The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec

En Francais native language films are received with extraordinary box offices. The price of VFX is made up in the first day when French cinephiles, young and old, flock to la cinema. Ok, there’ll certainly be a certain amount of snobbery in gay Paris surround Luc Besson’s latest effort, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec, but I doubt the French master will mind as the hip young jeunes flock to see his latest adventure. Despite looking, superficially, like Indiana Jones with nicer dresses, TEAOABS is as French as they get packed with shots of the Eiffel Tower, cigarettes, naked women, guillotines and the sort of humour that a British five year old has outgrown.

Adele Blanc Sec, our eponymous hero, is an explorer/journalist/tomb raider who brings a mummy back from Egypt so that it can be brought back to life in order to heal her comatose sister. Pretty weighty stuff, right? She’s a likable enough heroine full of spunk and one liners that don’t translate terribly well. On top of her problems there’s a CGI pterodactyl terrorizing the Parisians with a  combination of its lethal attacks and unpronounceable name. You might be forgiven for thinking that this seems like a Spielberg adventure and in many ways it has a Jurassic Park feel. But the lightness of the comic book material is unavoidable and on occasions it just lacks the adult friendly feel of Hollywood’s best globe trotting fare.

The film’s biggest star Mathieu Amalric is hidden behind such deep layers of prosthetics that I had to wait until the credits to work out which character he was playing, so the bulk of the material falls onto the shoulders of former TV weather girl Louise Bourgoin. She, along with the rest of the French cast, strive admirably to create comic book characters in the vein of the film adaptation of Asterix and Obelix but here the effect is slightly more incongruous.

This film is ideally suited to precocious yet fundamentally immature children. Fun but juvenile.

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