Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 12A
  • Action, Adventure
  • 2010
  • 107 mins

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec


There are equal parts fantasy, adventure, whimsy and retro chic in this live-action comicbook adaptation from Luc Besson.


In Luc Besson's The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec, the viewer, like its hapless Inspector Albert Caponi (Gilles Lelouche), must get to the bottom of a crazy plot involving a resurrected pterodactyl, a mad scientist (Jacky Nercessian), Egyptian mummies, and of course the plucky adventuress of the title (Louise Bourgoin). Yet the connections between these different elements are gradually revealed to be pure, inconsequential whimsy, all rooted in an improbable tennis-court incident.

Drawn from the comicbooks of Jacques Tardi, roving novelist-cum-journalist Adele Blanc-Sec falls between the unstoppable curiosity of Tintin, the grave-robbing retro-adventurism of Indiana Jones, and the wide-eyed, haute-coutured feyness of Amelie. Her feistiness, her independence, and her refusal to respect any (masculine) authority might make Blanc-Sec something of a feminist icon avant la lettre, but the unhappy obverse of her dominance in the film is an army of thinly-drawn, largely supine males in her orbit - including Blanc-Sec's anodyne admirer (Nicolas Giraud), her arch nemesis (Mathieu Amalric, unrecognisable and wasted), a lecherous President (Gerard Chaillou), a big game hunter (Jean-Paul Rouve), and, of course, the clueless Caponi.

Perhaps this is just payback for all the weak female characters decorating the background of so many other action/adventure films, but these men are never engaging enough to carry the film's dizzying multitude of subplots, and are painted too broadly, indeed too cartoonishly, to offer the film the kind of sophistication to which it at times seems to be aspiring. So by all means savour the pretty pictures, the immaculate costumes, the lavishly reconstructed Belle Epoque Paris - but by the time the 'titanic' ending points towards a sequel (in keeping with the serial nature of the film's source), most viewers will probably feel that they have already had enough of Mlle Blanc-Sec and her quirky escapades.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Gilles Lellouche, Philippe Nahon, Jacky Nercessian, Mathieu Amalric, Jean-Paul Rouve
  • Director: Luc Besson
  • Screen Writer: Luc Besson
  • Photographer: Thierry Arbogast
  • Composer: Eric Serra

In a nutshell

A manic mash-up of The Mummy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Q - The Winged Serpent and Night At The Museum, where a pterodactyl chick meets retro chic.

by Anton Bitel

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Thunder Island

    Thriller. A hit man (Gene Nelson) is hired to kill a former Caribbean dictator. He abducts a couple and their boat to reach the despot's island, but then his plans go badly wrong.

    On Film4: 6 Oct 11:00AM

  • Film4

    The Enchanted Forest

    An old man raises a young boy who became lost in the woods, teaching him about life and nature

    On Film4: 5 Oct 11:00AM

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF: five favourites

    Elena Lazic reports from the Toronto International Film festival on her five favourites of the fest. The Lobster Yorgos Lanthimos' success in realising the usually disastrous combination of farci

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF: five favourites

    Manuela Lazic reports from the Toronto International Film Festival on five favourites from the fest. The Witch What if the sorceresses and deadly spells in which people believed so fervently in th

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register