The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010)


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The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec

Love or loathe him, Luc Besson is a difficult director to pigeonhole. A man who spent the early nineties making darkly comedic crime thrillers before making the leap to the ultra-camp sci-fi of The Fifth Element, disappearing for years at a time while seemingly writing and producing around 50% of all action movies. For anyone who caught Leon at an impressionable age, his name was a shortcut for ‘This film is going to be brilliant’, but recently his output has been sparse, and his last film, the sub-par kids animation Arthur and the Invisibles hardly set the world alight. At first glance, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec looked like a return to the epic scale of The Fifth Element but in truth it’s something stranger and just far more French than that.

Based on Tardi’s popular (in France) graphic novels, Adèle Blanc-Sec is a bestselling travel writer whose tales of strange lands and derring-do have made her a minor celebrity, but her expeditions are merely a cover for more philanthropic pursuits. If that leaves you thinking ‘Female Indiana Jones’ then you’re near the mark, but The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is closer to a cosy parlour comedy than the fast-paced action of the Indiana Jones series. There are tombs and traps aplenty, not to mention sinister opponents clad in trenchcoats, but the style of the film is very different. With actors clad in latex and makeup to better resemble their comic book counterparts, it’s almost as though Besson set out to make a Gallic Dick Tracy, though sadly the finished result is not as exciting as the images that notion conjures.


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