The Adventures of Tintin

I am an incredibly huge fan of Tintin and it has influenced my life, including my science. I own all the comic books including the very first two, Tintin in the Land of the SovietsTintin in the Congo, as well as unfinished Tintin and the Aleph-Art as well one of the finished versions. I have two bootlegs, one where Tintin is a socialist union organiser who rebels against capitalism (Breaking Free), and another one Tintin in Thailand where Tintin travels to Thailand is exposed as being androgynous.

I started the Tintin comic books (graphic novels) when I was like 3 (it was Explorers on the Moon which I read first) and it was through repeated readings that I decided to work on science and even built a model moon rocket (Herge was a visionary genius in writing this I thought, since it was done way before the actual moon landing). Many of the books I've literally memorised. So I'd say I'm very familiar with Tintin.

I want to say I liked this movie. The first time I watched it with my kids in IMAX in the theatre and I went to sleep right after the scene and my kids woke me up when the credits were rolling. This was after five shots of expresso but I hadn't slept the night before. The second time I watched it at home On Demand and the same thing happened. The third time I watched it is when I stayed awake and I realised this movie is a combination of three books, which are The Secret of the Unicorn, Red Rackham's Treasure and The Crab with the Golden Claws.

It's an interesting and ambitious effort. I have to give credit for all those trying. But I think it's a fail. The Crab with the Golden Claws is a really important story in the Tintin time line, since that's where he meets Haddock and it's a very different story and set of circumstances where the Karaboudjan (later becoming the Djebel Amillah) and Allan the First Mate are involved in drug smuggling. The Secret of the Unicorn and its sequel Red Rackham's Treasure (it's a two parter) are not my top choice of the books but I do think for a movie integrating the two isn't a bad idea.

What I feel that doesn't work and is really jarring to me is the mixing up of The Crab with the Golden Claws story. Mentally my familiarity with the Tintin story line is so great that I know that Tintin had already met Haddock and in fact had an adventure with him before this in The Shooting Star which came after The Crab with the Golden Claws.

Some people may say I should put my mental view of the story line aside and approach the movie from a fresh angle. I tried. I believe the burden of coming up with a better storyline is incumbent on the film makers (I don't want to name names here intentionally) and they really failed. Herge wrote the stories in the manner he did and the flow was fantastic. If you want to mess around with a classic, then you better coming up with a good mash up. (For example, Disney's mix of Alice in Wonderland usually with In Through the Looking Glass has worked out well.)

There's certainly a reverence to the original material and sections of the movie are great and loyal. But at the same time the overall combined story line is just not as good as the two major separate story lines (the The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham's Treasure I count as one story line). It's simple as that. It's like taking two great adventure stories and mashing them and the combined result isn't better than either one of the story lines.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||