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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Louise Bourgoin
Mathieu Almaric
Nicolas Giraud
Gilles Lellouche
Jacky Nercessian.
Directors
Luc Besson.
Screenwriters
Luc Besson.
Running Time
107 minutes

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Adele Blanc-Sec
Besson is back!


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Plot
Paris, 1911: When a pterodactyl hatches in a museum and begins terrorising the town, clueless detective Caponi (Lellouche) seeks the connection between the prehistoric menace, a mad old professor (Nercessian) conducting resurrection experiments and intrepid reporter Adèle Blanc-Sec (Bourgoin), whose pursuit of ancient artefacts is a desperate personal mission...


Review
Adele Blanc-Sec
Amélie meets Indiana Jones in a charming, funny and exciting escapade. The French love their comic books, and it’s great to see Luc Besson sufficiently enamoured of Jacques Tardi’s sexy Adèle Blanc-Sec serials to set aside his producing activities long enough to direct one with his habitual lashings of personal style and a still-youthful energy. Adapted by Besson from two of Tardi’s ‘albums’ (Adèle Et La Bête and Momies En Folie, comics connoisseurs), it’s an offbeat ripping yarn, with a plucky, resourceful, unflappable heroine (Louise Bourgoin) who romps from Egyptian tomb to tennis court in picturesque big hats and pre-First World War skirts but a thoroughly modern spirit.

Besson and his regular director of photography since La Femme Nikita, Thierry Arbogast, and Joan Of Arc production designer Hugues Tissandier have created a wonderful, visually rich early 20th century Paris in which boulevardiers, can-can dancers, politicians, le bon ton, scholars and a Scottish terrier mingle fantastically with re-animated prehistorical and mummified beings. Adèle also journeys to Egypt — references to her previous adventures make clear her renown for globe-trotting exploits in search of myth and mystery — where a treasure hunt gets tricky and dangerously confrontational with the entrance of sinister tomb raider/rival Dieuleveult (an alarmingly prostheticised Mathieu Amalric). Meanwhile shy scientist Zborowski (Nicolas Giraud) is nurturing an unrequited love for Mlle. Adèle, Adèle’s twin sister lies in near-death catatonia after a spectacularly freaky accident, and the French government has set a mighty big-game hunter (Jean-Paul Rouve as Saint-Hubert) on the trail of the pesky pterodactyl with whom we have every sympathy. Relative newcomers Bourgoin and Giraud are attractively engaging, Bourgoin’s beauteous but no-nonsense Adèle winning over the living, the dead and the indeterminate with her catchphrase/signature move: “Into my arms!”

The actors play it droll but fairly straight through a playful series of set-pieces, like a montage of Adèle’s numerous attempts, in a string of disguises, to break Jacky Nercessian’s decrepit eccentric, Professor Esperandieu (a dead ringer for Ralph Fiennes as the burned English Patient), out of prison, and a close shave with the guillotine that makes breathing difficult from screaming and laughing at the same time.


Verdict
A romp magnifique, with enough thrills, giggles and pretty pictures to reward adventure-lovers who wouldn’t normally entertain the idea of taking in a treat with subtitles. Don’t miss the mid-credits postscript.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Adele Blanc-Sec
Empire Star Rating

Fun film

OH dear some people don't like it and I guess that is why Luc Besson is who he is. He divides people. It's amazing what he has done with the budget as this looks on par with any huge Hollywood production. True to the comics Adele Blanc Sec is a fun film. It is not serious while the humour is of a distincly French tone which may explain why some do not get it. The reality is that unlike much of Besson's recent work this is aimed fair and square at a French audience. This is not a film fo... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by boristhespie at 21:11, 28 April 2011 | Report This Post


RE: The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec

Director/Screenwriter:sson Starring: Bourgoin, Mathieu Amalric, Gilles Lellouche, Jacky Nercessian Synopsis Set in the early 20th Century, novelist Adele Blanc-Sec (Bourgoin) has in her possession a mummy which she wants to resurrect in order to save her dying sister. Meanwhile, a pterodactyl is on the loose in Paris and only Madame Blanc-Sec can save the day. Review It has been said for many years that Luc Leon was going to stop directing and just produce a series of ac... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 18:07, 26 April 2011 | Report This Post


“DARTH VADER” STRIKES BACK – THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC-SEC

I quite liked it. Not much of a fan of Besson in general tho. Here's a copy and paste of my review. - TH VADER” STRIKES BACK – THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC-S The man deemed “The Darth Vader Of French Cinema” returns to directing after a number of years out in the wilderness of producing with The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec, with Luc Besson looking to Jacques Tardi’s forty year-old Franco-Belgian bande dessinee for inspiration. The Extraordinary Adventu... More

Posted by adambatman82 at 15:13, 26 April 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Absolute turkey !!

L: Jasper_29 This film is to Raiders what The Fifth Element was to Blade Runner -- only much, much worse. The acting is average, the humour is poop (literally) and some of the effects make The Mummy Returns look like Oscar material. If you believe this might be a fun adventure film think again, this is garbage of the highest order. Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man..." ... More

Posted by Ti at 05:42, 22 April 2011 | Report This Post


Well...

I thought it was great! I saw a preview screening at the French instiute in London on the 14th April and we enjoyed a Q&A with the leading lady afterwards as well! I thought this was beautifullly shot and very witty and nicely paced. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ktmurphy at 22:19, 21 April 2011 | Report This Post


I really wish I could make my own mind up but it is hardly showing anywhere outside London. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bagrot1 at 15:41, 21 April 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Absolute turkey !!

garbage of the highest order. ike The Fifth Element and Joan of Arc then? ... More

Posted by Deviation at 13:58, 19 April 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Absolute turkey !!

This film is to Raiders what The Fifth Element was to Blade Runner -- only much, much worse. The acting is average, the humour is poop (literally) and some of the effects make The Mummy Returns look like Oscar material. If you believe this might be a fun adventure film think again, this is garbage of the highest order. ... More

Posted by Jasper_29 at 11:11, 19 April 2011 | Report This Post


Absolute turkey !!

Empire, are you kidding ? This is by far Luc Besson's worst film. It is farcical, boring, charmless and the lead has zero charisma. I'm astonished at your review.. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by SEEDA at 09:53, 18 April 2011 | Report This Post


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