A comic book adaptation that, from what I can gather, isn’t all that faithful to the style of the source material even though it provides some fun characters and an old-fashioned ripping yarn, it’s perhaps fortuitous for me that I’m not actually familiar with the original tales that this movie is based on. And that may be why I enjoyed the film immensely (though I hope that anyone would).
Adele Blanc-Sec is after a cure for her sister, a woman who has been in a vegetative state ever since an accident on a tennis court involving a hat-pin, and thinks that the people who may be able to help her most are an old man who has been trying to revive the dead and a great (but deceased) physician to a mighty Pharaoh. While she is trying to get everything in place there is the small problem of a pterodactyl on the loose that’s upsetting everyone.
Part Indiana Jones romp, part “Murders In The Rue Morgue” and part Fletch (yes . . . . I said Fletch), this movie comes all wrapped up with a big Gallic bow to delight and entertain all but the hardest hearts.
The cast are all very good. Mathieu Amalric appears briefly as the evil Dieuleveult, Gilles Lellouche is an amusingly inept Inspector and Jacky Nercessian is just fine as the practising psychic, Nicolas Giraud is wonderful as a lovestruck fan of our heroine and Jean-Paul Rouve is a typically graceless hunter. However, with her name in the title it’s clear that this movie is about one person – Adele – played by Louise Bourgoin. Bourgoin plays our title character as she’s surely meant to be played; smart, beautiful, charming, able to suffer some scrapes and indignities on any adventures. The actress and the character immediately get the viewer onside thanks to her feisty, modern attitude in a pre-WWI setting.
Luc Besson directs, from his own screenplay adapted from the comic books by Jacques Tardi, and nicely mixes his stylish eye and quick pace with visuals and editing that mostly avoid the excess of some of his previous works. The humour and adventure, arguably, blends better here than it did in The Fifth Element but that film somehow still manages to edge ahead thanks to it’s over the top coolness and entertaining ridiculousness.
Some lovely design work, decent computer effects and a storyline that mixes the fun of tomb raiding with the plotwork of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec is a pleasing helping of old and new and deserves to find a fanbase.
DIRECTOR: LUC BESSON
STARS: LOUISE BOURGOIN, MATHIEU AMALRIC, GILLES LELLOUCHE, JEAN-PAUL ROUVE, JACKY NERCESSIAN, NICOLAS GIRAUD
RUNTIME: 107 MINUTES APPROX