Friday 4 November 2011

Film: The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010)

Something different in the way of cinematic pleasure this time. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is a French film (subtitled) based on a Franco-Belgian comic strip relating the varied fantastical adventures of Adèle (Louise Bourgoin) a resourceful young reporter and author.

The place is Paris, the time a hundred years ago. The plot concerns Adèle's attempts to find a way of curing her twin sister, who has been in a coma for five years following a freak accident. Her search involves an Indiana Jones-style escapade in Egypt to find and recover the mummy of a noted doctor to a pharaoh (whom she believes is the only person who might succeed in reviving her sister). She hopes that a scientist, Professeur Espérandieu, will be able to bring the mummy back to life - as the Professeur has developed a telepathic method for rousing the dead. Unfortunately, in Adèle's absence he has been practicing his skills and has managed to cause a pterodactyl to hatch from its egg in a museum and terrorise Paris, resulting in his arrest. So first Adèle has to spring him from prison, then get him to revive the mummy so it can treat her sister, but (needless to say) all does not go to plan. To make matters worse, a big-game hunter has been recruited to shoot the pterodactyl, but its fate is closely tied to that of the Professeur.

This film certainly dispels any notion that the French can't take a joke against themselves. Many of the characters are broad caricatures of French stereotypes, with only Adèle being played straight - if you can believe in a young woman who confidently overcomes all obstacles, including imminent execution, with remarkable style and sang-froid. This is a zany comedy (some might say bonkers) with a laugh in every scene, and is quite unlike anything else; The Mummy might be the closest I've seen, although in comparison that seems like a serious horror drama.

The film might best be summed up as "magnificently silly". It is intended to be the first of a trilogy, which I hope comes to pass: I'll be waiting in the queue to see the others.


Carl V. Anderson said...

This sounds great! I'll be tracking down a copy as it looks like just the kind of quirky fun foreign film that I have enjoyed in the past.

Anthony G Williams said...

I hope you do, Carl, I'd be interested in your views on it.