|French Title: “Les Aventures de Tintin”.
That all-time comic-book favourite of French kids, Tin Tin,hits the big screen, courtesy of Steven Spielberg and his Dreamworks movie machine..
Since 10th January 1929, when the first story was published in a Belgian newspaper, roving reporter Tin Tin has prevailed through thick and thin, to triumph over wrong-doers the world over. Much to the delight of French and Belgian kids and, eventually, kids the world over, as his adventures rolled out, translated into 80 languages with more than 350 million copies of the books sold to date.
The original 1942 story, The Secret of the Unicorn, is now given the Hollywood treatment. This latest adaption of creator, Belgian artist Georges Rémi ‘s favourite hero (he published under the nom-de-plume: Hergé) , stars Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig. Produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Steven Spielberg.
A firm French favourite fior decades
Tintin, a young journalist, and his dog Snowy, are browsing in an outdoor market in a European town (possibly Brussels). Tintin buys a model of a three-masted sailing ship, the Unicorn, for a good price, but is then immediately accosted by the sinister Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine, and the mysterious figure of Barnaby, who both try to buy the model from Tintin, without success. Tintin takes the ship home, but it is broken during a fight between Snowy and a neighbour’s cat. As it breaks, we see a parchment scroll slip out of the ship’s mast. Meanwhile, incompetent detectives Thomson and Thompson are on the trail of a pickpocket, Aristides Silk. Tintin visits Sakharine in Marlinspike Hall, where he learns that there are at least two model ships.
Capture and escape
Later, Tintin is shot at, then abducted by accomplices of Sakharine, and imprisoned on the SS Karaboudjan. On board, Tintin escapes and meets the ship’s nominal captain, Haddock. Haddock has been supplied with whisky by first mate Allan, who is working for Sakharine, and the captain is permanently drunk, and doesn’t know what’s happening on board his ship. Tintin and Haddock (and Snowy) eventually escape from the Karaboudjan in a lifeboat. Sakharine sends a seaplane to find them, but Tintin is able to capture the plane, and fly towards the (fictitious) Moroccan port of Bagghar, but they crash in the desert.
Dehydrated in the heat, and suffering from a sudden lack of alcohol, Haddock hallucinates, and starts to remember stories about his ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock(e), who was captain of the Unicorn during the 17th century. Sir Francis’ treasure-laden ship was attacked by a pirate ship, led by the masked Red Rackham, and, after a fierce battle and eventual surrender, Sir Francis chose to sink the Unicorn, and most of the treasure, rather than allow it to fall into Rackham’s hands. It transpires that there were three models of the Unicorn, each containing a scroll. Together, the scrolls will reveal the location of the sunken Unicorn, and its treasure.
A Chase, A Fight… Victory
In Bagghar, Tintin and the Captain find out that the third model ship is in the possession of the wealthy Omar Ben Salaad, but it is encased in a bullet-proof glass display case. Sakharine’s plan is to stage a concert involving famous diva Bianca Castafiore, the “Milanese nightingale”, whose penetrating singing voice will be able to shatter the glass case, allowing Sakharine’s trained hawk to fly down and steal the third scroll. After an exciting chase down to the harbour, pursued by Tintin and Haddock, Sakharine finally escapes with all three scrolls. Tintin chases him back to Europe and arranges a police reception for him on the dockside. Haddock and Sakharine, who is revealed to be the descendant of Red Rackham, eventually replay their ancestors’ swashbuckling sword fight, using dockside cranes, and Haddock is eventually victorious.
With the three scrolls finally in their possession, Tintin and Haddock find that the indicated location is Marlinspike Hall, and that the hall had been built originally by Sir Francis Haddock. There, in the cellar, they find some of the treasure, a clue to the location of the sunken Unicorn, and, perhaps, the excuse for another adventure.
So, can a story originally penned in 1942, still enthrall the media-savvy kids of today? You judge – see the trailer link below
To pop up the trailer
– Click the poster above –
Story: Chris McCready