The Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec

The Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec

Static Mass Rating: 3/5
Optimum Releasing 

Release date: April 22nd 2011
Certificate (UK): 12A
Running time: 107 mins
Original language: French with English subtitles

Director: Luc Besson

Cast: Louise Bourgoin, Mathieu Amalric, Gilles Lellouch, Jean-Paul Rouve

In 1912, Paris, a pterodactyl is on the loose, creating havoc on the streets and embarrassment for the hapless police officers that cannot capture it. It was reawakened by Professor Esperandieu, who is swiftly dispatched to jail.

Enter the titular heroine Adele Blanc-Sec, who, whilst following her instincts and not her publisher, has returned from Egypt with a mummy that she needs Esperandieu to bring back to life, once she’s busted him out of jail and saved him from the guillotine.

The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec

But for everything Adele can do, she can’t undo the results of a tragic tennis accident involving both her twin sister and a hat pin. Agathe is paralysed and brain dead, her injuries more severe than 20th Century medicine can cope with. Combining history, science, the incompetence of the authorities, and a spot of puppy love courtesy of Andrej, let the farce begin!

Adele is extremely likeable, she’s sassy, she’s sarcastic, she can disarm a man with her wit and a raised eyebrow. Though Louise Bourgoin plays Adele very well, heavy sighs and rye shrugs can’t hold together an entire movie.

The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec

The stories don’t intertwine well; as the mummy story is in full swing, the pterodactyl swoops in and takes the movie off course somewhat. Pinned together loosely by Professor Esperandieu and his psychic powers for bringing things back to life, it feels a little superfluous and hinders the story from going any deeper.

Beneath the shiny surface, there isn’t a great deal of substance to the film.

Adele can break into prisons and tame dinosaurs without losing her hat, escape from pyramids and flagrantly lie to her editor, but is a touch over sexualised which seems out of place, sitting naked in the bath with a cigarette and a series of love letters, or stripping off in front of the mummy, for example. She comes off as being a bit two dimensional, crying when she’s not kicking ass, which seems a shame because she could be so much more complex as a character.

The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec

Adele is backed up by a fairly strong and interesting supporting cast. Andrej is adorable like a puppy, with the eyes to match. Esperandieu is hopeful and really believes in Adele, being portrayed as a father figure.

The typically French ineptitude of the police authorities is typified by Inspecteur Albert Caponi, Gilles Lellouche, and provides physical comic relief, not unlike the style of the Pink Panther.

The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec

Agathe is a foil to show Adele’s vulnerable, human side, and somewhat unfortunately, this is all she is given the chance to be.

Visually, it’s highly polished, saturated in colour, and at times stunning. Where seriously CGI fanatics will chuckle at the dinosaur, Louise Bourgoin will more than make up for it. As a fun, silly action movie though, it holds it’s own, but take it too seriously and it’s a jarring combination of both being too much, and yet, not quite enough.

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