Sunday, December 5, 2010

French Kicks And Dinosaur Riding Chicks

Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec(The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec)(2010)

Directed By Luc Besson

Ever wanted to see a beautiful French woman in the early 1900's ride a pterodactyl over Paris and resurrect Egyptian mummies?

Of course you have.

I can't imagine why something as easily accessible as this, managed to go so long under the radar.

"The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec" mainstream fare, based on a French comic book series from 1970's (I only stumbled across the film while searching for the books).

The series is about a sort of female Indiana Jones of journalism who travels to the most exotic corners of the world for the most incredible stories, tangling with monsters and villains (all referred to in the film, in passing, as if it's been going on for years like "The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzia")

Adele Blanc-Sec("like the dry white wine") is not the rock-em sock-em adventure type, never resorting to or seemingly capable of kicking anyone's ass.
This lack of traditional heroic violence (like the recently ignored "Micmacs") probably contributed to the film getting little to any international press or acclaim.
Fantagraphics editor Kim Thompson says of the difficulty in marketing the comic series abroad that there is what I call the popularity paradox, which is that sometimes the most popular French work is the hardest to sell as compared to the "art" comics because the more mainstream work loses some of its "alternative" audience without replacing it with a "mainstream" audience.
So Adele, with its playful Euro adventure tropes, is in some ways less accessible to American readers.

The film however is akin to Hollywood no-brainers like Stephen Sommer's "The Mummy" franchise, with action replaced by light-comedy recalling some slapstick moments from the "The Fifth Element" and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's comedies.

The film is all around nice swift-footed family fare, without resorting to either romantic or family themed sub-plot bullshit that usually weighs such things down like Guy Ritchie’s bromantic “Sherlock Holmes”.

Adele is out to save her sister, but this motivation is not explained til the films conclusion, leaving the rest open to hijinks, bumbling policeman, and well pterodactyls...

Besson has not advanced by any leaps or bounds, but it's an enjoyable and odd, little film from a film maker comfortable in his talents placing female heroines’ in bizarre situations, and getting us to root for them.

In any number of other films and situations I would probably consider the last sentence pejorative, insisting there should be MORE, but with Besson and a film like this it would just seem silly, sillier than anything that happens.

Sillier than the films ending-sequel suggestion "Adele Blanc-Sec and The Mysterious Case Of The Titanic".

Enjoy your popcorn.
I did.

No comments: