The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec is almost too precious for its own good. It’s so enraptured with the world it creates–Paris in 1911, where pterodactyls and mummies can come back to life–it sometimes forgets to get the viewer as involved.
Besson does a fantastic job bringing that world to life and a lot of it is close to being his best work… but there’s a disconnect. The beginning takes quite a while to introduce the lead–Louise Bourgoin makes the film as the titular Adèle–and in that instance, it has some charm. It seems like the supporting cast is going to have something to do with her. Regardless of the actual plot, she’s got to be the focus.
But she’s often not. I mean, she doesn’t even have a scene with Gilles Lellouche, who has the second-most screen time. He’s a comic police inspector who’s crossing paths with everyone but Bourgoin.
I imagine it’s a facet faithful to the source comic book (which I have unfortunately yet to read–Tardi is fantastic and is only now getting translated and printed in the States). In other words, there’s Besson being too precious again. It feels like he’s doing a straight narrative adaption of the source material, instead of making the storytelling approach appropriate for film.
There are some nice supporting performances, particularly from Jacky Nercessian and Nicolas Giraud.
Besson’s enthusiasm to sell it as a franchise leaves the ending wanting, making a film with the potential to be singular just good instead.
Directed by Luc Besson; screenplay by Besson, based on the comic book by Jacques Tardi; director of photography, Thierry Arbogast; edited by Julien Rey; music by Eric Serra; production designer, Hugues Tissandier; produced by Virginie Silla; released by EuropaCorp Distribution.
Starring Louise Bourgoin (Adèle Blanc-Sec), Mathieu Amalric (Dieuleveult), Gilles Lellouche (Inspecteur Albert Caponi), Jean-Paul Rouve (Justin de Saint-Hubert), Jacky Nercessian (Marie-Joseph Espérandieu), Philippe Nahon (Le professeur Ménard), Nicolas Giraud (Andrej Zborowski), Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre (Agathe Blanc-Sec), Gérard Chaillou (Président Armand Fallières), Serge Bagdassarian (Ferdinand Choupard), Claire Perot (Nini les Gambettes), François Chattot (Raymond Pointrenaud), Stanislas De la Tousche (Le chauffeur Pointrenaud) and Youssef Hajdi (Aziz).