A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec is based on a popular French comic-book series about a pre-WWI journalist who investigates mystical occurrences. Director Luc Besson adapted the stories into a French film in 2010, and it has since been dubbed in English. The content is pretty sophisticated for younger audiences; there is some violence (deaths and near deaths) and a sexually charged scene between a corrupt politician and his scantily dressed mistress. Characters, including the heroine protagonist, smoke cigarettes and drink wine or champagne.
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What's the story?
Based on the historical comic book series by Jacques Tardi, THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF ADELE BLANC-SEC chronicles the daring escapades of protagonist and investigative reporter Adele Blanc-Sec (Louise Bourgoin) into the mystical and the occult. Adele has gone to Egypt in hopes of finding the entombed doctor to Pharoah Ramesses II. She believes that an imprisoned scientist, Professor Espérandieu (Jacky Nercessian), can reanimate the legendary doctor, who in turn might be able to revive her comatose sister Agathe (Laure de Clermont). With the help of her number-one fan Andrej Zborowski (Nicolas Giraud) back in Paris, Adele must evade her nemeses long enough to save her sister.
Is it any good?
The gorgeous and expressive lead actress Louise Bourgoin makes cynical and whip-smart Adele come to life with considerable charm. Besson has an entire filmography filled with action films which have courageous female leads (La Femme Nikita, Colombiana, The Fifth Element, The Messenger), so it's no surprise he knows how to turn Adele Blanc-Sec into a big-screen heroine.
Adele is like an early 20th-century Lara Croft meets Indiana Jones, and the best part is that despite her beauty, she has no time for romance. She'll happily accept a man's help (like the sweetly devoted Zborowski, who's so tongue-tied he can't even pronounce his last name around her), but really, she's got it under control. The movie's various set pieces are visually impressive, the action precisely directed, and the peril realistic without being overwhelming for under-13 audiences. This is a thinking audience's action film that demands younger audiences pay attention, and if they do, they'll be rewarded with a unique heroine and a historical fantasy to remember.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether the movie makes you interested in reading the graphic novels. How does the movie compare to the comics?
How is Adele a unique heroine? How is she different from other females depicted from the same time period?
What do you learn about different cultures in the movie? What other adventures would you want to see Adele tackle?
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