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The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Blu-ray – Director’s Cut (Blu-ray Review)

Adele-Blanc-secUpon research, I haven’t seen a film from director Luc Besson since 1997’s The Fifth Element.  I really did enjoy his 90s films La Femme Nikita and Leon: The Professional a lot.  I don’t know why I never sought after more of his catalog before.  He has a new film dropping next week (The Family), so this review comes somewhat timely.  The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-sec is an incredibly imaginative, visually stimulating adventure film.  It’ll remind you of some other films of its type, but it’s mixing them together and our unique main character that bring this world into its own.  This universe seems ripe to franchise, but will that ever come to fruition?  Either way, this film is fine to stand on its own or act as a launching pad for a bigger narrative.

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Film 

Journalist and travel writer, Adele Blanc-sec finds herself amidst many obstacles in this film adventure.  Her primary objective is to revive an ancient mummy to hopefully restore her sister to life after being in a vegetative state.  However, her assistance in that, Professor Esperandieu is put on death row after telepathically awakening a pterodactyl from an egg in a museum.  Adele must use her abilities to free Esperandieu and help to put a stop to the pterodactyl menace first, before getting to the whole “mummy thing” to waken her sister.

This film is apparently an adaptation of a comic book that Luc Besson was trying for years to bring to the screen.  With strong female protagonists done well in his previous work, Adele is not surprisingly something he’d have an eye for.  This particular film combines that of two story arcs and fuses them together into one big adventure covering many grounds.

Adele Blanc-sec’s film debut is a wild mish mash of other things.  To describe the movie to a novice, it plays as a cross between Q: The Winged Serpent, Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Mummy.  The film has a wild cartoonish vibe.  As a matter of fact it plays very much as a live action cartoon.  There’s a lot of goofiness and some zany side characters as well.  The film also does run through a few bits that feel a bit like sketch comedy.  Like I said, the film is a wild assortment of things.  I was taken in particularly early with the very Indiana Jones introduction to Adele.  But once that segment is over, it never really covers that territory again.

I wanted to say that this is a really good family adventure. And as I was watching it, it felt that way, until there was a fully nude scene of Adele taking a bath.  Then later on, there’s a pretty gruesome act of violence that isn’t incredibly graphic but is a bit painful of a watch.  So, I really don’t know how to place it.  You can watch it with the kids, but there are two parts to hide their eyes?

Overall, The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-sec is a nice entertaining popcorn adventure featuring some great cinematography, cooky characters and impressive CG effects work.  The name of the game here is some light-hearted fun and adventure akin to an Indiana Jones film.  We have a very strong leading lady with a nice performance in turn.  It may go thematically all over the place, but that’s part of the ride this movie takes you on.

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Video 

The 2:34.1 framed 1080p MPEG-4 AVC picture is quite gorgeous.  This film has a lot of beautiful sets and costuming and it all shines under this transfer.  Colors are nice and vibrant and the image has a nice sharpness to compliment it.  All the CG work also shows up nicely in the picture and doesn’t appear “obvious” as sometimes this stuff can when it comes to Blu.  Detail is quite good as you can clearly make out moles on faces, hairs on a mustache and the texture of fabrics.  With the complimentary photography on this movie, this picture really looks quite stunning.

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Audio 

The French 5.1 DTS-HD MA track enhances every thrill watching the film.  Making full use of your subwoofer, you get to feel the impact of crashes or the running motor of an old jalopy.  The pterodactyl swoops around from speaker to speaker.  The track is a good representation of why you should have a home theater system.  The score is nice and full without distracting any other attributes.  The dialogue is nice, clear and loud.  The narrator at the beginning is a little bit too much on the low end, but he’s done talking after about 5 minutes.  Other audio tracks provided are a French PCM stereo, English DTS-HD MA 5.1, English PCM Stereo.  All in all the, video and audio on this disc make for a heck of a combo!

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Extras 

All the extras are presented in 1080p high definition with a French stereo PCM audio track.  A DVD copy and digital copy also comes packaged with this release.

The Making Of: The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-sec (26:04) – Luc Besson discusses getting this comic adapted to the screen.  This follows the film through production with interviews featuring the cast, crew and the creator of the comic.

Deleted Scenes (2:06) – All the deleted scenes feature quick moments of Adele and her sister in their youth.  Most likely these were extended/cut moments from what would have been a montage.

  • Adele And Agathe In The Kitchen
  • Adele And Agathe At The Library
  • Adele And Agathe Painting
  • Adele And Agathe Go Shopping

Music Featurette (1:51) – Actress Louise Bourgoin discusses a song recorded for the soundtrack.  We also get a look in at the recording session.

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Summary 

I’m not familiar with the theatrical cut of this film, so I can’t tell you what’s different.  But, the film I did see was a pretty fun if intentionally disjointed in its tone.  Shout! Factory gives this film a top notch presentation in the visual and audio department.  This film will instantly captivate you with its picture and sound quality.  There’s a nice making of featurette that covers a lot of ground one would want after seeing the film.  This is a good release of an almost family friend adventure film.  If there’s ever a sequel (as the end suggests), I’ll definitely regroup with Adele Blanc-sec for another go round in her crazy world.


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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec Blu-ray – Director’s Cut (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Brian White

    Hmmm… “And as I was watching it, it felt that way, until there was a fully nude scene of Adele taking a bath.” People do take baths 🙂 Darn! There goes watching this with my nephew. Was kind of surprised to read this!!!…”Upon research, I haven’t seen a film from director Luc Besson since 1997′s The Fifth Element.” Really?! Why have I never heard of this film before?