The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (12A)
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Time Out says
Tue Apr 19 2011Here is Luc Besson with a slick multiplex adventure fantasy featuring a gusty Indiana Jones-style heroine in turn-of-the-last-century Paris – proving once again that anything Hollywood can do, he can do with buckets more visual flair. Adapted from a popular French comic book series by Jacques Tardi, newcomer Louise Bourgoin (until not so long ago better known in France as a wacky weather girl) gives a star-making performance as swashbuckling novelist Adèle. The movie is a gorgeous spectacle, and a good deal less saccharine than anything Hollywood is turning out, but hyperactively plotted and oddly cold.
Played with a breezy, almost klutzy charm by Bourgoin, Adèle is a feisty, unflappable and brilliantly caustic heroine. The lunatic plot finds her in Egypt, turned tomb raider to find the mummy of a famed ancient Egyptian doctor. If Adèle’s scientist friend can bring him back to life, this mummy may just be able to cure her sister – languishing in a coma after a freak accident. As well as outrunning balls of fire, Adèle must evade her arch nemesis (Mathieu Amalric, virtually unrecognisable in shrivelled, syphilitic prosthetics).
Back in fin-de-siècle Paris – recreated in ravishing detail – Adèle’s scientist tests his technique on a dinosaur egg, wreaking mayhem on the city by bringing to life a pterodactyl. There is a lot to enjoy in this frantic farce, not just the sumptuous locations, but some pleasingly grisly touches – like the gothic spectacle of Adèle’s sister lying in a coma, a nail protruding from her head – and some wonderfully groovy mummies (who wake up speaking fluent French, incidentally). But it all plays on one note of droll flippancy, which, while pleasingly mordant, is all style and very little substance.
Author: Cath Clarke