“Adele” twists on “Tintin”...or “Indiana Jones” meets “Mary Poppins” @ 15 August 2013 05:25 PM
Like the Belgian comic book series "The Adventures of Tintin," "The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec" is a beloved comic book series in France. "Tintin" became two animated series and a 2011 Steven Spielberg motion-capture Hollywood spectacular, while "Adele" was adapted into this more modest (though certainly flashy) French live-action feature in 2010.

This new DVD of "Adele," directed by Luc Beeson ("The Fifth Element"), includes an English dubbed version as well as the original subtitled French language version. The bonus features are in French with English subtitles. Usually it’s not recommended to watch the bonus features first, but in this case, if you’re not familiar with the Adele character or the comics, it actually enhances watching the film and gaining excitement for the experience.

Some have compared "The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc Sec" to an Indiana Jones movie, and there are indeed some scenes that resemble the first in the film series (Adele runs through a pyramid from an explosion much as Indy ran from the giant ball), but it’s a different kind of narrative. Right from the opening narration, "Adele" is a highly polished satirical farce, consistently poking fun at pompous types. There’s a bumbling duo in this film that are reminiscent of the spies in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

But there were no pterodactyls or mummies in "Chitty." And even though you’ll see them in "Adele", they may surprise you.

Adele herself, as played by Louise Bourgoin, is a bit of a smart aleck. In her turn-of-the-century posh frock, Adele nay resemble Mary Poppins or Truly Scrumptious, but with a more irreverent attitude.

Beeson apparently cast Bourgoin because of her talent for mimicry and ability to play multiple roles. She was also primarily a TV rather than a movie presence so the most audiences would accept her as Adele and not as a big name movie star.

Though the film rambles at times (it’s based on two graphic novels), "Adele" is a jaunty romp that never takes itself as, say, the recent "Adventures of Tintin," which had humor but had anything but a light touch. The most serious and heartrending moments in "Adele" concern her disabled sister, the freak accident that caused it and how it motivates Adele in her various quests and gives the story a thread.

Speaking of Adele’s sister, there are a few deleted scenes in the bonus features that showcase the zany side of the two trouble-prone young ladies in their earlier days.

There’s also a feature about Bourgoin’s singing of the end title song, a peppy tune that has a very European sound, very unlike pop in the U.S., at least of recent years. It’s very catchy stuff.

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