i watched this last night. i’d wanted to see it on the big screen when it first came out but fear of seeing a major part of my childhood destroyed kept me away. i’d read that the film mashes up the plots of a few books and rewrites characters etc. and all of this seemed like more desecration than i could take. and, of course, i feared the spielbergization of the whole thing: tintin as a young man trying to gain the love of his father (captain haddock probably) and so on.

anyway, i was wrong to worry: this is great fun. the plot mash-up works and the film has clearly been written by people who understand the books: the changes to character and plot feel completely organic; the story is just familiar enough for recognition and just different enough to keep it interesting for people like me who know the books inside out. and apart from one gratuitous extended action sequence at the very end the animation captures the tone and rhythm of the books very well. daniel craig is wonderful as the sinister sakharine (a very minor character in the secret of the unicorn) and andy serkis is even better as captain haddock. and jamie bell’s tintin is right on the money.

i know this did really well internationally and so i hope they keep making more. one on the inca books, one on the syldavia/borduria books, and one that mashes together the plots (and updates the sometimes queasy cultural/political representations) of the cigars of the pharaoh, the blue lotus and the red sea sharks: that’s all i ask.

6 thoughts on “tintin

  1. I agree, on all counts. I too read all the Tintin adventures as a kid and was therefore protective. But Arnab is right–this film does HergĂ© no real injustice. Serkis’s Captain Haddock was indeed a highlight–the performance was full of humor and pathos. And I sort of appreciated the seriousness with which the film dealt with his drinking–which I think is a real Spielberg touch. There were quite a few Spielberg touches, I recall, and they seem apiece with the Tintin world.

    The only thing that didn’t quite work was Thomson and Thompson. They seemed a bit shoved in to the film in a way other characters didn’t (like Bianca Castiafore). But Maybe Arnab would disagree.

    One or two chase scenes were actually quite clever, and I was surprised by how much they could pack into a relatively short film. And I don’t think this was “must see in 3-D.” I enjoyed it fine in 2-D.

    I’m assuming Red Rackham’s Treasure is the sequel? I’d pay to see it.

    1. no, i don’t think red rackham’s treasure can be the sequel. this film essentially bypasses most of red rackham’s treasure, the plot of which centers on the sea/island hunt for the treasure which is finally discovered (with help from professor calculus, who makes his debut in the book) to be in the hidden vault in marlinspike (which this film ends with). that’s fine by me as red rackham’s treasure is one of the weaker books.

      i suspect that if the sequels do emerge, craig’s upgraded sakharine will replace the books’ rastapopulous as the ongoing villain. in the books rastapopulous is the employer of the villainous allan, haddock’s first mate, who appears in the film as sakharine’s henchman.

      i agree that thomson and thompson didn’t quite fit, but they didn’t mar the film too much.

  2. I thought that they reversed the ending of Red Rackham’s Treasure. In the book, as you say, Tintin and Haddock find the Eagle’s Cross in Marlinspike’s cellar. But the treasure they find in the globe is only a sample of a much larger treasure, which will lead them back out to the sea. My thought is this change will allow the sequel to cover a lot of Red Rackham material that was left out in this film. I read that Spielberg’s plan was to do a trilogy, with the first film being a mash up of Unicorn and Red Rackham, the second being Seven Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun, the third being The Blue Lotus and Tintin in Tibet. But I don’t see how the ending of this film leads to Crystal Balls/Prisoner when so much from Red Rackham’s Treasure was left out. Clearly, their next adventure is to find the other 400 weight of gold at the bottom of the sea, which as I said kind of reverses the Red Rackham ending. But it’s been a while since I’ve read these books, so I’ll leave it to our Tintin expert, Arnab, to predict what’s coming next.

    1. i just installed a plugin that should give all registered users an indefinite window to edit their own comments. anyone want to test it out? if this breaks the site, blame john.

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