Saturday, November 12, 2011

3 Short Paragraphs: The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec

2010, Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, Leon, The 5th Element) -- download

This movie is based on a 70s french comic book series from Jacque Tardi, a contemporary of Mobius.  In a time when Barbarella was the height of female comic stars, Tardi wanted to do something for female empowerment without the heightened sexuality. The stories are about a female fiction writer and investigative journalist who gets mixed up in mystical mayhem with a wink-wink-nod-nod to historical events.  From pterodactyls to egyptian mummies to demonic cults, she does have a knack for finding the weird.

Luc Besson, who these days is normally playing producer for things like The Transporter and Banlieue 13, directs this cheerful flick that most will dub as being Amelie meets Indiana Jones but that is a little disingenuous as I am sure there was more tomb robbing going before Indie.  As for the Jean-Pierre Jeunet comparison, that is a little more apt as the crazy characters and whimsy the movie carries makes us smile like Jeunet does. Besson just has fun with this movie, drawing a thousand connections between characters, delivering CGI and exaggerated makeup in droves but without depending on it to attract the viewers.

The heroine Adele is trying to revive her sister from a coma that came about during a feverish game of tennis and an unfortunate encounter with a hatpin. Of course, where else would you look but in the skills of the mummy of a doctor that served Ramses II ?  Add to that a friend who can revive the dead with psychic capabilities and an unhatched egg of a pterodactyl and she causes quite the stir in early 20th century Paris.  Louise Bourgoin as Adele is absolutely enchanting and I admit that fully as I would have probably been as smitten as Zborowski was upon meeting this confident, adventurous woman that it seems only Paris can create.  Le sigh.