The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Shout Factory - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 107 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English/French DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French PCM Stereo
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Starring: Louise Bourgoin, Mathieu Amalric, Gilles Lellouche, Jean-Paul Rouve
Written & Directed by: Luc Besson
Music by: Eric Serra
Based on the illustrated books by: Jacques Tardi
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 13, 2013
The year is 1912. This is the story of an intrepid young reporter Adèle Blanc-Sec and her quest for the power of life over death. Her journey would take her to distant lands to face many dangers beneath the sands. She will go to any lengths to achieve her aims, including sailing to Egypt to tackle mummies of all shapes and sizes. Meanwhile in Paris, a 136 million-year old pterodactyl egg on display in the natural history museum has mysteriously hatched, and the creature subjects the city to a reign of terror from the skies. But nothing fazes Adele Blanc-Sec, whose adventures include many more extraordinary surprises…
Based on the acclaimed historical fantasy books by Jacques Tardi, The extraordinary adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec follows the intrepid female heroine as she uncovers mysterious Egyptian treasures, encounters a prehistoric and recently hatched pterodactyl dinosaur, eludes pursuing enemies and a formidable phenomenon all in an attempt to save her seriously ill sister. Scripted and directed by Luc Besson this is a fun fantasy adventure built around a strong female character, territory not unfamiliar to Besson. Prior to receiving the press release I hadn’t heard of the film or the character but being a fan of Luc Besson’s films I went ahead and requested it.
As a fan of fantasy adventure I hoped this would be worth watching and indeed it was. From what Besson says he adhered very closely to Jacques Tardi’s narrative feel and that comes through in the film’s pacing, context and aesthetic as at times it is quite reminiscent of a storybook brought to life. That isn’t to suggest that it seems adolescent in any way. Adele Blanc-Sec is a freelance writer who operates in Paris, first before World War I and later in the 1920’s. Her adventures pit her against a variety of baddies some of this world and some from realms beyond. From what I have read I think that the essence of the character is captured well here and on more than one occasion I couldn’t help but be reminded of Indiana Jones. Like the Jones’ films there is spirited adventure and elements of fantasy and light levity that keep things rolling along quite nicely.
Luc Besson’s attention to detail and high grade production elements is spot on and bump up the entertainment factor a notch. I can’t say that this film ranks among Besson’s finest works however it stands very well on its own and presents fans of the book series with the opportunity to see their eponymous heroine brought to life on the big screen. As a complete novice I found it to be well crafted and entertaining. I guess you can’t ask for more than that.
The rating is for some violence, language, brief sensuality and rude humor.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The extraordinary adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec comes to Blu-ray Disc from Shout Factory featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.1 Mbps.
This is a reference quality Blu-ray offering from Fox that looks terrific in high definition. The video is razor sharp with a slightly edgy but otherwise pristine quality that is visually pleasing. Detail rendering is nearly flawless with lucid visual acuity and fine articulation that brings forth lots of subtle detail in the images onscreen. Colors are rich and delineated with oversaturated primaries and warm tonality that make them pop nicely. The extensive palette of secondary hues that represent the period colors featured in the story, appear vivid and warm. Flesh tones are natural with varying degrees of complexional separation among the cast. Boldly applied contrast and consistent black levels provide excellent balance during bright scenes containing mixed content. Shadow detail is strong which brings out plenty of discernible texture in low/uneven lighting and dark backgrounds. The CGI based and green screen photography softened some shots but its effects are innate and fidelity remained unaffected.
Both DTS-HD Master Audio tracks in English (dubbed) and French are included. I opted for the latter as I can’t tolerate dubbed voices. The lossless soundtrack doesn’t consistently engage the entire surround platform however it has moments where it energizes the room and reproduces the source elements with aplomb. Dialogue has definitive presence with refined vocal character and excellent room penetration. Dynamic range is very good which lends subtle distinction to low level sounds and gravity to broader ones. A large portion of the film has little need for this as dialogue, atmospheric ambience and musical enhancement is conveyed with little fanfare. However there are several sequences that engage the entire system to briefly produce entertaining and room filling sound that is measurable. This soundtrack isn’t demonstration worthy but for a comedy it readily delivers a satisfying listening experience that didn’t leave me disappointed.
** CIH screen users should note that the subtitles appear within the picture area.**
- (HD) The making of: The extraordinary adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec – 26 minute featurette
- (HD) 4 deleted scenes
- (HD) Music featurette – 2 minutes
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
Based on the acclaimed historical fantasy books by Jacques Tardi, and in the hands of the very competent Luc Besson The extraordinary adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec is an entertaining fantasy adventure that aptly transfers the eponymous heroine from the page to the big screen. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Shout Factory featuring an excellent high definition audio/video presentation mated with a sparse supplemental offering that is highlighted by a making of documentary that is worth checking out. If you happen to be a fan of Jacques Tardi’s books this is a must have otherwise it’s easily worth the cost of a rental so toss it on your queue and take it for a spin on Blu-ray.
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