The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec

Viewed – 17 August 2013  Blu-ray

At one time Luc Besson was regarded as one of the coolest directors around and for me at least crafted one of the finest thrillers ever made, Leon.  Although he continued with various moderate hits (most notably The Fifth Element) he soon disappeared, preferring to put his talents to writing and producing other people’s movies (Taken, The Transporter), as if still wishing to keep his name out there but rarely committing himself to directing again … until now.


This French take on Indiana Jones and based itself on a series of graphic novels stars the rather gorgeous Louise Bourgoin as a popular writer and globe trotting adventurer in early 20th century France who is seeking a cure for her twin sister’s illness.  She travels to Egypt to unearth a pharaoh’s tomb, whilst in Paris an ageing scientist unwittingly resurrects a prehistoric pterodactyl, causing mayhem on the Parisian streets.  This is a fun and energetic movie with decent production values that show off the Paris locations beautifully, and with a wealth of oddball characters this was rarely dull.  Yet some of the French humor is fairly hit and miss, relying a bit too much on corny dialogue and slapstick, whilst a villain introduced early on just kind of gets forgotten about.

On a plus, Besson’s direction is slick and eye-catching, even if the cool action he is known for takes a back seat to knockabout farce.  Moments like a group of dead-pan mummies and an atmospheric tomb raiding stand out, but overall this just felt a bit too Saturday matinee light with a narrative that seems to jump all over the place.  CGI is pretty good however for a foreign production and with a great score by frequent Besson collaborator Eric Serra, I was still entertained.

So not a bad effort for a French adventure movie, but for a Besson comeback … this really needed to wow, but failed.

Verdict:  3 /5

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