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The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (3 stars)

Luc Besson brings Jacques Tardi's adventure comics to the screen

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The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (Les Aventures Extraordinaires d'Adele Blanc-Sec)

(12A) 107min

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.

Selected release from Friday 22 April.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec International Trailer

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec

  • 3 stars
  • 2010
  • France
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Luc Besson
  • Cast: Louise Bourgoin, Mathieu Amalric, Gilles Lellouche, Jean-Paul Rouve

Adapted from Jacques Tardi's long-running comic book series and set on the eve of World War I, this polished blend of CGI effects and live-action footage is handsomely designed and makes effective use of its landmark Parisian locations.

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