Tintinology (formally Tintin Movie .org) is an independent news and analysis service on the Tintin movie and the works of Herge. (c) Chris Tregenza, Tintinology.poosk.com
Tintin, Tintin & Snowy, Captain Haddock, Thomson & Thompson, Professor Calculus and Herge are all trademarks of Moulinsart S.A. The text and images of the 24 Tintin albums (c) Herge / Moulinsart S.A.
Well, I’ll spare you the annual gag Tintinologists hear every January that he’s “still looking as young as ever.”
Here is one of the Tintin magazine covers celebrating Tintin’s birthday (though I think this is the birthday of Tintin magazine). But still, it is an incredible feat: that a comic character has stayed around for 84 years, and is still extremely popular around the world. A decade older than even Superman or Batman, he stands alone as an entirely different character, in a different world of comics that young and old love to dive into.
And I would be remiss without mentioning that 84 years later, Tintin still has some popular sites and blogs about him on the internet, which people continue to read and follow. I shout out a very loud thank you to all of you readers, but especially to the many of you who have kept up with this site for years.
Sadly, we cannot really give Tintin much of a present for his birthday, but I have an idea which may allow us to celebrate some of what Tintin has left us. Over the next week or so, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a picture and brief description of something related to Tintin that you really enjoy, and for those of you who are collectors, it would be really cool to see pictures of some old or unique Tintin item you may have. Whether it be a special album, or just something Moulinsart has sold (expensive or…well, I was going to say inexpensive, but it may be better to say “less” expensive). It may even be a home made craft or even a cake. If you prefer, I will not share your name, or you can go under a different identity. The point is just to celebrate Tintin’s birthday while having fun seeing what different people have collected, or made, that is Tintin related over the years. After I have given others a chance to send me their pictures, I will finally show some of what I have. It isn’t a fantastic collection, but it has several things I find special. I was especially blessed to receive quite a lot of nice Tintin items this Christmas, and I am sure those who gave them to me would love to see them posted here.
Please, big or small, feel free to send me a picture of anything Tintin. And hopefully, perhaps even next month, we will have some new news about the script for Tintin 2.
I found this on one of the Tintin Facebook fan pages. Apparently a Porsche decorated with Tintin and Snowy on the side one first place in a race in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia 2012! It seems only appropriate, with Hergé’s love of cars and putting them in his albums, for Tintin to actually be on the side of a modern race car.
This leads to the inevitable question: what was Tintin doing on the side of a Porsche in Asia? And some of us familiar with Moulinsart might also ask: how did Moulinsart ever allow this? Relax. They didn’t just put it on the side of the car’s door because Tintin and Snowy look cool there (though they DO look cool there). Like most every other sticker on race cars, it’s an advertisement from a sponsor. To be precise, an advertisement for the Tintin shop in Singapore. To me, it’s interesting that the shop felt it worthwhile to advertise their store (and it’s website) in these races, as it must have been rather expensive (not they don’t have the money). But I’m glad they did, and I’m very glad the car one.
Although I pre-ordered the DVD ahead of time, I ordered it from the US and thus waited several weeks for the Blu-ray disc to arrive in the mail. Therefore, this review is something like a month late, at least. While you can still see this blog’s original reviews of the movie here (Chris’ review) and here (my review), I will once again review some elements of the film, especially those that I missed or hit little on after I saw it in theaters. Also, I’ll review the DVD itself and its bonus features.
If you don’t have a clue what the movie is about, click on the first link above, Chris’ review. He does a good job of summing things up for the non-Tintin fanatic. You really don’t have to know a thing about Tintin to enjoy and understand the film at all, even if you miss the nods to the source material. The story line is simple enough that children as well as adults can understand what is going on, yet it is complex enough for adults to enjoy as well. Similarly, the clever lines in the dialogue, the physical humor going on between the actors, and the intense action of a Spielberg film add to the fun of the film for the adult, without becoming too intense or going over kids’ heads. The film was rated ”PG,” but I honestly believe it was one of the best family films to come out last year. There is ”cartoon action violence” for sure, often very cool-looking too, but for the most part the movie’s tone is simply fun and fast paced as opposed to serious and dramatic. The ”PG” rating is also due to the fact that Captain Haddock, Tintin’s friend and partner on his future adventures, has an often very comical drinking problem throughout the movie. This is so much a part of the source material it could not (and should not) be changed. But far from being a movie that promotes heavy drinking, alcohol actually drives a wedge between Tintin and Haddock’s friendship at one point, and it is only by staying sober that Haddock can really face his problems. The main gist of the story is that it’s an action-packed race for a secret treasure between a heroic boy named Tintin and his faithful dog, Snowy, against a sinister villain. If you are a mom or dad out there looking for a good movie for the family to watch, don’t hesitate to pick this one up.
For those of you who know and love Tintin, you probably have seen the movie already (if you haven’t, shame on you!) and, based on what I’ve seen on this blog and around the internet, have probably either bought the DVD already or are not planning to. I’d just like to point out some things I noticed when I watched the movie again last night. For one thing, the movie has tremendous replay value. I’ve noticed several critics on the internet criticize the film because Tintin feels like a very one-dimensional character, and they were hoping for something more emotional, where you feel more sorry or happy for the character. I will admit that, compared to other animated movies ( I won’t go into whether or not it’s an animated movie…for now, since it won a Golden Globe for Best Animated Film, and the makers of the movie consider it as such, let’s just assume that it is), Tintin didn’t produce half of the emotions in me as Pixar did with Wall.E, or Carl from Up. The movie didn’t leave a lot of time for character development (even if they did, in my opinion, develop the characters quite a bit more than some sites are giving the film credit for). But Tintin, both in the movies and the albums (at least those set around the time of ”The Secret of the Unicorn”), wasn’t that kind of character. Hergé isn’t trying to make his audience laugh and cry so much as he’s trying to make them laugh and enjoy the ride. In a time like the 30s, and especially later on during WWII, Tintin provided an excellent escape for people, especially children, a way to go see far away, exotic places as they went on a wild adventure in Tintin’s shoes with fun characters like Captain Haddock or Thomson and Thompson. With the economy how it is today and times being what they are, it would be good for people to take a few hours to be taken away from their troubles on a high definition adventure from Europe to Morocco, bringing along the old gang of characters with them. Because of the focus put on the actual adventures, the film is an experience that I enjoyed just as much the second time around as the first time, if not more, and I hope to soon watch the film a third time. A movie worth buying on DVD, as opposed to one worth renting or…well, you know what people do these days, is a movie that you can watch over and over again and continue to love. Tintin is that kind of movie.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to reduce Hergé’s albums to adventures with characters that exist merely to go on an adventure. Tintin DOES have more depth than that. Among those on the internet whom I have found were most offended by the movie are those who think that Tintin is not a good enough character (having not read the books) and those that do not think Tintin lived up to who Tintin REALLY is in the albums. And I’ll admit their argument does have some truth to it…some, mind you. From the point of view of somebody who has no idea who Tintin is, he may leave the movie not knowing honestly that much more about him than when he started…and he may have expected a bit more than ”Tintin is a reporter (sorry, a journalist…I love the film, but did that line bother anybody else? I mean, Tintin has always been a reporter…even in French, the word is borrowed from English) who gets caught into a really cool adventure with his really smart dog. He is very resourceful, has the mind of a detective, is extremely motivated to see things through, and always wins somehow in the end.” For the most part, audiences learn almost nothing more than that about Tintin in Tintin 1. Some Tintin fans, I think, wanted to see more of Tintin than that. A few moments even seem inconsistent with his character (such as the part when Haddock actually talks Tintin into not giving up, something that most often occurs the other way around in the comics). Yet even with that scene, Tintin quickly gets back up on his feet and is back to solving mysteries, defeating crime and searching for Red Rackham’s treasure. The movie is not flawless, but it is also far more than a bundle of good intentions. It was a very respectful adaptation that came pretty close. The truth is that the brief description of Tintin I just mentioned far from sums up everything he is…but it is all true. I believe that the film has faithfully shown all of those characteristics he has, especially with the limited time and I hope that as more films progress they can hit more of his qualities that just aren’t or even can’t really be shown in The Secret of the Unicorn. I’ll hit on this more in an upcoming post.
”Tintin” is also worth the money because of the amount of detail in each shot. It took about four hours to render every FRAME in this movie. I don’t care how many times you saw the film in theaters, I guarantee you that you missed all kinds of fascinating things in the movie, some you couldn’t have seen if you tried. For example, in the opening credits there is a stack of newspapers that comes off the press announcing the selling of Marlinspike Hall. If you pause the screen right there, you can actually read, quite clearly, the entire front page of the newspaper, including a humorous article in a side column about a man with impeccable punctuality at his job who is reported missing after not coming to work. When the uncaring wife of the ”victim” is told of the news of his disappearance, she simply replies: ”Good riddance.” After that the police hope that the man will come back on his own after a while, having come to the conclusion that the man must have simply decided it was a good idea to stay away from his wife for a little while… I haven’t taken the time to read them yet, but I’m sure all of the newspapers on Tintin’s wall have long stories worth reading on them as well. If you missed any of the obvious references to the albums (I can’t believe I was so busy looking at Snowy when he chases the villains across the city that I missed the window of ”E. Cutts” …I laughed for quite a while, firstly because of the reference to the albums’ running gag, but secondly because now I finally know what was up with the cows…) or even some of the less obvious nods to the source material, the DVD is the only way to make sure you catch them all for certain.
Anybody who has seen the movie knows how stunning the visuals of the film are. Apparently some people still don’t like the faces (though I disagree with one critic who blames the faces for the reason the DVDs aren’t selling terribly well in the USA). On viewing the film a second time, I’ll admit there were a FEW places in which the faces didn’t seem quite natural…especially when Tintin grins. But for the rest of the movie I was beyond comfortable with their faces and eyes, loving every detail on their face, every hair in Tintin’s quiff, every grain of sand on his neck and every drop of sweat on their skin. I understand many of you don’t have Blu-ray players (I didn’t get one myself until a few months ago) but, if ever there were a film to see in Blu-ray, it’s this one.
If for no other reason, sadly, because the bonus features are only available on the Blu-ray disc. I watched all ninety minutes of them, and honestly, I could have kept on going for another ninety. For somebody like myself who has been following the movie for the past 5 years through this blog, it’s fascinating to watch the things I’d only read were going on in Hollywood and New Zealand around the same time. The features open with ”Toasting Tintin: Part 1,” a video of Spielberg starting out work on the film reading a toast written by Fanny, the widow of Hergé, who gives her blessing and praise to what they were doing. The features end with a video of Spielberg toasting the film after it is finally finished, watched by the people down at Weta (I think) , projected on a cinema screen on a kind of Skype program, and sharing the screen with Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis. In between the two they show all the crazy things they did in the making of the movie, from animating Snowy’s hair to creating umbrella props that are only an umbrella’s frame, so that the open umbrella doesn’t cover up any points the motion capture cameras need to see. You can see some models built to show what Morocco or Tintin’s apartment would look like before they were digitally created. And you even get some brief interviews from minor actors in the film such as Toby Jones or Gad Elmaleh, along with some videos of Michael Farr, the Hergé biographer. Perhaps my favorite part was seeing footage of the real actors in ”The Volume” pretending to ride a motorcycle that isn’t moving or swim in water that isn’t there! It is certainly worth it to get the Blu-ray copy to see how the movie was made, even if you already know from following the movie for years. You will be surprised just how much you didn’t know.
This may be a minor thing for some Americans, but I’m also enjoying the DVD because I can listen to the other language tracks. In my opinion, the film is dubbed extremely well in French (and rightfully so!), and I enjoy using my limited knowledge of the language watching Tintin. A friend of mine will soon get together to watch it in Spanish. Movies are often poorly dubbed in Europe to a degree that I almost can’t stand to watch an American movie in any other language but English, but Tintin is different.
I can’t speak for the 3D disc. I own it, but don’t have a 3D player or TV to go with it. I don’t have plans to get one in my immediate future either, so until one magically falls into my lap, that disc will be resting on my shelf. The dvds also came with a code for a digital ”Ultraviolet”copy, but I don’t think that works here in Europe…I’m not sure, I haven’t tried it yet.
I have recently read a good number of negative reviews for Tintin on DVD, and while it’s interesting to read what they have to say (sometimes), I strongly disagree with most of their reviews. At first some of their arguments seem to make sense, especially if you take the movie for something it isn’t…and it kind of takes some of the fun out of the movie to hear them go on and on. But when I actually stuck the DVD into my player and Tintin started to come up on screen, I completely forgot everything they had to say. Because I loved the film, from frame one to end credits. Not just because I really want to love the film, but because it is a really, really good movie with a good balance of moments when I’m laughing and moments were I can’t believe what I’m seeing. It’s not perfect, and my next post, now that I have the DVD to refer to, will be some suggestions and positive criticism on how I think Tintin 2 could be even better. But as far as Tintin 1 goes…I waited almost six years for it, and there is something overwhelmingly wonderful about going from having to stare at 5 HD images from a film years away to owning every image in the film, that I can bring up on my screen as many times as I want. Of going from watching the trailer 10.000 times to being able to watch the whole film again and again and again. I have never been so happy to own a particular DVD in my life. I’m sorry for those who don’t get the same experience out of the film as I do…and I honestly hope that you can see the movie as the joy that it is.
In a recent comment Thierry has pointed out to me the coolest site I have found in months: http://lejournaldetintin.free.fr. I’m not sure if it’s entirely complete, but from what I can tell the site has a scan of pretty much every Tintin Magazine issue that ever came out from 1948 to 1988! I have not been fortunate enough to ever get any of these and rarely even have the opportunity to buy a used one (they are very expensive now), and sometimes it bugs me because I love Tintin so much and don’t want there to be great drawings of him out there I haven’t seen simply because they aren’t in any published albums. This site has solved that problem, and for that, Thierry, I am extremely grateful.
While you’re free to check the site out yourself, I plan to post an interesting or humorous cover picture from somewhere on the site every Monday. I imagine the covers are Moulinsart’s property, so full ownership credit is to be given to them. Usually, Tintinology is extremely wary of posting any official Hergé art on the site. Nonetheless, these photos, to my knowledge, are not commercially available (unless reproduced in a commentary, companion book, etc) so Moulinsart is no longer making money off of them. Anyway, all of the photos come from the site I previously mentioned. I’m just copying the images. All I’m trying to do is make some Tintin fans’ gloomy Mondays a little brighter.
As far as I can tell, the caption says (more or less) ”Tintin is one year old, and he will continue to grow.”
Here’s the first of those to come, the cover of the October 27th, 1949, issue, when Tintin magazine turned one year old. I love the concept of a one-year-old Tintin, with his hair exactly the same way he has it years later! I heard one movie critic contrast Haddock’s character physically with Tintin’s ”baby face,” and while Tintin´s face honestly didn’t bother me, I guess it is true that Tintin’s face does pretty well as a baby and, dare I say it, even looks kind of cute. I also love the ”angelic Thompsons” (with strangely tiny heads) who, despite not really having legs, still have their canes hanging from their arms. While the drawing is clearly chronologically inconsistent (it’s a cover, it doesn’t have to be), Snowy is still the one drinking from a bottle and Haddock has a huge bottle of Whiskey stuck in his back pocket. I’m not quite sure why the cradle was so pink…and i’m really not sure what’s up with the creepy little devil in the bottom right corner. I guess Evil can’t triumph over Tintin?
After four years of politics, the Belgian Supreme Court has finally come to the conclusion that Tintin in the Congo is not to be banned. While the content in the book would certainly have been deemed racist had a cartoonist published a similar work today, the tribunal has said that the Belgian law against racism can not apply to Tintin in the Congo unless it is clearly shown in the work that the intent of the author was to discriminate. ”Taken in the context of the 1930s,”said advocate M L’Hedim,”it is clear that Hergé had no such intent.” Allen Berenboom represented Casterman and Moulinsart in the case. ”It’s a sound decision and common sense. A work must be taken in context and compared with the information and stereotypes of the time.”
Congo, the world and the way people think have changed a lot since Tintin in the Congo was published. If you’re new to Tintin, just know that this one adventure, only the second Hergé ever did, is filled with stereotypes from the time that show the Congolese people to be very, very simple people. But every adventure after this is better, especially after The Blue Lotus. I do not believe Hergé had any harsh feelings whatsoever towards the people in the Congo, and while Tintin bosses them around and teaches them very very basic stuff, he does take their side and help them solve their problems with a white gangster-type criminal and a tribal-type witch doctor. Don’t buy into any of these articles online written just to sound like big news that say Tintin is racist (and by the way, he’s not Nazi either…).
If you have a child who just HAS TO HAS TO HAS TO HAVE every Tintin book and you are still afraid it will have a negative influence on him (which I seriously doubt), just explain to your kid that Hergé, and people in Belgium back then, were very misinformed when it came to both what was going on in the Congo and what the people were like. Teach them, if they don’t already know it from TV or school of just the fact that they are good, normal kids, that every human being, regardless of skin color, is equally human and to be treated on an equal level. Maybe even go out and donate a kilo of rice (or a large sum of money) to a non-profit organization or missionary, or something like that. I know of a missionary family down there, and from what I’ve heard about what the Congo is like today, they really could use all the help they can get.
This is old news, but since it won’t be long for the next season of ”The Amazing Race” to be aired on TV, I thought anybody who might have missed this episode would like to see it. In case anybody doesn’t know, ”The Amazing Race” is a different kind of reality TV show in which 11 teams of two (brothers, dating, couple, etc) travel around the entire world in a race for one million dollars. The show is divided into 12 legs, with numerous fun, but normally difficult, activities teams must do before they can move on and one pit stop at the end of each leg. In most legs, the last team to each pit stop is eliminated from the race.
When the season is running, episodes come on every Sunday night on CBS. If you live in the USA you can watch the already aired episodes on CBS.com until the next season airs. If not, you can either make your computer think it lives in the USA using some program out there, or you could just watch it on some other site, like this one:
If you want to find a different site, Google ”watch The Amazing Race Season 19 episode 11”.
What does this have to do with Tintin? One of the pit stops in the most recent season was in Brussels, and in order to figure out the country teams had to go to next they had to go to the part of Brussels where Hergé painted the frame from ´´The Calculus Affair´´ with Haddock and Tintin running down a fire escape on the side of a wall (I’ve been there myself, it’s a must see if you´re in Brussels). Next to the wall was a man dressed as Tintin. Each team at the beginning of the race was given two costumes that look exactly like the Thom(p)son’s outfits, complete with bowler hats, mustaches and canes. The teams than had to walk around Brussels in the early hours of the morning trying to figure out who they were! In typical American fashion, not one of them had a clue until they asked somebody. Once they found out, they had to find Tintin and tell him to receive their next clue.
All this is at the very beginning of the episode, so even if you don’t want to watch the whole thing you could watch the first 15-20 minutes to see the Tintin part. It’s quite fun to watch, especially because we see everything from an Asian Thompson to a Thompson with a beard! It’s hard to watch it though without thinking ”man, had I been on the show I would have known EXACTLY what to do!”
One final word of warning: this is the next to the last episode, so if you were hoping to watch season 19, you’ll kind of spoil it for you. But a new season is coming…
For those of you who may have found this through google or some other way and are not a regular follower of this site, I can assure you that while you will find many, many reviews of ”The Adventures of Tintin” on the internet, you will find very few written by somebody who has been an avid Tintin fan for years to the extent that he has been following every last piece of information available about the progress of this movie since it was first announced almost five years ago that Spielberg was going to pick up his old project and finally make a Tintin movie. Here you will find two such reviews. One is Chris’ review, the guy who started this blog and wrote everything until his schedule got busy and allowed me to write posts. Shortly after the movie premiered over in Europe he wrote a great review for both the Tintin fan and the man who’s never heard of him until now alike. I recommend you check it out here
The other such review of course is mine. I’m probably the biggest American Tintin fan you’ll ever meet. For those of you clueless people out there, Tintin is a very well known comic the Belgian George Remi (pen name Herge) drew from the late 1920s to the 70s. Tintin is a reporter that always finds himself on incredible adventures with his faithful white fox terrier, Snowy. He’s never been popular in the USA, but just about every other country in the world has heard of him. If you think that’s an exaggeration, check out how well Tintin did in the box offices over seas. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this movie much more than I’ve ever looked forward to see any other movie in my life. Did it live up to my expectations? In a world where movie tickets are expensive, is it worth your cash? What if you’re not a Tintin fan? Will you enjoy it?
I hate spoilers as much as you do so need not worry about reading any here. First of all, if you are new to Tintin you will not be lost. The movie does a terrific job of introducing the movie’s main characters. If you are a fan, you will recognise all of them as the characters you know, not as some horribly distorted version of them Hollywood threw together. Everybody making this movie went to great lengths to make sure that the original stories and artwork were respected as much as possible. The movie actually combines two Tintin albums, ”The crab with the golden claws” and ”The Secret of the Unicorn (there’s also a little bit of ”Red Rackhams treasure” in there, but not much), but you’d never know they weren’t one fluent storyline if you’ve never read the books because they are so magnificently blended together. As a matter of fact, while there are certain things that surely only a Tintin fan will appreciate when they watch the film, there are some things only somebody who is not at all familiar with the storyline will experience fully. I had very few problems while I was watching the movie, but one of them was really my own fault: I know the story of ”The Secret of the Unicorn” like the back of my hand. As a result I already knew almost everything that Tintin discovers little by little throughout the film. At some points I thought that the mystery side of the movie had been a bit overdramatized and that Tintin was taking just a little too long to put all the pieces together (quite literally), but again, the answer to the mystery is obvious once you already know the secret. But even when I knew what was coming, I still thoroughly enjoyed the film. There are lots of hilarious lines in the film, many straight from the books but most just clever new lines the excellent writers came up with. Don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that actors only did the voices in this film: every movement from their bodies and faces has captured by computer, and the animators then did an excellent job of putting ”digital makeup” on. Jamie Bell did a very good job as Tintin. Some people have complained in other reviews that the movie is so action packed there is little time for Tintin’s character to be really developed. But the truth is that we know very little about Tintin, and Jamie Bell did a great job at not answering those questions for us. We don’t know who his boss is or who his parents are. We don’t really care. What we do know is that once he sets his mind to do something, he heroicly keeps going against all odds no matter where in the world danger takes him. And the movie does a wonderful job at taking us on the adventure with him.Pretty much every frame of the movie is a piece of art…You could get a sense of what I’m talking about by checking out some of the movie stills or watching the trailers, but you really won’t understand just how great it looks until you see it in the movies. Especially the city of Brussels and the port in Morocco are bright,colorful and incredibly detailed. As far as the people go, they look wonderful to me. They still look like the cartoon characters from the comics, but when you see each individual hair on their heads and the sand and the sweat on their faces as they trod through the desert, you have to remind yourself it isn’t real and congrutalute Weta for their great job. The movie is in a number of formats, but I recommend you go see it in IMAX 3D like I did (if you can find one that doesn’t have all of it’s showtimes filled up with ”Mission Impossible 4”). Chris didn’t particularly like the 3D, but I’ve always been a big fan of IMAX 3D and really enjoyed certain sections when it looked like the dust Tintin’s flashlight was hitting or the woodchips that were exploding or even Captain Haddock’s nose were really in front of my face. Aside from a few moments when the camera pans so quickly a few things seem out of focus, this is a movie that the 3D really works well in, especially on the enormous screen. However I’d say that if you see it in 2D you shouldn’t feel like you’re missing too much because the 3D is more of a fun added bonus to the movie experience.
This is a movie you can take your kids to (they’ll LOVE Snowy), but it’s not just a movie for kids. I fear that many people will go to action packed Mission Impossible 4 and miss one of the best movies that came out this year. What really made the movie for me was Andy Serkis’ brilliant performance as Captain Haddock. Haddock is absolutely hilarious. When you’re not laughing at what he’s doing, you’re laughing at his lines, and when you’re not laughing at his lines you’re probably laughing at his face. He has a Scottish accent in the film (most of us didn’t see him that way in the books) but I fell in love with this version of Haddock immediately as Serkis brought it to life before my eyes. There were times when shots Haddock and a flashback of Sir Francis alternate with a fluency that could only really be acchieved using motion capture.The Thompsons also have a great part in the film, and the only thing I regret about their parts is that I wish they had appeared more in the movie! ”Tintin 2”, which has been officially confirmed, is said to give them a larger role. Daniel Craig did an awesome job as the villain Sakharine, and it’s funny to recognise James Bond playing a villain’s part. He is not the most evil of villains, but he certainly beats (in my mind anyway) the ”Bird Brothers” that were the somewhat pathetic villains in the original stories. I disliked to some degree how Allan, who was a main villain in ”The crab with the golden claws” became more of a wimpy sidekick to Sakharine, but it did work well in the story.
For Tintin Fans (the only spoilers here will be spoilers to non-Tintin fans)
If you are a Tintin fan worried that they’ve taken the stories and thrown in too many pointless action scenes, don’t worry about it. There were really very few sections that I didn’t instantly recognise from one of the books,even when the trailers sometimes make it seem like there are more, and they were anything but annoying. Actually I was very pleased that finally Tintin was doing something new because much of the fun for me in watching the movie was seeing what fun new things the writers could come up with for Tintin to do without insulting the fans. As I said before, the storyline was very familiar to me, and it was good to see some changes to it to make the movie more exciting. The scene in Bagghar with a brilliant cameo appearance of Castafiore and the chaos that follows is actually one of my favorite parts. If Herge could see it today, I think he’d laugh. And the other new scene at the end,a final clash between Haddock and the villain,is a great way to finish their side of the story. Never once do the new scenes seem to make the characters do something against their personality, and if they slow down the story at all it’s only so you can take a moment to enjoy yourself and laugh at what’s going on.
Tintin DOES use a gun (just like he does in the books) but as far as I could tell he never once killed anybody and hardly if ever wounds somebody. He shoots at motors or ropes to get what he wants or protect himself.
Any Tintin fan would be a fool not to go see this in theaters while they still can! Herge’s artwork is apparent from the first 3 seconds of the movie, and both the style and music of the intro feels like you’re watching the beginning of ”Catch me if you can” with about 14 million tributes to the different Tintin albums thrown in. It’s fun to watch moments throughout the movie that have elements thrown in from different books. There are more easter eggs in this movie that any I’ve ever seen, and if you have a good Tintin fan that can go with you to watch the movie you’ll enjoy yourself that much more, because you’ll both be the only people in the theater that know why you’re laughing at what’s on the screen. I won’t say what it is, but there’s a magnificent tribute to ”Explorers on the moon” that I really enjoyed. I can’t wait to own this movie on blu-ray and watch it with all the pizza and popcorn I couldn’t afford when I watched it in IMAX, this time with the remote control to pause the image and read newspaper clippings, compare character’s faces with the albums or look for more references.
You really have to see this movie. Europe loved it for good reasons. If you don’t know who Tintin is, you don’t know what you’re missing. If you DO know who Tintin is, you would make a grave error to not watch this because you are worried about ”what they’ve done to Tintin”. Don’t worry about it, trust me. No matter who you are, this is a must see. It’s the biggest installment in Tintin’s history since Alpha-Art was published.
If I could make a suggestion for the next film it would only be that the next story not revolve as much around a mystery and more around whether or not Tintin will be able to complete his clearly defined objective at all (i.e save Calculus from the Bordurians…hint hint…) I love that heroic side of Tintin that will do anything to save a friend, and I hope to see that developed more in the next film.
Go out America, and enjoy the film. Spielberg, Jackson, Weta, and the whole massive team in the credits, I applaud your hard work. The wait was worth it.
For those of you newbies to Tintin, he is such an icon that the Vatican’s official newspaper actually just recently wrote an article on him. Specifically, on the debate that’s been going on in court on whether or not to ban ”Tintin in the Congo” for racism. Now, one might think that just because of the Vatican’s very nature the article would certainly be defending those poor congolese people of the past that were portrayed far from accurately. But the author actually took the time to look at the facts of the article and has chosen to vigorously defend Tintin as his movie comes out around the world, stating that Tintin has been a good example of Catholic values throughout the ages. The article must be remembered and pulled out in the future to hopefully silence all of those foolish people that talk of Tintin being racist, gay, nazi,…you fill in the blank. The article is especially upset that Tintin in the congo has, in the UK, been ”wrapped up like a pornographic magazine and consigned to the adults-only section” of British book shops.
Like an excellent lawyer in Belgium at the moment arguing that the book is simply showing stereotypes from the time of Hergé, ”L’Observatore Romano” also holds to the obvious fact that ”Tintin in the Congo” is simply a reflection of its time, the fruit of a man who had never seen what Belgium was really doing there and only had false stereotypes to go on. We know how much effort Hergé put into researching his future albums, so it would be unfair to characterize hardly any of his other albums based on this one album. Furthermore, the African people, while certainly shown as unintelligent and naive people, are not even portrayed as villains in the story, but rather the gangsters Tintin deals with there. Tintin has nothing against these people and neither did Hergé. There is really nothing in the book that would lead anybody except the most sensitive of Congolese person to truly be offended by the book, and then that guy would probably just see how his people were drawn on the front and find some other comic to read (or take Moulinsart to court…). As the Vatican put it, ”The comic book was published in the 1930s, and for that reason expresses the values of the era – but can it really perturb young Britons of today, raised as they are on the Internet, video games and fish and chips?”
The Vatican praises Tintin’s character, calling him ”an angel” helping widows and orphans…Tintin is said to be driven by ”a sacred moral imperative – to save the innocent and conquer evil….Tintin is a Western knight of modern times, an unstained heart in an invulnerable body.” It’s great to see people still defending Tintin in the press. ”Le Soir” was a Catholic newspaper when Tintin was around, yet another reason that the Vatican would be pleased with kids reading Tintin. I myself am not catholic, but I certainly support kids reading about Tintin’s heroic virtues rather than all of the junk out there for them to read.
Interestingly enough, while the Vatican sings Tintin’s praises, one zealous worker in Lebanon tried to cover up Spielberg’s name from a Tintin poster. Circuit Empire, in charge of cinemas in Lebanon, commented that ”He knew that Spielberg was blacklisted and he took it upon himself to black out his name,” pointing out that this was not some movement of several men but just one worker. The name was quickly uncovered and the posters are still seen today. Of course this was nothing against Tintin, but it’s funny to watch how different countries react to big American films like this and how it affects Tintin’s release. I found it interesting they also commented that technically according to the strict laws in Lebanon Tintin should be banned, but due to the popular black market selling films the law would be impossible to implement and people are allowed to see it on the big screens. There’s a unique piece of Tintin trivia you can remember and tell other Tintin friends in the future…
Back in May 2007 I wrote the first post to what was then called TintinMovie.com. 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.
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.
* 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?
Congratulations brou for finding this amazing treasure trove of shots from the movie! I can’t believe how many there are! The weirdest thing is it’s from a page in a language that I’m not even entirely sure I know what it is! Some sort of Russian or something..maybe? Anyway, with this many images from the film, the page could be in Swahili for all I care!
Not very many of these are familiar angles, but there are a few. It’s not hard to see Daniel Craig’s face hidden under all of the animated skin. Allan actually looks scared here, which isn’t common for him. The guy on the left, who we’re pretty sure is named Rackham, is definitely in charge.
Wow, this is a cool shot. In many way it’s parallel to the last shot, with Haddock gripping Tintin much like Rackham does Allan in a long hallway with a light at the back. I love the blue light in the background. I think this is a pretty good shot of Haddock. As fun as it is to see Haddock in rage, crying, or making some other silly face, it’s nice to have a few shots where Haddock doesn’t look quite as emotional.
In case your preference is silly Haddock faces, Serkis didn’t disappoint. I’m…not quite sure what to make of that face. I think Tintin looks incredible though. His eyes look very scared that whoever they are hiding from at the moment might hear them or find them. Interesting shot of Snowy’s front legs too, we don’t see Haddock hold Snowy very often. If ever…
This shot isn’t my favorite…Haddock looks slightly blurry, and Tintin doesn’t look very photogenic in this shot. I’m sure it looks great when it’s all in motion and he’s focused on flying while yelling at Haddock at the same time, but the face they froze looks kind of unnatural. I do like how claustrophobic they make the inside of the plane feel and how they show the awful storm going on right outside. This situation they’re in would have been a nightmare.
This looks like the shot from the trailer. You have to love how close they kept the parchments to the original parchments in the album. Even ”the Eagle’s cross” is still there.
What are they looking at? Tintin looks very surprised. Snowy looks curious.
We’ve seen this angle before…but Haddock looks more sad in this picture. It just goes to show you how quickly these character’s change their facial expressions. It’s best to watch them in movement to get the full effect.
Wow…I know some people don’t like it that Haddock has a bazooka/rocket launcher/ whatever it is, but I think this picture is hilarious! And pretty cool! It’s funny to think of how little Haddock knows about shooting weapons like that, and how much better Tintin would have been at it, yet somehow it was Haddock that wound up in the little sidecar. Snowy seems to be looking at Haddock with a face that says ”Are you kidding me?” From the video game trailer it looks like they will switch places at some point half way through the ride. That should be fun to watch…
Hmmm…Rackham is at Marlinspike, and poor Tintin is in trouble. There’s Nestor in the back looking as much like Nestor as ever…
Le Petit Vingtième! It’s only fitting that one of their newspapers would make it in the movie! This is one of my favorite shots so far, I love how much effort Weta put into this. I wonder what Snowy is looking for?
Another desert shot! Haddock must be about to dive into a mirage. Wow, the sand looks magnificent…
Never has Allan looked more evil. I can almost hear him yell ”Go get ‘em!”
This one’s beautiful. Look at that sky in the background. This must be the night they escape. At this point they think they are free, and it looks like somewhere along the line they picked up a tourist flyer advertising Baghar (there’s another image later that shows this) that they might be able to row to. Tintin’s face, while slightly unnatural in that pose, looks like he has a plan and is trying to convince Haddock of it or something.
Another shot from the trailer. I hadn’t noticed Snowy has Haddock’s hat.
Beautiful shot of the Thom(p)sons…Tintin’s face looks great too.
Another shot of the boat at sunset. The little tourist flyer might be all Tintin has to go on later to get to Baghar( I think that’s the city they go to?).
Another trailer shot. Ok, so there were more than I thought…It’s still a great shot of Tintin and Snowy.
Here’s, in my opinion, one of the best shot’s of Snowy we have so far.
The sequel to one of the shot’s we saw from the article in Empire. I love how great this looks, and how dangerous this scene feels. Poor guys! Shot at on a boat, then chased down on a life boat, then trapped in a seaplane in a storm, and then trapped in a desert with no water! This is going to be a great movie!