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Film / The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec

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Adèle and the Secret of the Mummy ("Les aventures extraordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec") is a 2010 Luc Besson movie starring based on Jacques Tardi's comic series of the same name. It stars Louise Bourgoin as the titular heroine Adèle Blanc-Sec and Mathieu Amalric as her nemesis Dieuleveult. Set in the late Belle Epoque with steampunk elements, the movie centers on Adèle's quest to retrieve and revive a mummified egytpian medic to be revived by oddball supernaturalist Espérandieu in order to cure her catatonic sister. By the time she gets back from Egypt, Espérandieu has gotten himself into trouble by resurrecting a petrified pterodactyl egg. The hatched pterosaur offs a Senator, setting off a city-wide investigation by bumbling inspector Caponi and the vain Great White Hunter Justin de Saint-Hubert. All the while, Adèle's admirer Zborowski has managed to lure the beast into the Jardin des Plantes and has started domesticating it.


While Adèle tries and initially fails to break Espérandieu out of prison, Saint-Hubert finally tracks down the pterodactyl, wounding it. Espérandieu, who's mind-linked with the pterosaur, is hurt as well, but manages to resurrect the mummy nevertheless. The undead Egyptian Patmosis turns out to be no medic after all, however Espérandieu has overshot his goal and revived every mummy in the vicinity — including those of an exposition in the nearby Louvre. The mummies, all very polite, include the actual physician of Ramses II that Adèle had been looking for, who agrees to cure her sister. The pharaoh strolls off for some sight-seeing, while Adèle decides to go on a holiday — aboard the Titanic.


Adèle and the Secret of the Mummy provides examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Pr. Espérandieu. He even refuses rescue from the guillotine because he's too tired to leave the prison.
  • Action Dress Rip: Adèle, before riding the pterodactyl.
  • Action Girl: Adèle, though she relies on her wits most of the time.
  • Adaptational Context Change: In the comic, the professor lives and dies in Lyon without Adèle meeting him. Also, in the comics Adèle was separated from her sister after the death of her parents and did not meet her again until 1922 - nineteen years later.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Adèle is still snarky as hell, but compared to the comic she is more sympathetic and less of a Jerkass. Although when captured by Dieuleveult, she leaves her Egyptian hirelings hanging and saves herself.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In the comics, Adèle's sister is called Mireille Pain-Sec, here she is called Agathe Blanc-Sec. In the story on which the film's plot is based — Adèle et la bête — the character called Espérandieu in the film is called Boutardieu, while Espérandieu is the name of a character not used in the film.
  • And I Must Scream: Played for laughs. Adèle undresses for a bath in front of a mummy, which, unknown to her, is being revived and can see, but not move or speak. After the mummy regains speech and movement, he thanks her for the show.
  • Artistic License – History: The Eiffel Tower is shown with its modern brown color. In the 1910s, it should have been red.
  • Berserk Button: Don't eat an egg in front of the pterodactyl!
  • Big Brother Instinct: The whole movie revolves about Adèle's quest to cure her sister - who got injured during a friendly (albeit competitive) tennis match between sisters
  • Bullet Time
  • Deadpan Snarker: Adèle is this.
  • Dragon Rider: Well, Pterodactyl Rider.
  • French Political System: Of the Third Republic. Seen for instance in the chain of command that emerges when the President of the Republic calls the minister of the interior, who calls the prefect of police of Paris and so on.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Adèle learns an Arabic phrase in Egypt that scares horses. It also works on French horses in Paris.
  • Great White Hunter: Subverted, as Saint-Hubert turns out to be a great coward.
  • Historical Domain Character: Ramses II.
  • Historical In-Joke:
    • Pharoah Ramses admires the courtyard of the Louvre, but thinks it would look even better with a pyramid in the middle of it.
    • A somewhat darker Historical In-Joke is that apparently the sinking of the Titanic was an attempt by Dieuleveult to assassinate Adèle.
  • Invincible Hero: Even when escaping a tomb and surviving an impossible plunge down an abyss while locked in a sarcophagus, Adèle is unhurt and just barely disheveled.
  • La Belle Epoque: The film is set in 1912.
  • Lost Technology: This film's version of 19th dynasty Egypt was incredibly advanced, starting with the fact that it turns out that Patmosis is a nuclear physicist, not a doctor.
  • Master of Disguise: When attempting to break the Professor out of prison Adèle uses a myriad of disguises, all of which fool the guards... Only to be foiled repeatedly by other little matters like the professor being too tired to escape.
  • Meaningful Name: Blanc-Sec means "white, dry" ("like the wine", as Adèle helpfully explains); Dieuleveult means "God wills it", Espérandieu means "hope to" or "trust in God".
  • Nice Hat: Adèle usually wears a big fancy hat.
  • Prophetic Name: Justin de Saint-Hubert — St. Hubert is the patron saint of hunters.
  • Ptero Soarer: The standard, overly birdlike pterodactyl.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Aziz, the young Egyptian guide, gets captured by Adèle's enemies in the mummy's tomb. This isn't the first time he's found himself in a surprising situation. In Luc Besson's earlier film The Fifth Element, he was the boy who kept falling asleep in the Egyptian temple ("Aziz, LIGHT!"), who ended up witnessing an alien visitation.
    • One of the objects Espérandieu uses for his magic ritual to bring the dead to life is the Arumbaya idol from the Tintin story The Broken Ear.


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