So, I saw the Tintin movie last night. As you can tell by my username and my avatar, I'm a big Tintin fan (Hergé fan, he has written more than Tintin. His Quick & Flupke series is awesome for example). Needless to say, I went in with high expectations.
I’ll leave out story spoilers.
As was clear going into the movies, they used 3 Tintin books for this movie.
(1) The crab with the golden claws
(2) The secret of the unicorn
(3) Red Rackham’s treasure
Just a few thoughts:
The movie starts with the secret of the unicorn (with a very nice cameo for Hergé). Tintin and Haddock were already friends in book (2) but the moviemakers wanted to introduce captain Haddock (which happens in book (1)), so they had to change quite a bit to make that happen. In the beginning of book (2), Haddocks tells about his ancestor sir Françis of Hadoque and he does so with ferver and passion. It’s a hilarious part of the book so I was afraid that I was going to miss out on that with the changes to the movie. However, I didn’t need to fear: they simply moved that part to another section of the story and they handled captain Haddock’s storytelling scene very well.
Beforehand, I feared a bit for Tintin’s dog Snowy. (the dog has his own text balloons in the books for example). Another fear squashed. In fact, Snowy was just about my favorite character of the bunch, which was a surprise. He is really, really cute.
I loved seeing Brussels at the start of the movie, including those lovely, lovely cars back in the day (instead of removing Tintin from his time and putting him in the modern world of today, as they did for The Smurfs movie). I plan on visiting that flea market where Tintin bought the ship some time next week or so.
Jamie Bell does a fantastic job with Tintin. I love his voice.
Bianca Castafiore makes an appearance, which doesn’t happen in those 3 books. Very nice touch, though! The friend I was with was surprised to see that she can actually sing very well but that was no surprise to me because Castafiore is a famous opera singer after all. It’s just that Haddock HATES opera singing (Castafiore was introduced by Hergé after one of his friends, Edgar P. Jacobs (another great comic book artist) took him to an opera once. Hergé didn’t like it at all and he introduced Castafiore as a joke to his friend so that he could make fun of opera throughout the series).
Going into the movie, I was afraid of the pace of the movie. Hergé was a master story teller and the rhythm he used to tell his stories was a delicate and careful procedure. He excelled in that. For the movie, Spielberg had to speed it up to get more action in. He did that well but I must say that I do prefer Hergé’s story telling rhythm (but then again, paper is more patient).
In the very beginning of the movie, there’s an animation to introduce the main crew who have worked on this movie. Really great fun to see, but it would have been even better if they’d used the clear line Hergé was famous for.
I don’t know when exactly but at some point in time (was it the 50s?), the US market showed an interest in publishing the Tintin series in the USA on the condition that they would be adapted for the US market. They asked Hergé to make some changes. They had done so with Lucky Luke (made by Morris) as well. Lucky Luke smokes but the US editor figured that this wasn’t a good role model for kids so they asked Morris, the artist, to remove the cigarettes. Since Morris couldn’t simple delete the cigarettes because Lucky Luke does clearly have something between his lips, Morris replaced the cigarette with a straw. So, Morris complied.
Hergé was asked to cut down on captain Haddock’s swearing and insults + Hergé had to remove the alcohol. Luckily for us, Hergé refused. Remove Haddock’s swearing and love for the bottle and you might as well erase the entire character. (I've always wondered if this was part of the reason why the Tintin books never really broke through in the USA, because Hergé didn't want to adapt the series to that market).
For this movie, I was afraid that they were again going to cut down on these habits of Haddock. On the contrary, they went the other way. In the books, Haddock clearly loves his drink but not all the time. It’s only once in a while that you see those scenes but there’s plenty in between when Haddock is clearly sober. In the movies, he goes from one bottle to the other. I think that they went too far with that. Mixed feelings about the movie's Haddock. He's great fun at times but they went too far in other parts.
Professor Calculus was introduced in book (3), Red Rackham’s treasure. He plays a crucial part in that book. He does not appear in the movie at all. I miss him.
Hergé’s bad guys were never bad through and through. They always had some sort of quirk that made you chuckle. Spielberg’s bad guy is evil through and through. Ivan Saccharin disappears quite quickly in the books but he’s a huge part of the movie (they changed quite a bit actually). I also have mixed feelings about that.
All in all, I had great fun. It's clear to see that the movie was made by people with love and respect for Hergé's work but...
The books >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the movie (but that's usually the case, isn't it?)
My score for the movie: 7/10 (so good without being excellent)