Fri 13 Jul 2012
My unusual relationship with films inspired by comics continues to develop, as for various reasons I have seen a lot of these in the last few weeks. I picked Les aventures extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec this week at the end of an exhausting day of work (and heat outside) as I was looking for easy entertainment that would not require efforts from the few cells in my brain that staid awake. More or less I got what I wanted.
I think that I know the reason because of which I enjoy more the films inspired by French comics than the American ones, and feel more comfortable in the company of Asterix than in the one of Superman, Batman, or Spiderman. Unlike many of my American (and not only American) friends I grew on the French comics journals, especially Vaillant (later named Pif gadget). Second to Vaillant was Pilote and this is where the character of Adele Blanc-Sec created by Jacques Tardi comes from.
Adele is a French newspaper journalist in the years before the First World War. She is beutiful, she travels, she never seems to lose energy. Well, she’s a cartoon character. She also has a fantastic sense of humor, and ridicules her enemies with the same easiness she beats them with various weapons or tricks. The first sequences that see her travel to Egypt in order to find, bring to France and bring back to life a physician of the Pharaohs who is of course the only person dead or alive who can save the life of her sister are both well filmed (as is the full movie), funny and a reverence to Indiana Jones.
Certainly script author and director Luc Besson wrote and directed more ‘important’ and ‘serious’ films. Here and in other films made lately he seems to enjoy himself with making easier stories, and targeting all audiences. While I miss films like the original La Femme Nikita, Leon or The Fifth Element, I cannot deny that I enjoyed this film at many moments, including the thick comical parodies of the characters at the start of the 20th century (policemen, scientists, and even le president de la Republique) or of the ancient Egyptians on a walk to know Paris, a Paris emptied by heavy traffic but already with most landmarks in place. Louise Bourgoin as Adele Blanc-Sec is sexy and funny, and as the last scene shows her boarding the Titanic I am wondering whether Besson intents to locate there her next adventure. Ah, a parody of Cameron‘s movie, what a sweet revenge it could be!