Coming just two months after a family-friendly PG-rated edition, Shout! Factory brings us this unrated director’s cut of Luc Besson’s The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec as a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo, with an additional 3 minutes of footage. Does the additional footage make or break this edition? Read on below....
Studio: Shout! Factory
Distributed By: Shout! Factory
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC, 480P/MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD, English 5.1 DD, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, English PCM 2.0, French 2.0 DD, French 5.0 DD, French 5.1 DD, French 5.0 DTS-HDMA, Other
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 50 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy2-disc Blu-ray Keepcase with outer sleeve
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer), DVD-9 (dual layer)
Region: A, 1
Release Date: 10/01/2013
Set in 1912 Paris, France, journalist Adele Blanc-Sec (Louise Bourgoin) travels to Cairo to retrieve a mummified Egyptian doctor, hoping that Professor Esperandieu (Jacky Nercessian) can revive him so that the doctor can cure her comatose sister. But things do not go quite according to plan. Adele is double-crossed in the pyramid by Professor Dieuleveult (Mathieu Amalric), managing to escape in the mummy’s sarcophagus. Meanwhile, Esperandieu revives a pterodactyl, which in turn wreaks havoc on Paris, leading to his arrest by Inspector Caponi (Gilles Lellouche). Adelle must then free Esperandieu from jail and capture the pterodactyl before the mummified doctor can be revived in order to save her sister.
The Production Rating: 4/5
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec could have easily been a mess of a movie with such a confusing plot if it were not for writer/director Luc Besson. Like his most popular film, 1997’s The Fifth Element, Besson infuses enough manic energy into the confusing plot that the audience can very easily put their brain on hold for almost two hours and just go along for the ride. Louise Bourgoin is well-cast as Adele, a 1911 young woman with 20th century sensibilities. Jacky Nercessian is brilliant as the eccentric yet loveable old professor. Gilles Lellouche has great comic timing as the bumbling Inspector Caponi (who does nothing other than eat and sleep). Mathieu Amalric manages to make the grotesque Dieuleveult memorable, despite the lack of screen time (although I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of him in future installments). With one or two exceptions, the visual effects work is on-par with most modern Hollywood blockbusters, as is the production design.
The version of the film included on this release is a “director’s cut” that includes an additional 3 minutes of footage, essentially extending the bathtub scene that included smoking and some female nudity (we get to see Louise Bourgoin topless while sitting in a bathtub). Does it add or detract from the story? Not really, but what is a Luc Besson film without a bit of female nudity?
The 1080p transfer provided to Shout! Factory is top notch, retaining the film’s intended theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and compressed using the AVC codec. This is definitely a reference-quality presentation, with deep blacks, exquisite detail (including the grains of sand during the Cairo expedition), and well-saturated colors. This appears to be almost the exact same transfer used in the previously released PG-rated cut.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA
Identical to the previous release, viewers have a choice of four different sound mixes to choose from, either in a dubbed English or original French, with each language available in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 or 2.0 PCM stereo.
Audio Rating: 3.5/5
Unfortunately, the English dub (in both 5.1 and 2.0) is atrocious, exemplifying everything that can go wrong with dubbing a film into another language. The vocal talent do nothing more than read their lines, with very little emotion, and sound so far removed from the music and effects track, they give the soundtrack a sanitized feel to it. The main exceptions are the two actors reading for the Pharaoh and his nuclear physicist, who bring a great deal of joy and energy to their lines. Adding to the sanitized feel is the fact that the effects track sounds as if it has been muted during the mixdown, especially when compared to the far superior French language tracks.
And it is the French tracks that upped my score to 3.5. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track has clear, natural-sounding dialogue, directed mostly to the center channel. Music and effects are spread nicely around the room, with some great discrete effects thrown in for good measure. LFE also provides a nice workout for your subwoofer. The 2.0 PCM Stereo track has good fidelity, as well, but the real choice here is the French 5.1.
All of the same special features included on the previous release are ported over in French with English subtitles.
Special Features Rating: 3/5
The Making of The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (HD; 26:02): A fairly in-depth look at the making of the film, including interviews with Luc Besson, Louise Bourgoin, Jacques Tardi, Jacky Nercessian, and Gilles Lellouche.
Deleted Scenes (HD; 2:06): Four scenes involving Adele and her sister Agathe during various stages of growing up.
Music Featurette (HD; 1:51): A very brief look at the recording session of the song sung during the end credits by Louise Bourgoin.
Digital Copy (PC/Android/MAC/iTunes Compatible)
This double-dip is a tough call. Besson’s fans will likely want his cut over the theatrical one, but the real question is why this wasn’t included in the initial release via seamless branching. Save for 3 minutes of remotely titillating footage, everything on this release is identical to the previous, PG-rated one from August of this year. I do give Shout! Factory credit for, at the very least, giving the public a heads-up that this cut was coming just a few months later.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewed By: Todd Erwin
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