Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec

(Another old post finally being finished...)

To begin with a confession, I suppose - I haven't seen The Mummy, or some of the Indiana Jones movies, or any of the Tomb Raider films, and nor have I read the French bandes dessinées on which this film is based - so I'm probably even less entitled to comment on it than usual. But this blog is only supposed to be about personal reactions anyway, so here we are.

Actually, I think it's the last omission which probably ought to count against me most. I can see why reviewers have been invoking those English-language reference points, but really, this isn't much of a Hollywood-style action movie. Luc Besson may have had some influence in Hollywood over the years, but he's always been a bit too Frenchly odd, and with its lack of a proper villain and focus on a style-soaked female lead, this is very much a Besson movie. More to the point, with its peculiar sense of partial detachment from any sort of reality, its weird dialogue and disregard for much in the way of psychological reality, it's extremely reminiscent of any number of BDs that I have seen, so I suspect it's pretty faithful to its source.

In case you were wondering, Adèle Blanc-Sec, played by the inevitably winsome Louise Bourgoin, is an Edwardian-period adventuress who is, as it turns out, looking for the mummy of an ancient Egyptian doctor so that she can get it resurrected by a loopy academic psychic, because she knows that the ancient Egyptians had the medical knowledge she needs to cure her sister, who is in a coma with a hat-pin through her skull. Unfortunately, though, the psychic has already resurrected an ancient pterodactyl egg, and the pterodactyl is terrorising Paris. Not that Adèle cares about Paris or anyone else much, it seems - family comes first, and Adèle sets out to deal with her own concerns before anything else, leaving a trail of chaos and one or two accidental deaths in her wake...

It's all rather self-consciously French, too, what with the politicians having affairs with cancan dancers and the gendarmes who insist that they are wine connoisseurs and the Eiffel Tower. Yeah, I guess it could even be called charming. Or at least, charmant. Not without its interest, even. More a curiosity than a masterpiece, though.

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