One of my favorite parts of working even on the fringes of the entertainment field is discovering new movies, books or comics that I might not have otherwise encountered and then telling other people about how great they are. I watched The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec by director and writer Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) because I was offered a review copy of the Blu-ray (released this week through Shout Factory) and accepted because I’m a fan of Besson’s and the concept sounded right up my alley. Plus, I think you can tell just by looking at the cover to the left if it’s the kind of thing you’re going to enjoy. A fancy lady riding a flying dinosaur in front of a pyramid surrounded by cartoonish looking dudes? Yeah, I’m in.
Based on existing adventure stories, the film follows the exploits of French archaeologist and explorer Adele Blanc-Sec (Louise Bourgoin) as she investigates mummies in an attempt to help her sister who was gravely injured years prior. Meanwhile, she also has to deal with a pterodactyl recently hatched from an egg in a French museum and a bunch of reanimated mummies. I got an Indiana Jones vibe from it before even watching, something that was confirmed — though with fewer punches and explosions — while watching.
Bourgoin’s portrayal of the character really anchors this movie which has a very cartoony feel to it aside from its title star. Most of the men in the film have exaggerated facial features and look like something out of Adventures of TinTin if it was done practically instead of through motion capture and CGI. But none of this seems to phase Ms. Blanc-Sec who carries herself much like Mina Murray did in the pages of Alan Moore’s various League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics. She’s cool, calm and confident, never letting a situation get beyond her control. She’s the smartest person in the room, which certainly comes in handy when that room turns out to be a highly flammable Egyptian tomb.
Most of all, I enjoyed the level of fun this movie brought into my life. Yes, it’s got interesting looking characters and relationships I could easily invest in, but it also has great action scenes that kept me from checking my phone or going on the computer. Even the dinosaur and mummy special effects shots look great, which isn’t much of a surprise considering how adept Besson is at using special effects without letting them take over.
Even the fact that the film was shot in France and features an all French cast speaking French wasn’t much of a roadblock. I assume there’s a subtitled version that’s super solid on the Blu-ray, but as you know, I’m a fan of dubbing. The vocal performers were top notch all around and gave great performances. Thumbs up all around!