The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec
- Tom Dawson
- 24 March 2011
Luc Besson brings Jacques Tardi's adventure comics to the screen
The 'cinéma du look' pioneer Luc Besson returns with this old-fashioned adventure-cum-fantasy yarn, adapted from Jacques Tardi's long-running comic book series. Although set on the eve of World War One, its intrepid titular heroine (wonderfully played by Louise Bourgoin) is a very modern character: a fast-talking, wise-cracking explorer and writer, she's clearly aware that gender is a matter of performance, judging by the multiple disguises and outfits she breezily adopts and discards.
Adele's actions are propelled by her desire to find a cure for her comatose sister (Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre): that's why she lugs a sarcophagus containing a mummified doctor back from Egypt. Meanwhile, a pterodactyl is attacking Paris, and the one scientist, Esperandieu, (Jacky Nercessian) who could control this creature and reanimate Adele's cargo is in jail.
A polished blend of CGI effects and live-action footage, this handsomely designed film makes effective use of its landmark Parisian locations, which include the Louvre, the Place de la Concorde and the Vincennes zoo. A pity that Adele's arch-enemy, Dieuleveult (an unrecognisable Mathieu Amalric) is merely a fleeting presence, yet amidst all the daring escapes from Egyptian burial chambers and awakened mummies, it's a fateful game of tennis between siblings that lingers in the mind.