On improvising a burglary at a shady tycoon's home, Fred takes refuge in the hip and surreal universe of the Paris Metro and encounters its assorted denizens, the tycoon's henchmen and his disenchanted young wife.
Desperate to cure her near catatonic sister, intrepid authoress Adèle Blanc-Sec braves ancient Egyptian tombs and modern Egyptian lowlife to locate a mummified doctor and get him back to Paris. Her hope is that oddball Professor Espérandieu will then use his unusual powers to bring the doctor back to life so he, in turn, can use his centuries-old skills on the unfortunate sister. In Paris however Espérandieu is already causing mayhem, having brought to life what was a safe museum egg but is now a very active pterodactyl. Paris 1911 may not be the healthiest place to be.Written by
President Fallières has a Scotch terrier called Nelson. This is ironic given that two of greatest defeats suffered by the French Navy (the Battles of the Nile and Trafalgar) were inflicted by the British admiral, Horatio Nelson. See more »
Near the opening scenes, immediately after the can-can scene, when Mr Ferdinand Choupard arrives in front of the Jeanne D'Arc monument, the speaker says he's in the "place des pyramides" but it appears the place got this name only in 5 January 1932: in 1911, at the time when the story goes, its name was still "place de Rivoli". See more »
The initial credits show Egyptian figures next to the names the contributors. The figures are based on traditional Egyptian art, but with modifications reflecting the role of the person name in the credit e.g. carrying musical instruments or a power lead. The figures 'morph' between credits. See more »
US version was cut by ca. 2 minutes to secure a PG rating. The scene where Adèle takes a bath was edited to remove nudity and smoking. In addition Professor Espérandieu's beheading and Adèle's accident at the tennis game were edited to remove frightening images. See more »
The archaeological, action/adventure genre has become increasingly formulaic under Hollywood guidance since its rise to popularity. Conventions inspired by the Indiana Jones films have been adhered to for almost twenty years, with any exceptions failing to break into mainstream Hollywood cinema. However, similarly to his previous work of science-fiction innovation, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, Luc Besson has once again stamped his own authorship onto a popular Hollywood genre.
Unfortunately, whilst the film may be innovative in some respects, it closely upholds many tired stereotypes and immature comedy devices that feel beneath such an esteemed director. One particular scene in which the blundering, Jacques-Clouseau-style police inspector is defecated on really encapsulates the low level to which Besson stoops for comedy at various points in this film. Occasionally descending into unforgivable absurdity, THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADÈLE BLANC-SEC is most definitely a flawed work.
However, with the exception of the aforementioned scenes, this is certainly an enjoyable and very amusing film. Visually, the film is as impressive as any other Besson delivering a triumph of colour and light, framing his shots with beautiful precision and delicacy. Most impressively however is Louise Bourgoin's strength as Besson's Adèle, helping retain much of its intended offbeat charm. The film is essentially entrusted to her and, fortunately, she manages to balance the many aspects of her talented yet vulnerable heroine with particular skill.
Despite a variety of shortcomings, THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADÈLE BLANC-SEC is a pleasing and enjoyable film, and certainly rivals Besson's previous works. 4 out of 5
Cambridge Film Festival Daily
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