Nov 28, 2011

[Movies] The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010)

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (2010)
I admit it's wrong I often think of "foreign movies" to mean "movies that don't come from the US and the Philippines" - you could argue it means I have a US-centric, Western mindset. At the same time though, I don't think of US movies as local - they're just movies. And movies made in the Philippines are "local movies".

Does that even make sense? Anyway.

Foreign movies, as based on the context I provided earlier, tend to be a lot more fun than their US counterparts. Filmmakers have different cultural aesthetics based on what works in their respective countries or regions that gives such movies a unique charm on their own. I can only wonder what foreign movie critics think of the kinds of productions we keep releasing locally year after year.

I feel bad for having delayed watching this movie even though my partner had already acquired a copy some time back. Given it's best seen with subtitles, it was tricky to schedule a time to just sit down and watch it compared to how we normally watch most TV shows and movies - while semi multitasking at our computers or what have you. I know, I know, that's not ideal either, but it's the only way I keep the blog alive with everything else going on in my life.

But enough about that - let's get back to the movie.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec (originally Les Aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec) is a 2010 action adventure movie based on a comic book series of the same name by Jacques Tardi. The movie was directed by Luc Besson, who also wrote the screenplay.

It's 1912 in Paris, France and we are shown an old man, later revealed to be Professor Espérandieu (Jacky Nercessian) appears to fall asleep in his chair and eventually wake up somehow in control of a 136 million year old pterosaur still in its egg. The now-revived dinosaur proceeds to terrorize the city, resulting in the death of a former police prefect as witnessed solely by the then intoxicated Dieuleveut (Mathieu Amalric). Sightings of the creature quickly are quickly reported around the city and the news drives the President to order for all efforts to be made to neutralize the threat.

Les Aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec
Image via Wikipedia
Meanwhile, we are then introduced to journalist Adèle Blanc-Sec (Louise Bourgoin). She travels to Egypt despite the fact she was originally being sent to South America on an assignment due a mission of a more personal nature. Her goal is to locate the tomb of the famed physician of Ramesses II in the hopes of reviving him with the help of Professor Espérandieu (hence the dinosaur revival). She needs the unique expertise of the doctor to help her sister with a particularly difficult case she is suffering from that modern medicine seems unable to resolve.

The movie certainly has a unique tone and appeal all of its own - a weird mix of genres that makes for an interesting final work. The movie itself has some of the frenetic charm we tend to associate with movies like Amélie with a protagonist that is more like a female Indiana Jones without the cleavage of Lara Croft. And the movie caries these diverse elements very well, which is no surprise if you've seen Luc Besson's other movies such as The Fifth Element.

Given the reporter angle, one might think of comparing her to Tintin since she also appears to go on a variety of adventures and investigates mysteries, but that's where the similarity ends. I've always found Tintin to be a lot more level-headed while Adèle has a more frenetic way of going about things that dances on that line between creativity and insanity at times. But she's definitely a smart girl - one who's not willing to mae nay compromises she feels are unnecessary. She's an amazingly likable character and Louise Bourgoin did a stellar job of bringing her to life.

The movie has a light sense of humor all throughout - perhaps something we can thank its comic book origins for or maybe just French sensibilities. The whole angle of the less-than-competent detective is an old trope as far as such movies go, but certainly one that still worked in this particular story. After all, the true hero is a heroine, this being Adèle herself.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is a most enjoyable film filled with ancient secrets, spirited chases and a lot of good action. I'm really glad that I got to watch this movie and I highly recommend it - thus it gets 4.5 crazy disguises Adèle utilizes as she executes her plans out of a possible 5.

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  1. we saw this at Jade's place.

  2. Really fun movie! Hope they continue to film the rest of them.