This is, to me, a typical French film; eccentric, imaginative, wonderful. The only thing that stops it from being perfect is that it’s overly long. I think this is primarily because the character Adèle Blanc-Sec is based on a cartoon series popular in France, and the makers wanted to introduce well known elements such as the character of Professor Dieuleveult (Mathieu Amalric). However, for those unfamiliar with the storyline at least, this is an unwelcome distraction – particularly in the rambling ending.
The film incorporates events from “Adèle and the Beast” from 1976 and 1978’s “Mummies on Parade” and takes place primarily in Paris, 1912.
An overview of the plot is that Professor Espérandieu (Jacky Nercessian) hatches a 136 million year-old pterosaur egg within the Galerie de paléontologie et d’anatomie comparée, whilst experimenting with telepathic techniques he’s been researching. This results in the death of a former prefect and an epidemic of claimed sightings of the creature. The President of France orders the case to be considered of the utmost urgency by the National Police, only for it to be handed down to the bumbling Inspector Albert Caponi (Gilles Lellouche).
The Professor is later located by Caponi and arrested for his part in the events.
We are introduced to Adèle Blanc-Sec (Louise Bourgoin), a journalist and travel writer of some fame, whilst she is in Egypt locating the remains of Ramesses II, or more importantly his mummified doctor/physician Patmosis. She is a former student of the Professor and, with his help, wants to revive the mummy so he can in turn save her sister Agathe (Laure de Clermont, bearing a striking similarity to Boirgoin), who is comatose following an unfortunate tennis incident involving a hatpin.
On her arrival in Paris she learns the Professor is on death row, having been blamed for the pterosaur’s attacks. She at first disguises herself in various personas to attempt to free him. However she later comes face to face with the beast itself – and I’ll leave further events at this point so as not to spoil the plot should you wish to view it yourself.
Apart from the length the story itself is very good, with lots of plot twists, action scenes and humour to keep you more than entertained. The animation is very good also, drawing you into the plot.
Adèle is a wonderful character; witty, courageous, intelligent, stylish and feminine. If my little girls choose her as a role model I’d be more than happy – apart from the smoking of course. She is played brilliantly by the beautiful Bourgoin, with the physicality of the role in keeping with the stature of the female lead unlike in Le Proie.
As the film is set in the early twentieth century the sets and clothes are sumptuous – they make you sigh!
The film ends with a scene depicting the Titanic and a plot by the devilish Professor Dieuleveult, a possible set up of another film which may not occur as this was from 2010.
Despite its length I’d happily watch this again, in fact I have as my daughter is a big fan despite the age restriction. I think this, the age restriction, is because of the brief nudity and the animatronics. The former is innocent, Adèle is simply preparing for a bath, and the latter was just seen as intriguing by her as she’s a big fan of Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures.
Well worth a look!