Despite being a Luc Besson film, the movie doesn’t seem to have had a wide release in North America. In fact it’s been out on DVD and Blu-ray in Canada since September of last year but I only just found this out recently. I guess the film is too French for the English speaking world.
Besson best known for such action films as La Femme Nikta, Leon and The Fifth Element has crafted what would appear to be a female Indiana Jones film but he wisely decides to stick closer to the source material and thus alienates the large group of ADD action junkies who expect CGI to be used for massive explosions and kung fu fights.
The movie is based on two of Tardi’s Adèle novels. Adèle and the Beast and Mummies on Parade . Besson forgoes the whole occult organization that loosely tied the two stories eventual together (they are the first and fourth in the series) and instead creates a sister for Adèle that needs saving instead. The film starts in Paris in 1912 where a prehistoric egg is mysterious hatched and a pterodactyl is set loose on the city. The film quickly moves to Egypt where Adèle is searching for a particular mummy, a doctor who might be able to help her sister. Adèle is brilliantly played by Louise Bourgoin, making her an intelligent, ingenious woman who, while threatening that she knows jiu-jitsu, never ever uses her fists to solve any of the situations she finds herself in, merely her brains. All the men cast in the film are mostly under layers of make-up creating an assortment of characters more bizarre looking than the last but remarkable resembling the characters that Tardi drew in the comics.
The film ends without the use of car chases, gun fights or life threatening battles for survival. The story merely resolves itself in a fashion similar to the comics giving the film a very un-Hollywood appeal which appealed to me greatly. It may be hard to find and it may not be for everyone’s taste but the movie worked for me. Besson has a trilogy planned but as the film hasn’t found itself a wider audience and thus a bigger box office profit, I’m not sure that’s going to happen.