In retrospect, it’s kind of shocking that the mix of arthouse whimsy and fantasy-flick spectacle at play in The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec didn’t catch on with a theatrical distributor in the U.S. It ended up taking three years for the film to make it to American shores in any form, finally making its stateside debut via this blu-ray/DVD combo pack from Shout! Factory. Thankfully, it has gotten a handsome presentation that does well by the film’s sense of spectacle.
This set showcases a very lovely anamorphic transfer, presented in both blu-ray and DVD versions. The blu-ray is what was viewed for this review and the high-definition treatment it provides makes the most of what was obviously a pricey, high-tech production. The varied color schemes pop and the visual clarity ensures that most of the CGI meshes nicely with the live-action elements. Both French and English dub mixes are provided, both in a lossless 5.1 stereo presentation. The French mix is the best option since it is the production’s native language and the elaborate stereo mix provides plenty for a home theater setup to work with, particularly during the setpieces.
There is also a small collection of extras included. The most notable is a 26-minute “making of” featurette that includes interviews with Luc Besson, comic creator Jacques Tardi, Louise Bourgoin and several other cast members. It’s very much an EPK designed to present a rosy view of the film and its production but it benefits from direct access to the participants and a lot of intriguing behind-the-scenes footage. Highlights include some details on how CGI was used to enhance the production design and seeing Tardi and Bourgoin meet for the first time on set.
Elsewhere, there is a two-minute music featurette that focuses on how Bourgoin was talked into singing on the end credits song and series of brief outtakes presumably designed to enhance a flashback in the film depicting the lifelong rivalry between Adele and her sister.
In short, this is a stylish presentation for a diverting example of large-scale fantasy and a great way for U.S. viewers to get acquainted with this film.
To read Schlockmania’s film review for The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec, click here.