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The Adventures of Tintin: Red Rackham’s Treasure (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn in the United States later this month, I’ll be taking a look at some of nineties animated television show. Check back daily!

Note: This is our review of the animated episode, check out our review of the book here.

It’s quite strange, given how lukewarm I was to The Secret of the Unicorn, that I am undeniably fond of Red Rackham’s Treasure. At a time when Hergé seemed to be aiming for fantastic escapism, perhaps to avoid dealing with wartime reality, I think that Red Rackham’s Treasure perfectly encapsulates a lot of what was fun about Tintin, at least for my inner child. There’s hidden treasure, untouched tropic islands, walks along the ocean floor, submarines and even a shark attack! It’s all very light and whimsical, but it’s pure adventure all the way through, with a giddy enthusiasm sustaining the narrative.

Pushing the boat out...

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The Adventures of Tintin: The Blue Lotus (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn in the United States later this month, I’ll be taking a look at some of nineties animated television show. Check back daily!

Note: This is our review of the animated episode, check out our review of the book here.

While I think that the early run of stories from Cigars of the Pharaoh were among Hergé’s most impressively pulpy output, populated with opium traders and sinister conspiracies seemingly spanning the globe, I do tend to have rather eclectic taste. For example, I am quite partial to The Black Island and The Shooting Star, two of the oft-malign chapters in The Adventures of Tintin. Similarly, I’ve found myself slightly underwhelmed by widely-praised instalments like The Secret of the Unicorn or The Blue Lotus. It’s not that I think they’re bad (far from it), merely that I feel they aren’t as good. Still, the animated adaptation of Tintin in America managed to construct an engaging little adventure from a disjointed story, so I wonder how this episode will handle its source material?

Shang-hai Noon...

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The Adventures of Tintin: Cigars of the Pharaoh (Review)

To celebrate the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn in the United States later this month, I’ll be taking a look at some of nineties animated television show. Check back daily!

Note: This is our review of the animated episode, check out our review of the book here.

This is more like it. After a single twenty-three minute episode to cover Tintin in America, Cigars of the Pharaoh gets a bit more space. It’s a very faithful take on the classic story, split over two episodes to retain as much as possible. It’s a good thing, too, as I’d argue that Cigars of the Pharaoh is easily one of the best stories Hergé ever wrote, and certainly the first truly classic entry in the series. So it’s great to see the animated series kicking everything into gear.

Mapping out the show...

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Non-Review Review: Catch Me If You Can

Catch Me If You Can is an enjoyable little film which feels like Spielberg indulging in some sixties nostalgia, while allowing Leonardo DiCaprio to scratch yet another name off his “greatest living directors” bingo card. It’s always impressive when a movie running for two-and-a-half hours just breezes by – some might suggest that such a film is “light”, and it’s a hard position to disagree with, but I think it marks a nice change of pace from the darker movies Spielberg was directing during the first decade of the new millennium. It’s not a classic, but it’s an enjoyable piece of cinema, crafted by talented people, that moves almost as fast as its lead character.

They should cheque better next time...

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October 2011 In Review

I occasionally post a little section at the end of the month reviewing some of the more interesting stuff I’ve written – perhaps it might be helpful to a reader navigating the archives, but it’s really for myself, looking back from time to time. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

It was a fun month here at the m0vie blog, and one in which we gleefully got to indulge our nerdy little interests. To celebrate the release of Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I decided to try to review all 24 of Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin. In case you want to browse the reviews, here they are:

It was also a fun month because I somehow ended up on the front page of IMDb, recommended on their hit-list for an article I wrote about my anticipation around the release of Tintin. It’s always a huge pleasure to be cited by people who you admire and respect, in a field where they are really the very big players, and I’m honestly humbled by the experience.

And then there was this

Paul Cornell, comic book writer at DC and writer for the revived Doctor Who (and the novels that preceded it), linked to my review of his superb run on Action Comics. It’s one of the truly great modern comic book runs, and wholeheartedly recommended, but it’s just really, really cool to have Mr. Cornell acknowledge the review. At the risk of gushing, he’s a writer that I’ve been following ever since I caught a repeat of Father’s Day, which was the episode that convinced me that Doctor Who was well worth my time. So, the idea that the guy somehow innocuously clicked on to this blog made my week.

So, yep, at the risk of geeking, it was an awesome month.

Is Captain Haddock the Ultimate Hero of Hergé’s Tintin?

I think it’s safe to agree that Captain Archibald Haddock was the breakout character of Hergé’s The Adventures of Tintin. Introduced in The Crab With the Golden Claws, one of three adventures to form the basis of Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, Haddock has rarely been absent from the series in the time that followed. Indeed, Hergé even went back and wrote him into the end of a story (The Land of Black Gold) that he began before Haddock was even created. Haddock’s appeal seems to be incredible, with the blue-turtleneck-wearing sea-captain almost as iconic as Tintin and Snowy. Returning to the series for the first time in years, as the release of the new movie approaches, I couldn’t help but wonder if Haddock was the real hero of the series.

He'll never desert Tintin...

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Tintin: Tintin and the Alph-Art (Review)

In the lead-up to the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I’m going to be taking a look at Hergé’s celebrated comic book character, from his humble beginnings through to the incomplete post-modern finale. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Tintin and the Alph-Art is a strange little story. It’s the last Tintin adventure that Hergé began before his death, more than fifty years after the intrepid reporter had debuted in Tintin in the Land of the Soviets. I’ve also found something strangely wonderful in the idea that the final Tintin pages that Hergé drew threatened to close the series forever, with the boy reporter trapped in a polyester sculpture, entombed forever as a work of art – it’s not exactly a happy ending, but I’d argue it was a fitting one. There isn’t a definitive finished version of the story available – Hergé died leaving notes and sketches and half-formulated ideas, but there’s little real sense of how he wanted the story to end, or even how he’d get Tintin out of that one final death trap. Of all the “unofficial” Tintin works out there, and there are quite a few, Tintin and Alph-Art is perhaps the one most closely associated with Hergé, drawing from a story he never finished to try to cap off a saga five decades in the making.

And then... nothing...

Note: I am discussing the “unofficial” version of the story completed by Yves Rodier. I will also make reference to the annotated Hergé script released a while back.

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