The title of this movie, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec, tells you everything you need to know about it. This is a loud and stylish French fantasy adventure movie in the vein of Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, and The Mummy. The movie doesn’t take itself too seriously and neither should you. This is a fun romp for all the fans of the genre involving a lot of crazy shit. We’ve got pterodactyls, mummies from Egypt, supernatural events, and feisty Adele, trying to make sense of it all. The director and writer of this movie is none other than Luc Besson (Leon, The Fifth Element).
At this point, I should tell you that The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is actually based on a graphic novel of the same name by Jacques Tardi. Adele here is much sexier than in the graphic novel series, something we were expecting from Besson. There’s a certain bathtub scene that was very arousing. You can also count on excellent production values and special effects. After all, this is a $30 million movie made in France. And that’s just the thing, it’s got that “made for domestic market” vibe going on.
This can be refreshing if you’re looking for a twist on your classic fantasy adventure movie. If, however, you’re looking for something all-around great, I’m afraid you won’t find it here. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is definitely a flawed movie. The sudden tonal shifts mess with the atmosphere and the story feels too simplistic. Some of the jokes fall flat on the ground screaming and the acting is average for the most part. However, I must mention Gilles Lellouche as inspecteur Albert Caponi, who was phenomenal.
With all this being said, I think you should think of this movie as an entertaining and fun distraction. And if you’re a fan of Egyptian culture, you’re going to love it even more. As a sucker for pyramids, kings, queens, and the whole Egyptian mythology I loved this aspect of the movie. However, we can see some troubling signs of classical French colonial carelessness, especially when it comes to how the Egyptian characters are portrayed. Moving on, the special effects were excellent, especially the CGI creatures.
And we have to keep in mind the fact that The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is a PG movie kids will surely love. It’s got everything they would want from a movie and it’s quite pacey. For us, adults, there’s also enough content here to keep us entertained throughout. If you’re looking for something for adults, Vidocq and Brotherhood of the Wolf are good choices. Perhaps we could add Belphegor: Phantom of the Louvre to that list as it’s also a stylish French fantasy adventure movie from 2001.
As you can already notice, I skipped the usual short summary section because I don’t want to spoil anything for you. It’s best that you just jump into this one without looking. I also have to add that Louise Bourgoin gave one hell of a performance as Adèle Blanc-Sec. She’s not only beautiful and infinitely charming but also someone who knows how to play their character just right. Not too over-the-top and not entirely straight, just the right amount of loose and serious.