"Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Leon) plonks himself back in the director’s chair to tell the tale of Adele Blanc Sec, a feisty young writer with a passion for globetrotting and tomb raiding. Besson transports us back to the wild days of early Twentieth Century Paris, where Adele Blanc Sec (Louise Bourgoin) embarks on a mission to find a cure for her ailing sister. Based on the comic book series by Jacques Tardi, Besson’s exhausting return to cinematic excess finds us taking in bumbling cops, mummified corpses, 136 million-year old pterodactyl eggs and freak sporting accidents – if you’re thinking Amélie meets Indiana Jones you’re onto a winner.
Adele sails to Egypt in order to raid a tomb that may or may not hold the cure, but Mathieu Amalric - unrecognisable and underused as arch-nemesis Dieuleveult - has other plans in store. Back in Paris Adele finds the city in chaos when a pterodactyl egg hatches and wreaks havoc on the luckless inhabitants. Add to the mix an inept hunter called Justin de Saint-Hubert (Jean-Paul Rouve), the promise of romance with spellbound scientist Andrej Zborowski (Nicholas Giraud,) and a scene-stealing turn from police inspector Leonce Caponi (Gilles Lellouche), and Luc Besson’s long awaited comeback dazzles, delights and frustrates in equal measures.
The opening act suggests an Indiana Jones style adventure, but with so many offbeat characters waiting in the wings, the movie shifts its focus to Jacques-Clouseau-style farce and Amélie-light flights of fancy. Disappointing if you’re hoping for high-octane adventure, but Adele Blanc Sec compensates with its energetic lead turns and laugh-out-loud comedy interludes. Former weathergirl Louise Bourgoin makes for an adorable screen heroine, both feisty and fun, and Besson lights up the screen with his steampunk vision of Paris.
It’s an exhilarating journey from start to finish - off its rocker and on another planet entirely. The relentless absurdity does get a little tiresome come the final act, and some of the CG effects lack polish, but Adele Blanc Sec makes for an unusual and original night in all the same. Extraordinary indeed."