The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec - Blu-ray Review

'a glorious pre-teen romp for those of thirteen years and above'

The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec rattles along for long stretches like exactly the kind of well-made Sunday-morning adventure pre-teens have been starved of for the last few years. That is, until director Luc Besson makes a couple of ill-judged choices and takes his vision of Jacques Tardi's comic strip up a few age ratings on the BBFC's sliding scale.

The first of these is a bit of nudity that is about as required as pausing Beauty And The Beast at the mid-point so that Belle can perform a striptease to camera. Fine, its not quite as graphic as that fictitious bit of Disney-porn, but it is as un-expected and could have easily been avoided with the use of some carefully placed bubbles. The second piece of gratuitous detail is the reveal of how Adèle's (Louise Bourgoin) sister, Agathe (Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre) came to be in a coma, a toe-curling 'ooh' moment if ever there was one. That these elements were in the original comic strip is possible and if so then fair play to Besson for sticking by them but the key to making this properly is also in that sentence: it comes from a comic strip, which various mainstream periodicals were happy to publish, why glory in the gory? It just gets away with a 12A but really, this should have been a PG, with a family audience dead in its sights. More importantly, tonally, these elements overtly don't mesh with the rest of the film.

What Adèle Blanc-Sec ends up being therefore is a glorious pre-teen romp for those of thirteen years and above. Adèle is a funnier Lara Croft with a more pronounced attitude and a greater level of charm. Her jet-setting reminisces over the stronger moments of Indiana Jones and takes in a softer-than-he-looks pterodactyl and a mummy who acts and sounds like he was bought to life by Russell Brand.

The CGI may be ropey but Besson's visual jokes are occasionally superb and feature fantastic comic timing. 'By the grace of God', shouts a character at one point, blaspheming in the direction of the heroine. Cut to shot of Adèle looking particularly pious in full nun costume. Bourgoin is also a highlight, effusing warmth and resilience and making Adèle both a heroine you can sympathise with and one whose action-adventure leanings are believable. The end looks slightly ill-advisedly towards a sequel, something that, given the film's limited audience outside of France, large-ish budget (€25million) and somewhat age-diminished returns, Besson is unlikely ever to make.

Look further...

'don't you dare let the subtitles discourage you from checking out this blindingly bold and universally appealing joy' - The Crab Shack

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