Red Rackham's Treasure

In Red Rackham’s Treasure, Hergé is lightly making fun of Sacha Guitry, a french comedian, writer and director, by advertising a play called simply “Me” in which Guitry plays all of the roles (seen on page 2). For the English translation, the translators changed Guitry to Orson Welles.

Red Rackham's Treasure, Steven Spielberg

Very good find Britto! An important piece of news has been hiding on a French site the past few days and, while I admit I do occasionally check, I almost certainly would have missed it. While in Paris for the release of ”War Horse”, Spielberg did an interview with ”Figaro”. The big ”scoop” the article was trying to push was what Spielberg thought of the Tintin movie’s ”failure” in the USA. The movie was no mega flop, but within the USA it was certainly no hit either. Spielberg said he didn’t want to blame anybody, and that he thinks the the movies bad reception in the USA was due mainly to the decision to use performance capture rather than a problem with the movie itself. Mainly, and I think I’d agree with him most here, he said that what people most rejected were the television commercials. They didn’t give them enough of a chance to go and see Tintin in the cinemas. I personally believe that, even though they used performance capture, the movie would have done much better if they had advertised it better. An American friend of mine told me all he saw related to the Tintin movie most of the time he watched TV this winter were short TV spots that didn’t tell him very much about the movie and left him wondering ”who’s Tintin?” I bet a lot of people saw the motion capture and thought the film was an expensive animated movie for kids. They needed more than occasional TV spots…they needed giant billboards, advertisements everywhere you looked, they needed to play the second trailer more on TV, a good line of action figures and other toys to get kids and families interested. The movie didn’t even get McDonald’s toys in the US. I also suspect that part of the movie’s failure to make as much as they hoped was because it came out right alongside Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (I couldn’t turn a corner in the US without seeing an ad for this one), Happy Feet 2 and The Muppets, all of which stole away a large part of the families going to the movies over the holidays. And anybody who wanted to see action and adventure was going to see Mission Impossible 4 in 3D. When given the choice between going to pay and see something new, especially when it’s been poorly marketed, and something old they are familiar with and know they like, American’s will choose the latter. It makes sense. Nonetheless I’m interested in seeing how many DVDs the movie sells, and I think that with a bit more luck and more work to let the USA know who Tintin is, Tintin 2 could be a really big hit. Regardless of American interest in Tintin, the film still made 76 million dollars in the US and about 300 million dollars worldwide. Spielberg reminded those in the interview that the film only cost about 142 million dollars to make, so he’s really pretty happy with how well the film did and a sequel is certainly underway.

However the most interesting part of the interview for me was the end, where they ask whether or not Calculus will ”finally show up in the film.” Spielberg answered yes, because he shows up in Red Rackham’s Treasure and they plan to pick up the second movie around where the first one left off. Then he told them that as of yet they still don’t know what books they will be combining in the new movie, and that Peter will be looking more into that this year…If this is true it’s quite something! Elsewhere they’ve told us that a script is already being written, so I really doubt that they are as clueless as Spielberg told Figaro. In any case, it does suggest that the beginning of Red Rackham’s treasure will make it into the next movie. And if what Spielberg told us before is true and the movie is ”more than one book, but less than two books”, all we’re missing is the name of one album. We’ll see…I’m interested in finding out whether or not Calculus’ shark submarine will make it into the film. If not, I wonder why Calculus will be interested in meeting Tintin…



On a side note, I got Williams’ Tintin 1 soundtrack and have been listening to it over and over…It has grown on me a lot, and I sincerely hope that Williams wins an Oscar this Sunday for his superb work.




Bianca Castafioe, Captain Haddock, Red Rackham's Treasure, Snowy, Steven Spielberg, The Secret of the Unicorn, Tintin

Back in May 2007 I wrote the first post to what was then called Four and half years later, I have finally seen the film. The question is, has it been worth the wait?

A Brief Review for Non-Tintin Fans

If you’ve never read a Tintin book or watched the cartoons, this bit of the review is for you.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is fun film for all the family with a good mix of action and humor. Much of the comedy is slapstick which has a broad appeal but there are a few more adult gags sprinkled around. The plot is simple enough for all but the smallest of children to grasp and the film rattles through it with little time spent on introspection or character development before diving into the next action sequence. Though some of those action sequences, especially the chase through Bagghar, are overly complicated.

The animation, including the motion capture, is fantastic and I completely forgot that what I was watching was not real. The cityscapes, both of Brussels and Bagghar, are wonderfully detailed and the character’s faces are expressive. At times, Tintin’s face had a slightly spooky, unreal quality and Captain Haddock’s head did not seem in proportion to his body but not in a way that detracted from the film. More disappointing was the 3D. This was the first 3D film I’ve seen and I won’t bother again. Occasionally the effects did enhance the film but more often than not they got in the way by drawing your attention to them rather than the characters and I would recommend seeing the film in 2D.

Another disappointment was the music by John Williams. There is nothing wrong with the music and it does it’s job well, however it lacks that knockout punch. There is no “Indi’s Theme” or “Emporer’s Theme” that you will be whistling as you leave the cinema.

Apart from these minor quibbles, Tintin is a good film and a great way to spend a couple hours for both adults and children.

A Longer Review for Tintin Fans

The film is great. It honours and respects the original books without being limited by them. Adapting three books into one story (Crab with the Golden Claws, Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure), has given the Spielberg and Jackson the space to take the best from the books and fit it into the very different medium of film.

Spoiler Warning

I’m going to assume that everyone has read the three books concerned but I won’t reveal anything specific to the film.

The storyline is 50% taken from Secret of the Unicorn and 30% from Crab with the Golden Claws. Only a tiny part comes from Red Rackham’s Treasure and the rest is new for the film. The two main source books are skillfully weaved together and work brilliantly. I suspect we have the skill of Steven Moffat to thank for this. Many of the key scenes from these books appear in the film – from Tintin buying the model Unicorn; Tintin & Haddock’s first meeting; the life boat and the seaplane; lost in the desert; and Thompson & Thomson in arabic dress. Often the visuals are identical to Herge’s originals and capture the full page illustrations from the book.

Where the film is weaker is where the plot does not follow the books. Particularly the sequence in Bagghar. Here it turns into an over-the-top Indiana Jones action sequence with a lot in common with a James Bond style chase from the 80s or 90s. It is beautifully done and amusing but seems out-of-place and redundent. The final showdown between Haddock and Sakharine is similarly on a large scale but it has a point in the film and also nicely echos Francis Haddock’s and Red Rackham’s sword fight.

The central characters of Tintin, Snowy and Haddock are true to the books. Haddock is a drunk and at times a coward and an idiot. Snowy is resourceful, loyal and as keen as Haddock to get at the whisky. Whilst Tintin is the perfect (almost too perfect) boy scout – honourable, smart and brave. The minor characters, such as Allan, are also consistent with the books and the cameo by Bianca Castafiore and Haddock’s reaction to her singing is excellent.

The Tintin Fan’s Film

From the opening sequence (which is fantastic and screamed out as a tribute to Saul Bass) to the last moments of the film, the movie is stuffed with Tintin references. I must confess I spent a lot of time just keeping an eye out for nods to the source material. Certain scenes, such as Omar Ben Salaad’s palace, are packed with them but there are many more subtle ones (watch out for the cans of food that Tintin has to dodge on the docks). Several times I was the only one laughing in the cinema as I spotted references*.

An early scene has the camera panning around Tintin’s study where newspaper clippings of some of his greatest adventures can be seen. Interestingly, they seem to place The Secret of the Unicorn in the correct chronologically point, i.e. none of his later adventures were featured (though I need to see the film again to be sure).

It will be obvious to any Tintin fan, from the first 30 seconds, that this film is made by people who love and respect the original. This is not a shameless plundering of a culture icon for financial gain but a real attempt to capture Tintin’s magic on the big screen. Whilst it is not a perfect or ideal adaptation of Herge’s work, it is damn close.

Chris T.

* At one point, there is a shark hanging from the ceiling. I’m sure this crops up in one book but I cannot place it. Can anyone help me out?

Albums, Cigars of the Pharaoh, Destination Moon, Editorial, Explorers on the Moon, Flight 714, King Ottokar's Sceptre, Land of Black Gold, Prisoners of the Sun, Red Rackham's Treasure, The Black Island, The Blue Lotus, The Broken Ear, The Calculus Affair, The Castafiore Emerald, The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Red Sea Sharks, The Secret of the Unicorn, The Seven Crystal Balls, The Shooting Star, Tintin and the Picaros, Tintin in America, Tintin in the Congo, Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, Tintin in Tibet, Tintin Merchandise, Tintin Movie News

By popular demand, the highly praised Travels of a Boy Reporter has returned. This map tracks the journey of Tintin in his 23 adventures across the world.

Download & Print

The map is available as a download for just £10. Once you’ve downloaded it you are free to use it how you wish (non-commercially only). Print it out, have t-shirts made, use it as your computer’s desktop. You are free to use it however you want.

It comes in a variety of sizes ranging from the small 480×320 pixels, suitable for an iPhone, to the huge 6679×4722 pixels, suitable for an A1 poster.

Find out more about the map or skip to chase and buy it now.

High resolution graphics with license to print and use the map for any non-commercial purpose.

Red Rackham's Treasure, Rumours

According to ”The Wall Street Journal” Calculus will be a playable character in the next Tintin game:

The game has three modes, including the co-operative, story and challenge mode, and they divide play into exploration, combat and solving puzzle phases. In the co-operative mode, live players can drop in an out of the game dynamically and play any of six characters, including Tintin, Captain Haddock, Thompson and Thompson (who act as one character), Professor Cuthbert Calculus, Bianca Castafiore and even Snowy. Each character has unique skills like Tintin who can shoot a grappling hook or opera diva Castafiore who can dispatch enemies with her windy contralto.

This is either fake or true. It could easily be fake if they simply took the list of popular Tintin characters and assumed that they would be in the game. But that seems unlikely because they give details about Castafiore’s and the Thompson’s that they would only know if they either saw it or were told. So it seems there is confirmation Calculus will at least show up in the video game this year.

This doesn’t necessarily mean Calculus will be in the movie. I’m being forced to be patient with people online who still make comments such as ”I was hoping Tintin would be in live action when I watched the trailer” and ”Where is Calculus?” years and months after us fans have answered and given good theories on these questions. For those of you who don’t know, Calculus has not been cast as far as we know. His main role in the story was to invent a shark submarine to let Tintin explore the sunken Unicorn. But it looks like the story may not focus on the finding of the Unicorn itself but of the treasure that was actually at Marlinspike or wherever they chose to put it in the movie the whole time. Almost all of ”Red Rackham’s treasure” is fun to read but would make for a kind of boring movie. After all there are no villains and they never find anything but an idol, the ship and some rum. It makes total sense to cut to the chase and leave that part out of the movie, bringing Calculus in to the sequel as possibly one of the explorers from Peru.

To what degree is it OK to expect the Bird Brothers to be in the movie because they are in the game and not believe Calculus will be? Now I’m not sure what to think. Maybe both are in the film, maybe they were just added to the ”expanded” Tintin video game for the fans sake’s. I’ll wait for the movie to come out before i make too many conclusions.


Peter Jackson, Red Rackham's Treasure, Steven Spielberg, The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, Tintin Merchandise, Uncategorized

In our last post we covered the new trailer for ”The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn”, but a lot of details have been revealed that I didn’t get to.  We’ll cover more on what we know about the gameplay itself in a future post, but for now we’ll stick to what systems the game will be released on. The ancient rumor that Tintin will only be coming to a few systems is nothing more than a lie. Tintin will get the multi-platform release it deserves.

This picture is from ””, a wonderful Brazilian tintin fan site. I recommend you check it out. You don’t mind if I use this photo,do you Britto?

According to

”…the video game will be released in the US for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Windows PC, Nintendo 3DS™ and Wii™ this Holiday 2011.”

Apparently the Nintendo DS is already beginning to share the fate of the Gameboy Advance and Tintin is never to come to it. It’s actually kind of ironic. In one post I thought that Tintin might only be a platform game on the DS release. Now we know it’s a platform game on nearly every system EXCEPT the DS…which won’t even get a version of the game. While the DS is inferior to the 3DS in many ways, the main reason they may have chosen not to release the game for the DS or, apparently, the PSP is that the game will indeed be in 3D. There’s a very neat article on Gamespot by the guys who had the privilege of seeing a presentation with game play from the game in advance, and in their own words:

”…the presentation included four distinct action sequences, all of which were shown in 3D.”

I don’t know if the rest of the versions of the game for consoles will be 3D only if you have a 3D TV or if they will come with little cardboard pairs of glasses. But somehow it’s in 3D. I have actually never played a 3D game before, but I see how a platform game would benefit from the format having the different depths in the background. Now I can’t wait to see this game in action, but I still don’t have a 3DS or a 3D TV (as much as I want both) and don’t have the money for them either.

There is a bit of hope for those of you who were hoping for a portable Tintin game that doesn’t only go for a system that currently costs about 250 dollars. I’m not sure how we haven’t heard about this somewhere before, but a Tintin game is coming to cellphones, created by Gameloft:

“Tintin is one of the most popular comics of the 20th century,” commented Gonzague de Vallois, Senior Vice-President of Publishing at Gameloft “We’re particularly pleased to be bringing such a beloved and iconic character as Tintin to fans on their mobile phone, smartphone or tablet.”

It wouldn’t surprise me if this has little or nothing to do with the Ubisoft game. I would expect this one to not be as good. But for those who like cellphone style games, it looks like there is finally going to be something like a ”Tintin app”.

Finally, Ubisoft went all out and decided to make the Xbox and PS3 games compatible with the new technology:

It also includes exotic gameplay elements such as sword fighting, aerial combat and driving. This next-generation of Tintin includes support for the Kinect™ for Xbox 360, and PlayStation®Move for the PlayStation®3 system.

This probably means the Wii version will use the ”Wiimote” a good deal as well. Man, this game sounds like fun!


Peter Jackson, Prisoners of the Sun, Professor Calculas, Red Rackham's Treasure, The Secret of the Unicorn, The Seven Crystal Balls, Tintin Movie News

Peter Jackson was at the San Diego Comic Convention, talking about a lot of things including Tintin.

Jackson’s work on Tintin is still in early stages but he insists that the films are being made by people who are true Tintin fans. He also said that the design of the film was intended to be as true to creator Herge’s original designs as possible but with added textures. Otherwise, he indicated that they might as well just do a live-action version, which neither he nor Steven Spielberg (who is directing the first film) wanted.

Source: SDCC: Peter Jackson, James Cameron Fight For Cinema’s Future</p

Different blogs have picked up different comment from the event. Chud is reporting:

Jackson said that he was still trying to figure out which book he wanted to adapt, and that he would probably be rereading the entire Tintin series to make his decision.

That said, Jackson mentioned that he was currently leaning towards either The Seven Crystal Balls or Prisoners of the Sun. It’s likely that he would actually adapt both, as Prisoners of the Sun is the sequel to The Seven Crystal Balls. The story involves an Incan curse brought on by the discovery of a Peruvian mummy.


As the first film will combine The Crab with the Golden Claws and The Secret of the Unicorn into one story, would Jackson really do anything other than Red Rackham’s Treasure? Failing to do so would miss the opportunity to introduce the character of Professor Calculus whose first appearance is in Red Rackham’s Treasure. It would also beg the question ‘What is the Secret of the Unicorn?’ if it is not a map for Tintin & Haddock to follow? Are they going to skip the whole adventure to the Caribbean and have Tintin solve the puzzle whilst imprisoned in Marlinspike’s cellar?

However, if Jackson is doing Red Rackham’s Treasure he had better get a move on. With multi-part films (Lord of the Rings, for example) the release dates of the films need to be relatively close, no more than a year apart, other audiences will lose interest in the project. With Secret of the Unicorn coming out in late 2011, a release date of summer or late 2012 for the second film is logical. This means the script needs to be written and the cast scheduled for motion capture.

UPDATE: More information and quotes.

As for the second movie, he reveals that production is pencilled in for the second half of 2010, a year before the first one’s release. “I’ve got to get through The Hobbit first, then we’ll move onto that. At the moment we’re keeping our options open, but I am very partial to The Seven Crystal Balls/ Prisoners Of The Sun. I’m going to read them all again before deciding which to have a go at.”

The EW interview quoted above adds some details. The first Tintin film, directed by Steven Spielberg, is currently at the first-cut stage. It will take two years to do all the animation and rendering needed for the final product. (The film has to be edited first because no one wants to pay for expensive rendering on shots that won’t end up in the final cut.) Peter drops the remark that he hasn’t decided which Tintin books to include in the second film, and that he and Spielberg would like to do a longer series if the first films succeed.

Source: Comic-Con news, and why there’s still no casting for The Hobbit

Flight 714, Herge, King Ottokar's Sceptre, Red Rackham's Treasure, Tintin in Tibet

There is a short piece of bad journalism by Oliver Kamm on the Times website entitled: Was Tintin a Nazi? This regurgitates the reoccurring question of Herge’s wartime action but it is clear that Kamm failed to do any research on the subject. He also dismisses Tintin as ‘a dreary hack work’ and as having ‘no jokes, no learning and no real interest’.

Such a lazy piece of writing needs to be challenged and I wrote a long comment putting Herge’s wartime record in context and answering Kamm’s criticisms. However the Times website would not accept the comment for some reason, so I’ve reproduced here.

The obvious point being, Tintin is a fictional character and Nazism did not appear in his fictional world so no, Tintin is not a nazi.

If you mean, was Herge’ a nazi, the answer is still definitely not.

After the invasion of Belgium, Herge’ lost his job with Le Petit Vingtième when it was shutdown by the Nazi. He was also visited by the Gestapo who expressed a dislike for some of his earlier work, notably King Ottokar’s Sceptre.

Herge found work at Le Soir which, like all newspapers, was controlled by the Nazis. During this time he wrote some of the most fantastical Tintin adventures, deliberately avoiding anything political. After the war Herge was arrested several times as a collaborator, as were just about everyone else who worked for Le Soir. Eventually, Raymond Leblanc, a prominent resistant fighter supported Herge and he was able to resume work on Tintin’s adventures.

To accuse a man, who cannot answer back, of being a Nazi when the people at the time, including those who risked their lives fighting the Nazis, cleared his name is just cheap and lazy journalism.

Maybe, he continued to work at Le Soir out of naivety. Belgium had been invaded by the Germans during his childhood and perhaps he thought this occupation would be no different. Maybe he was simply frighten and tried to keep out of trouble. We can never know but the idea he worked for the newspaper because he was a Nazi is ludicrous.

As to your personal preference of Asterix, that is your choice, but only an ignorant person would claim that Tintin has no jokes, learning or interest.

The nature of the jokes in Asterix and Tintin are very different. Rather than clever word play, Tintin relies on visual gags, slapstick and on the simply ludicrous settings.

Learning? How about number of different cultures Herge depicted with reasonable accuracy (given the time of writing and the resources he had available). Or what about the cutting edge science Herge included in the books (submersibles in Red Rackham’s treasure, swingwing aircraft in Flight 714). These seem mundane now but Herge was writing about what was cutting edge technology at the time.

No Interest? What about the author’s mental state and his work, notably Tintin in Tibet. How about his huge personal journey from right wing puppet (Tintin in the Land of the Soviets) to being recognized by the Dali Llama for his work promoting peace and racial harmony? Or even how his work responded to the German occupation?

Humour – Yes, Learning – Yes, Interest – Yes.

Tintin’s 80 year success is because he and Herge have these attributes in buckets.

The are questions about Herge’s wartime service and about his political views but sloppy journalism designed to grab headlines does nothing to answer them.

Source: Was Tintin a Nazi?

Red Rackham's Treasure, The Secret of the Unicorn, Tintin Merchandise, Tintin Movie News

Ubisoft, the French video game company, has announced a deal with Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg to produce video game tie-ins for The Secret of the Unicorn (and presumably, Red Rackham’s Treasure).

Despite being one of the top ten game companies in the world, Ubisoft are not known for their film related games. Though they do produce a number of franchise related games such as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, Formula 1 racing games and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Probably their biggest, original title of recent years has been Assassin Creed, a free roaming adventure game in a rich graphical environment.

Film tie-ins do not generally make good games through there have been a few exceptions. It all depends on intent. Will the game makers just try cash-in and reproduce the movie or will they use the movie as a starting point but try to create something new? Hopefully they will do better than previous attempts at a Tintin video game.

Ubisoft Press release:


Ubisoft® Acquires License to Create Video Game for Groundbreaking Film Adaptation of Hergé’s Beloved Hero Tintin

SAN FRANCISCO – June 1, 2009 – Today Paramount Digital Entertainment and Ubisoft announced the development of a video game based on the upcoming film “Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.” The video game is expected to launch simultaneously with the highly anticipated film adaptation of one of the world’s most well-known and beloved literary series. “Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” will be released in the U.S. on December 23, 2011 and internationally in late October and early November 2011.

The film, distributed by Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment, utilizes state-of-the-art, next-generation performance capture. Ubisoft’s Montpellier studio will work with director and producer Steven Spielberg, producers Peter Jackson and Kathleen Kennedy, to develop a unique and thrilling game that is closely tied to the upcoming motion picture.

“We look forward to working with Ubisoft and the filmmakers to create exciting new interactive adventures for Tintin,” said Thomas Lesinski, President, Paramount Digital Entertainment. “The upcoming video game will reintroduce Tintin to a whole new generation of gamers.”

“We’re incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work on the Tintin game,” said Christian Salomon, Vice President of Worldwide Licensing at Ubisoft. “We’re honored to bring one of the world’s most iconic comic characters to life in this new title.”