The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec started out fine. It had that retro adventure vibe that has worked for most of the Indian Jones movies, the first in The Mummy series and several other films that it is not really my duty to name. Adèle (Louise Bourgoin), our heroine, appears feisty, capable, and in her quest for raiding a pyramid she is more interested in one of the embalmed than she is in the wealth they left behind.
At around the same time that the lovely Ms Blanc-Sec is traipsing around Egypt doing sacrilegious things, an old man in Paris has managed to bring a pterodactyl back to life. And the prehistoric bird of prey is flying over early 20th century Paris creating nuisance of the murderous kind.
Though it is not immediately obvious how, there is a connection between Adèle and the pterodactyl and when that connection was revealed I was pretty impressed. And that was the last positive feeling I had towards this Luc Besson-directed (and scripted) effort. To my mind Mr. Besson has made one truly awesome film–The Fifth Element–and while he deserves credit for consistently bringing interesting female characters to the big screen, I have to say Ms Blanc-Sec left me cold.
Perhaps it is just the actress. Ms Bourgoin is not hard on the eyes. At all. But it appears that she is aware of this fact. And so she doesn’t try, or maybe she did, and tried all the wrong things. I was expecting to enjoy another movie she was in (The Girl From Monaco) a lot more than I did. I did not enjoy that movie at all. And while I was along for the ride on Ms Blanc-Sec’s adventures, I was left tremendously underwhelmed when the final credits rolled.
The movie, as well as Ms Bourgoin’s performance, lacked any sense of fun. Which made proceedings increasingly uninteresting to follow. And while French filmmakers (Mr. Besson included) employ pretty spectacular effects work in their films, Extraordinary Adventures suffered from some really dodgy makeup effects and creature work.
On the positive side, the period design was very cool, it was fun to see neighbourhoods, and buildings, I’ve visited, rendered as they must have appeared nearly a hundred years ago. There was some clever storytelling in the first half of the movie and there were ideas there that could most certainly have been mined for a more enjoyable motion picture than The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec actually ends up being.