Monday, November 21, 2011

The Tintin saga - now in a theatre near you!

Let me start by saying a big "Thank You Steven Spielberg!" for bringing Tintin on screen in a serious way! After all these years of make-do animations, here's a promise that Tintin will reach out to a new generation unaware of the magic. While as a Tintin fan I feel there's a long way to go before justice is done on the big screen to the legend that's Tintin, it's a great start.

Close to 80 years ago, a Belgian artist dreamed of a boy character who would take on the villains of the world, and stand for peace and justice. Little did that artist realise that Titin - his boy character - will become a legend in his own lifetime. 'Millions of books sold in many languages around the world' hardly captures the success of the boy character. The zeal and love that his fans hold for him in their hearts perhaps does.

Tintin was a result of the circumstances of those days. The artist - George Remi (R.G. - Herge) - brought real life incidents to bear upon the development of the character of Tintin. Slowly, over the decades, more characters joined the duo of Tintin and Snowy.. and the family grew to a handsome and reliable lot! Travelling all around the world, taking on the most devilish of villains in the most believable of ways, Tintin brought happiness and cheer to kids and adults alike.

Over the decades, the strength of Herge's character grew so strong that he had to often run away in isolation - to regain his mental balance (Tintin drains me completely, he would say). Each character added to the script was so profoundly intense in their own ways, it was totally magical. From the loyal and irasible Captain Haddock to the dumb detectives Thomson and Thompson, and from the ultra-intelligent and absent-minded Prof Calculus to the singing sensation Bianca Castafiore, it all fit in really well.

I grew up with Tintin through the '70s and '80s, till the time the last major adventure - Tintin and the Picaros - was published. Then new adventures stopped with the death of Herge.

But surprisingly, the Tintin magic only kept growing. Once addicted, I found it impossible to get off. In fact, like a mellowing wine, I started enjoying the adventures the more I read them (the same ones!). Strangely, even a change of published format allows for another reason for a die-hard fan to buy the same adventure book again!

So Tintin became a living legend in his own right.

I feel this is what made him so:
  • Ultra-realistic drawing by Herge, taking into account the minutest of real-world dimensions
  • Deep and meaningful storylines, rendered credible by real-world happenings
  • Something for everyone - kids loved Snowy, adults loved Haddock, everyone loved Tintin!
  • Genuine humour, clean fun
  • Almost zero violence even when it was present
  • Tintin hates guns, and abstains from vices (like liquor) - a perennial message throughout the series
  • Pan-national appeal (perhaps villains like Rastapopulous are everywhere!)
So far, there was no serious big-budget attempt at bringing Tintin to screen. Steven Spielberg does a wonderful job of it.

Here are my observations about the movie:
  • Fantastic quality of animation - real-life like!
  • Nicely mixed the two adventures - "The crab with the golden claws" and "Secret of the Unicorn" to create a new story altogether
  • Great idea to use a lot of characters in the first movie itself - except Prof Calculus, almost everyone was covered
  • Three cheers for Spielberg for believing in the story of Tintin

Here are my suggestions for future productions (which inevitably will come):

  • I feel that too many guns and gunshots were used. These are not needed in a true Tintin adventure. At least try to avoid 'Tintin firing too many shots'.. it is disconcerting to genuine fans
  • Let Snowy talk. It'll be good for the storyline, even if he talks to himself only
  • Too much of action is avoidable - an entirely new action sequence (in the city of Bagghar) was added to the movie (not there in original adventures). Perhaps it can be avoided or made less destructive
  • The amount of damage and destruction shown in the end of the movie (in the city of Bagghar) is something Tintin would never approve of! So be cautious in your attempt to Americanise an essentially European character :)
  • Turning a hit storybook into an equally hit movie is a very tough job - still, the steadfastedness with which Herge created the original deserves a matching effort by moviemakers.
I will be happy if more kids get exposed to stuff like Adventures of Tintin rather than the utter gibberish they are used to, on television.

Crumbs! I am going on and on. Let it end here! Adios amigos, see you soon.


Anonymous said...

TOTALLY COOL !!! loved it!!!

- Aztek from Bangalore!

Seema Sharma said...

My children love it as much as you seem to!! Good.. good

Seema Sharma

Abhijit Karmarkar said...

i immediately noticed the mixing of themes in this movie.. but what the heck! Tintin rocks any which way.... :-)))

blisterin barnaclessss :-))

Marcus said...

Itll be a surprise if the american audiences lap it up the way Indians or Europeans are likely to.. let's see! All the best

Unknown said...

Well, I feel all these little cartoon characters tend to give a message to free the world from the prevailing anarchy, chaos and bloodshed and make this world a better place. In today's world the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity so there is a need of a revival of the lost human innocence,which can come through the innocent minds probably.

Eternalfoodsplorer said...

Tin-Tin,my ever so favourite animated character.It has a special place in my life because it was the 1st comic that i read.
my dad had gifted me one,and it would always stay special for me!
Truly a wonderful movie added colours to my imaginations. :>
Tin-Tin rocks!