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The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec

I don’t know why it took me nine years to watch Luc Besson’s The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec, but I’m glad that I finally did. In my defense I hadn’t read the comic series by Jacques Tardi until a couple of years ago, by which time I’d already had the movie in my iTunes library for AGES.

In the event that you haven’t come across this 2010 French-language adventure film yet, I highly recommend it. Set in 1911 Paris, the plot is largely adapted from two different Tardi stories featuring the titular heroine Adèle Blanc-Sec (her surname means “dry white,” as in wine), with little nods and winks to other Tardi stories along the way. The film is live-action with some nicely-done CGI effects, with many of the actors wearing makeup and prosthetics that make them look like Tardi drawings. There are clever action set-pieces and some nice running gags, plot twists that I did not see coming, and a stellar cast, lead by phenomenal performance by Louise Bourgoin as Mlle Blanc-Sec. To say too much about the plot would spoil the fun, but it’s a period piece adventure/mystery with a healthy dose of science fiction and fantasy, and it is well worth 105 minutes of your life.