|The Extraordinary Adventures
of Adèle Blanc-Sec (2013)
(Release date: August 13, 2013) - It is difficult to say why writer-director Luc Besson's light but charming 2010 French fantasy "The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec" had such trouble finding North American distribution. Having taken three years to make its way to the U.S., Shout! Factory has finally, graciously seen fit to pick the title up and give it a lovely (if lightly special-featured) Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Copy release. Based on the comic book series by Jacques Tardi, the tangent-filled, 1912-set narrative ultimately focuses upon intrepid author-adventurer Adèle Blanc-Sec's (Louise Bourgoin) attempts to find and revive the mummified body of ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II as a last-ditch effort to save her ailing sister, wide-eyed but comatose since suffering a tennis injury involving a hairpin. Returning to Paris, Adèle soon has also gotten involved with Professor Esperandiéu (Jacky Nercessian) and Inspector Albert Caponi (Gilles Lellouche) in the search for a pterodactyl loose in the city, its 136-million-year-old egg having miraculously hatched in the Gallery of Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy. "The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec" is a hybrid of "Amélie," "Indiana Jones," "Jurassic Park" and "The Adventures of Tintin" all rolled into one. Overstuffed but enjoyable, the film is, perhaps, so very quickly paced that it never stops long enough to give its story the emotional gravitas Besson is hoping for. Nevertheless, it's got first-rate, photorealistic CGI effects, fine period art direction and costumes, and features an irresistible lead performance from Louise Bourgoin as the title explorer.
With a sole exceptiona noise-filled nighttime establishing shot of Paristhe 1080p picture transfer for "The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec" is pretty much flawless, as vivid, dimensional and unblemished as one always hopes sturdily budgeted new releases will appear on Blu-ray. If the film is quite the looker, its DTS-HD 5.1 Audio is its sonic counterpart in every way. Avoid the English 5.1 track because, seriously, who wants to watch an awkward dubbed movie in 2013? Instead, go straight for the French 5.1 track, flip on those subtitles, and enjoy the immersive sound the way it was meant to be heard.
The Making of "The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec," which thankfully goes into further detail than your standard-issue EPK (26:04, HD); Deleted Scenes (2:06, HD); Music Featurette (1:51, HD)
Leave it to Shout! Factory to bring attention to a recent foreign title that didn't receive the U.S. theatrical release and studio support it deserved. "The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec" is not a great movie, but it is an original one, bursting with quirky appeal and certainly mainstream enough to captivate adventure-loving viewers of pretty much any age. This gorgeous-looking Blu-ray is an easy recommendation.