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The Adventures of Tintin: Flight 714 (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.

Towards the end of his Adventures of Tintin, you could tell that Hergé was growing increasingly experimental, taking the series well outside comfort zone of pulp thrillers and global adventures. Tintin in Tibet was an introspective meditation on hope and faith. The Castafiore Emerald was a combination of plot threads that never really managed to tie together into an adventure. Flight 714 reads as if it were a parody of a Tintin story, instead of one itself. It’s a collection of incredible coincidences, elaborate schemes and recurring villains, all written in a wry style that tends to divide fans. Some appreciate the tongue-in-cheek nature of the story, while other find the inclusion of aliens to be a ridiculously fantastical element. It’s certainly not a conventional Tintin story. And, to be honest, I think this poses a bit of a problem for the team handling the adaptation. They’ve done a stellar job tying together the more straight-forward entries in the series, but seem to struggle with some of the stranger instalments.

And this, I’m afraid, is very strange.

Departure lounging around...

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The Adventures of Tintin: The Castafiore Emerald (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.

The Castafiore Emeraldis certainly a strange title to adapt for an animated television series. Essentially an excuse for Hergé to play with the assorted tropes and clichés he had established for the series, the story is a mystery that refuses to conform to what Tintin and the audience might expect it to, with each and every avenue of exploration turning into a dead end. As such, it allows Hergé to explore the more personal interactions of his supporting cast (like Haddock and Calculus), while having a bit of fun with his lead character – the boyish reporter. While it makes for an interesting book, I’m not convinced that it could ever really work as an animated episode.

Faithful to the letter...

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The Adventures of Tintin: The Red Sea Sharks (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.

In many ways, The Red Sea Sharks feels like a conclusion to The Adventures of Tintin. Drawing together countless plot threads and supporting characters into one massive confrontation between Tintin and Rastapopoulos, providing some nice set pieces and a tour of the globe, the adventure feels like it’s really wrapping up all the left over bits and pieces the series has accumulated since Cigars of the Pharaoh. The four adventures that followed would have a markedly different tone, to the point where they almost felt like an epilogue, examining what happened after Tintin’s globe-trotting adventures had concluded. The animated adaptation of the episode seems to treat it as an adventure relatively epic in scope, and again makes a surprising case for an unconventional candidate for a potential movie adaptation.

Just plane trouble...

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The Adventures of Tintin: Destination Moon (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.

I think that Destination: Moon represents perhaps the most significant challenge to the producers of the animated series so far. While they managed to harvest a plot from the disjointed collection of scenes Hergé knitted together to form Tintin in America, this is the perhaps the least standard instalment of the series they’ve tried to adapt until this point. I’m a big fan of Destination: Moon, reading it as a wonderful optimistic and enthusiastic reflection on mankind’s potential, coming from Hergé after the Second World War. However, it’s also a bit unstructured and episodic, almost a collection of short stories tied together by the plan to send a manned mission to the moon. The animated adaptation doesn’t have the luxury of cutting the adventure down to a single episode, and so it’s a standard two-parter. It seems that there was a bit of difficulty structuring the story for that format.

Blast off!

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Tintin: The Red Sea Sharks (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.

The Red Sea Sharks is, I suppose, a fine adventure tale, even if it’s not an entry in Hergé’s canon that I’m particularly fond of. The nineteenth instalment in the series, the author uses the opportunity to tie a whole slew of open story threads together and anchor the long-term continuity of the series, but he also decides to deal with the issue of modern slavery – a controversial and topical issue, to be sure. However, while I have no doubt the author’s intentions were true, the story reads more than a little awkwardly in dealing with the topic.

Calculus gets his skates on...

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