Romance week with Christa, aka crazy French adventure comedies with mummies and pterodactyls!
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec
Where to Watch:
A young French reporter seeks adventure, a cure for her sister, and pterodactyls in early 20th-century Paris.
The Uncondensed Version:
To be 100% honest, you can probably just look at this poster and stop reading:
However, I did write this 1,000 word blog post, so it would be cool if you read it.
As our narrator is kind enough to point out, there are a lot of minor but important characters in this particular film. The first one we meet is soon going to witness some quite remarkable events transpire: 1. Joan of Arc seemingly coming to life and burning again, and 2. a French official, his lover, and his driver crashing into the Seine as a result of a pterodactyl attack. Seriously.
There’s a clueless French inspector investigating this crime…hmmm, I don’t know if I should be reviewing this film on my blog, which is NAMED after a film about a clueless French inspector. Sometimes Christa’s choices are too perfect and I’m afraid she might be a cyborg.
Finally we get an introduction to Adèle, a globe-trekking reporter, and Andrej, a young scientist who is a teensy bit in love with her.
It becomes clear pretty early on that Adèle is kind of the female French version of Sherlock Holmes/Indiana Jones/the entire cast of characters in The Mummy. We meet her as she’s excavating (prob more like raiding) the tomb of a pharaoh. However, she has noble intentions: she must revive an ancient Egyptian doctor to save her sick sister (what).
Just as she’s opened the sarcophagus, her arch-rival with a long fucking French name I can’t remember bursts in looking…basically exactly like a 20th-century French arch-rival should look like. Adèle manages to escape by starting a fire, jumping into the sarcophagus, and escaping down a waterfall that ends in a whirlpool.
Meanwhile, in Paris, Adèle’s mentor and friend, who is a physicist, manages to befriend and train the pterodactyl. Unfortunately, when the police discover the pterodactyl in his apartment, the physicist is arrested for the murder of the aforementioned French official.
Adèle returns to Paris to some super French accordion music, revealing the mummy to her sister. Because the physicist is her friend and she needs him to bring the mummy back to life(?), Adèle adopts several disguises in order to save him from a death sentence. By the time she is successful, he has been moved to a new location in preparation for his death by guillotine.
Further complication: a world-famous (or at least France-famous) hunter returns from a trip to Africa in order to take care of the pterodactyl problem; once again, the utter 20th-century French-ness does not disappoint. Shortly after, he and the clueless inspector go up the Eiffel Tower, where the inspector EATS A FUCKING BAGUETTE to this really fucking French music. Then, looking for places where the pterodactyl could’ve gotten its meal of mutton, the hunter and inspector go to the most fucking idyllic French farm. The hunter accidentally shoots a sheep, and both Frenchmen make SHEEP HOODIES. Having seen Far from the Madding Crowd just yesterday, I am prepared for the sheep violence to END. I am just steps away from joining PETA, you guys.
In one final attempt to save the physicist, Adèle asks the president for a pardon. The pterodactyl ruins everything by swooping down and grabbing the president’s dog in its claws (talons?). THANK CHRIST the dog is still alive later in the film or my post would’ve probably focused on unnecessary animal deaths and demanding an end to the cruelty.
At this point I lost track of the plot a little b/c I had to save what I thought was a baby caterpillar but was probably a baby centipede. So once again I regretted an act of mercy and had to look at pictures of ocelot kittens to make myself feel better. (I discovered that fishing cat kittens are also really adorable.)
Suffice it to say the poster on Netflix is NOT misleading for once, and Adèle does, in fact, ride the pterodactyl to save the physicist.
He manages to bring the mummy back to life (I understand the role of physicists even less than I previously thought), but both physicist and pterodactyl die in the process.
Adèle is unpleasantly surprised to discover the mummy is not a doctor, but a nuclear physicist.
She reveals that her sister is in a vegetative state because their friendly tennis match got competitive and Adèle hit her sister in the head with a tennis ball. (I’m sorry, but the only thing going through my head at this point was the Salad Days sketch from Monty Python.)
The mummy promises to find someone who can help Adèle’s sister, and the three head over to the Louvre. That’s all I will say because I really liked this one and I don’t want this post to end up being a novella.
Also there’s a pretty entertaining twist at the end that I don’t want to spoil.
Okay, I’m going to spoil it almost entirely, but worth it:
I had high expectations for this film, and, for once, my biggest takeaway was NOT to lower my expectations. This is a fun, silly movie, and it’s SO fucking French, you guys. So fucking French.
You’ll probably think of me as essentially a 10-year-old boy now, but every time the pterodactyl showed up I thought, “FUCK YEAH PTERODACTYL.” Whatever, guys. I don’t need your approval.
My only question here, and I’m sure this is influenced by my recent viewing of Far from the Madding Crowd (so fucking good), is WHY MUST THE SHEEP ALWAYS SUFFER AND DIE? I watched so many sheep die this weekend.
I don’t always understand you, Frenchies, but our connection is profound.
Check out Christa’s review here!
P.S. Just to give you an idea of the kind of nonsensical notes I take: “Meanwhile, the hunger is following them and this the pterodactyl.”
NOW do you appreciate how hard I work to write a (mostly) coherent blog post in complete sentences???