THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC-SEC/ LES AVENTURES EXTRAORDINAIRES DE ADELE BLANC-SEC
France, 2010, 107 minutes, Colour.
Louise Bourgoin, Mathieu Amalric, Gilles Lellouche, Jean- Paul Rouve,Jackie Necissian, Philippe Nahon, Nicolas Giraud.
Directed by Luc Besson.
For more than three decades, French director Luc Besson has made quite a range of interesting films including La Femme Nikita, The Professional, The Messenger about Joan of Arc. But he has been interested in science fiction as well as fantasy, The Fifth Element considered something of a classic. But he is also fond of action films and is directed or produced a great number of these, especially the Transporter and Taxi series.
He has written and directed this film based on a series of stories of the early 20th century, a heroine who is a journalist, travels for exciting adventures, does some tomb raiding and finding a Pharaoh in Egypt, wanting to use an ancient Egyptian doctor to bring to life her sister whom she had accidentally killed after a game of tennis and has kept in her apartment. She has a friend, a professor, who has discovered secrets of the afterlife.
In the meantime, the professor has been able to raise a pterodactyl in a Museum. The creature flies around the city, causing accidents, the subject of concern by the president and officials.
The film is beautifully presented with the recreation of 1911 in Paris. However, it is not to be taken too seriously at all. Adele’s adventures in Egypt are reminiscent of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The pterodactyl has overtones of the Jurassic Park mentality. And, finally when the professor is able to raise the Egyptians to life, skeletal life, they are in the Louvre and go for a tour of Paris, something like A Night in the Museum!
This story is more successful for audiences and the much more ambitious later film by Besson, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Louise Bourgoin is an attractive and lively heroine – and audiences will find it hard to see Mathieu Amalric under the disguise of her adversary in Egypt.
1. Adventure novels? The imagination? From word to image?
2. The director, his career, his love of action, his love of imagination and fantasy?
3. 1911, France, the beginning of the 20th century, streets in Paris, cars, the city, the bridges, the buildings? The museum? The countryside? Homes and apartments? The musical score?
4. The contrast with Egypt, the country, the pyramids, the tombs, the interiors, the fire, the gold, the mummies? The Nile? Special effects? Action in danger?
5. The imagination, the tradition of Raiders of the Lost Ark? Police French comedy like the Pink Panther series? Creature features and Jurassic Park? The Night at the Museum and the historical characters?
6. The opening, voiceover, Ferdinand and his walk, the pterodactyl, the chief and the dancer in the taxi, into the river? Can Can and double standards of officials? Ferdinand and the interrogation?
7. Adele, in herself, writing the books, journalist? Her sister, sitting dead in the apartment, her care for her? The flashbacks, the tennis match, the accident? Adele and her hopes, allegedly going to Peru, going to Egypt, wanting to find the ancient doctor? The clash with the archaeologist and his malevolent approach? The troops? The action adventure, in the tombs, the thieves, her assistant, finding the passages, finding the tombs? The coffin?
8. The old professor, his age, his apartment, his book on the afterlife, raising the pterodactyl, controlling it with his mind? Its coming to the house, his feeding it, hiding it from the police? His arrest, in prison? Adele and her various disguises to get him out, nurse, nun, men, failure and ousted? His going to the guillotine? Adele riding the pterodactyl? Saving him, his being shot, the pterodactyl shot? Going to the home, the encounter with Adele’s sister, the ritual with the ancient pieces, the spell, his power, his death?
9. The police, the chief, inept, always wanting to eat, the jokes? The Hunter and his appearance, self-importance? The various police helpers? Pterodactyl excrement and pratfall and physical jokes?
10. The Hunter, absurd, shooting the pterodactyl, shooting the professor, escaping, leaping into the cage with the monkeys?
11. The background of the police officials, the president, his dog being taken by the pterodactyl, Adele and her plea for him to pardon the professor?
12. Going to the museum, the nuclear physicist resurrected, healing the sister? Finding the Pharaoh, the other members from the tombs? The resurrection? The Pharaoh and his behaviour? Their going on a tour of the city?
13. The museum, the old professor, the raising of the pterodactyl? Andrej, his infatuation with Adele, the book signing? Writing her all the letters? Nervous? Helping her with the pterodactyl and its location? The bouquet – and her sister accepting it?
14. A feelgood fantasy – more for adults than children?