While she's away in search of the mummy, the great professor tests his abilities for raising and controlling the dead by awakening a pterodactyl which is now wreaking havoc on the city.

The opening twenty minutes suggests that Adèle is a great counterpart to Indiana Jones: adventurer, world traveler, scholar, except in a skirt and extravagant hat. As the story develops and the police amp their pursuit of the pterodactyl and in the wake of Ramses II and his crew being up from their 5,000 year-long sleep, Adèle Blanc-Sec devolves into a comedy of errors and lowers the bar on the Indy-like character to something more akin to The Mummy franchise; still a heck of a good time but also a little goofier.

Some may find it a fault that Besson doesn't take the opportunity to comment on the fact that Adèle is a fiercely independent woman who partakes in a profession generally associated with men but I love that the story goes along and offers this up as a fact not requiring any explanation. It's refreshing and considering the film is very kid friendly, many of jokes and situations will likely work better with the younger set, it's wonderful to have a female hero who shuns romantic approaches and prefers to spend her time in the midst of adventure.

Bourgoin wonderfully mixes the comedic and dramatic that makes Adèle so appealing. She's charming, smart and spontaneous and when she attempts to tame the pterodactyl, I shook my head at her bravado but cheered a little to myself when she succeeded.

There are a couple of plot holes in this story, one of the biggest is the introduction of the evil Dieuleveult (played by Mathieu Amalric under so much make-up he's unrecognizable), but it allows for a nice open door for a sequel that will undoubtedly follow in the coming years.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec wasn't nearly as serious as I had anticipated but I appreciate the film's sense of humour, it's beautiful set and costume design and the simple fact that it's a fun adventure tale with a immensely likeable lead. I'm ready to see how Adèle leads to the sinking of the Titanic.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec has been available on DVD and Blu-ray in Canada since Tuesday, September 6th.

DVD Extras: Not many extras to speak of but there is a behind the scenes making-of featurette. Sadly, it's presented in French with no subtitles.

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Laura (10 years ago) Reply

I absolutely LOVE this movie! I've seen a lot of French movies, and it's definitely in my all-time top five. It reminds me of a French version of Tomb Raider/Laura Croft but with more humor. It's nice to see it getting some attention here! :)


Anonymous (10 years ago) Reply

According to IMDB it's not so kid friendly as the lead actress appears nude in a bath tub at one point. You might want to update your post with that info in case any parents take you at your word.


Dracula (10 years ago) Reply

Anonymous, everything in this world can't be prepared for the parent. However, children themselves are nude beneath the very clothes they wear; seeing an actress naked in bathwater might not be as hideously damaging as you think.


Laura (10 years ago) Reply

Many French movies have nude people in them in everyday situations, it's not as taboo in Europe as it is in the US. The scene you're talking about is not a sex scene; she's literally just taking a bath.


Marina (10 years ago) Reply

I am well aware of the nudity (I did have to watch the movie to review it :)) but the scene in question is hardly anything that is inappropriate for kids. Not only is it only a few seconds long, it's not lingering. It's a simple fact that she's nude in the tub and then getting out. It's not like kinds aren't aware that you take a bath naked and it's not like she's flaunting it. It's very natural.

The Canadian ratings board agrees: they gave the film a PG rating.


Laura (10 years ago) Reply

One should also consider that if a child is old enough and mature enough to sit through a subtitled foreign movie, then they're probably also old enough to see someone stepping out of a bathtub...


Tarliman (10 years ago) Reply

I'm the father of three. I'd much rather my children see a nude person that someone dying violently. I don't have a problem with this film based on the description and comments.

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