I’ve long been a fan of Luc Besson’s movies, whether it’s his more gritty earlier work or films such as “The Fifth Element,” to me the director has always had a unique style and approach to movies that has always turned out incredibly entertaining. As a result I was eager to take a look at “The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec” when it arrived on my desk.
Adèle Blanc-Sec (Louise Bourgoin) is an adventure novelist who puts her own experiences on the paper for her readers. Desperate to save her twin sister Agathe (Laure de Clermont) who has been in a catatonic state since a freak accident drove a hat pin through her skull, Adèle is trying to use the knowledge of the ancient Egyptians for her mission. But not by studying up on their theories, however, but by bringing the mummy of Ramses’ famous royal doctor back to life.
Unfortunately things don’t go as planned and soon a reanimated pterodactyl is circling Paris and feeding on its citizens. While police inspector Albert Caponi (Gilles Lellouche) is investigating the case and tries to put down the flying dinosaur with the help of a big game hunter, Adèle is desperately trying to rescue her friend Espérandieu from the guillotine in time to make sure he can reanimate the Egyptian mummy with his incredible telepathic powers. But once again, things do not go as planned, and things get crazier by the minute.
As expected, “The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec” is a quirky and thoroughly enjoyable movie that blends Indiana Jones and the recent Mummy movies with characters that could have sprung straight from the pages of a Tintin comic book. In fact, the movie is based on a comic book series of the same name by Jacques Tardi, and this film is essentially an adaptation of the first volume in the series, “Paris in Danger.”
With that in mind it becomes immediately obvious that the film is simply out to have fun by bringing the chaotic and bizarre events to life in vibrant real life footage, and with it, tell a story that is as charming and whimsical as it is absurd at times.
With its peculiar cast of characters, the film offers up a great cast to bring them to life, but unfortunately it is also the release’s weakest spot. The entire movie has been dubbed in English and quite frankly, the dub is horrible. Not only do many voices - particularly that of Adèle comes across as flat and phoned-in - but more importantly, the voice casting itself does not match many of the characters. simply do yourself a favor and switch the movie to its original French language track and view it with subtitles. You will enjoy the experience a whole lot more.
The transfer of the movie on this disc is clean and clear, without any defects or blemishes. Free of grain or compression artifacts, the image is rich and highly detailed, reveling in the rich color palette that Besson is painting on the screen for you to enjoy. Black levels are solid, giving the image good visual depth.
The release features DTS audio tracks in English and the original French, along with PCM stereo tracks for your enjoyment. All of them are pristine and without any problems or shortcomings, producing an audio field that is wide and active with solid bass extension and clear high ends.
As extras you will find a Making-of featurette on the disc, along with a selection of deleted scenes and a music featurette.
“The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec” is a thoroughly charming and entertaining movie that looks and feels distinctly different from Hollywood fare. Very funny in its own way, and never taking itself seriously, the film has just the right balance of adventure and silliness to make it work. Just do yourself a favor and watch it in its original French language version in order not to spoil the film for its poor dub.