I absolutely love Shout! Factory. I don't want to seem naïve. They are a business and their goal is to make money. However, they do it with another goal in mind as well. Instead of just playing it safe and releasing things everyone knows the masses are going to gobble up, they act as treasure hunters.
Shout! Factory recovers lost gems of the past and newer films other companies won't give a chance. They continue this trend with French filmmaker Luc Besson's "The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec." Originally released in 2010, this big-screen adaptation of Jacques Tardi's acclaimed graphic novels is every bit as potent as any of the ones being made in the U.S. from the likes of Rick Riordan, Stephenie Meyer, and others.
In 1912, reporter and adventurer Adele Blanc-Sec (Louise Bourgoin) embarks on a journey to Egypt to unearth the mummy of Ramses II's personal doctor. Her plan is to bring the mummy back with her to France, where she'll raise him from the dead and ask for his assistance in healing her catatonic sister (Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre). Little does she know of the perils awaiting her when she returns to Paris. While she's been away, a 136 million year old egg has hatched in the Natural History Museum. A wild pterodactyl now flies the skies in search of its next meal. Only Adele possesses the knowledge to tame the prehistoric beast.
Director Luc Besson successfully blends together the excitement of adventure movies like "The Mummy" and "Indiana Jones" with an emotional depth usually only found in foreign romantic dramas. He finds a perfect balance of quirkiness, action, comedy, romance, and crisis. With these ingredients, Besson creates a truly unique fantasy film that will appeal to female and male audiences alike.
Louise Bourgoin is perfect in the role of Adele Blanc-Sec. The role appears to come naturally to the actor, as she hops on the back of a pterodactyl for a ride or falls through the floor of a pyramid inside the coffin of an ancient pharaoh while dressed in a petticoat and bonnet. It's very much like witnessing Mary Poppins work as an archaeologist instead of a nanny.
The special effects and CGI used in "The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec" look just as good, if not better at times, than anything we see in American-made films. The pterodactyl and mummies we see are frighteningly lifelike. This keeps the audience from being taken out of the viewing experience or getting distracted from the storytelling.
"The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec" is presented in 1080p widescreen (2.35:1) accompanied by 5.1 DTS Master Audio. The picture is clear and the color balance is beautiful and vibrant. The surround mix is used to its full extent through the movie's wonderful musical score and bombastic sound effects.
Special Features included in the Blu-ray edition of "The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec" consist of a few different items. "The Making of 'The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec' features interviews with the cast and crew as well as behind-the-scenes footage. There's also a music featurette and deleted scenes.
The movie is rated PG for some violence, language, brief sensuality, and rude humor. There's really only one scene of a "dancer" wiggling around on a man's lap making sensual noises for parents of youngsters to deal with. The rest of the content isn't anything we haven't already seen in a Harry Potter or Indiana Jones film.
"The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec" will appeal to fans of Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and other film adaptations of YA novels. Imagine any of those movies given an injection of French sophistication and classiness and you get a good idea of what to expect. It also puts a female in the lead role of an adventure film, which we don't see very often and will no doubt please many women (and men).
"The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec" is available now on Blu-ray.