The character of Tintin has been around for many decades-as early as 1929. He was originally featured in a series of comic books created by Belgian artist Georges Remi (a.k.a Herge) and Tintin’s fictional adventures have been well-documented ever since in a variety of mediums, from books, magazines, radio programs, theater productions, film, and for purposes of this review, television series. The Adventures of Tintin was the second animated series to feature Tintin and ran for three seasons starting in 1991. Season one has just been released on DVD in a “subtle” way to help promote Steven Spielberg’s upcoming motion capture Tintin film.
The Adventures of Tintin follows a young Belgian reporter named, you guessed it, Tintin and the predicaments he gets into. Along for the ride are a group of colorful characters. They include brash Captain Haddock, resourceful Professor Calculus, the goofy yet likable Thomson & Thompson and a small dog named Snowy. Together, these interesting characters journey to exotic locales, fight crime and thwart evil.
There are 13 episodes in season one, spanning two discs. The first episodes are entitled The Crab with the Golden Claws Parts 1 & 2 and they place Tintin in the middle of a shady smuggling operation. The next episodes The Secret of the Unicorn Parts 1& 2 concern an ancient parchment located in a ship’s mast that Tintin and a pair of thieves all find appealing. Next is Red Rackham’s Treasure and this episode has all the main characters go for a treasure hunt. The next episodes The Cigars of the Pharaoh Parts 1 & 2 are about a drug trafficking ring that Tintin randomly gets involved with. The Blue Lotus Parts 1 & 2 are the next episodes and they pit Tintin in a new mess of problems including ransoms and opium smuggling.
The Black Island Parts 1 & 2 continue the craziness that Tintin seems to always be getting into. In these episodes, Tintin gets shot at when investigating a plane in trouble. A gang of foreigners then start to pursue Tintin and the excitement begins. The final episodes of season one The Calculus Affair Parts 1 & 2 are truly gripping having Professor Calculus get kidnapped prompting Tintin, Captain Haddock and Snowy to set out on a daring rescue mission.
The Adventures of Tintin is a curious thing. The story ideas and plots of each episode are filled with action, chase scenes and mild violence however, the animation seems to be in the style of young child programming. It doesn’t match. The stories are pretty heavy and contain scenes that should require parental guidance. The animation style is misleading. Many of the scenes feature Tintin (who looks like Archie) dodging bullets and wrestling goons. It’s a little weird.
With a big-budget motion capture film of The Adventures of Tintin being released by Spielberg this Christmas, it shouldn’t come as a shock that the 90’s animated series has now seen a release. This DVD serves as a beginner’s guide for the major motion picture. The upcoming film by the way, uses motion capture technology. This has been done before in such cinematic eye candy as James Cameron’s Avatar and Robert Zemeckis’ The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol.
The Adventures of Tintin is an intelligent, action-packed and thrilling animated series. I am a fan of both the storytelling and the voice acting. My only qualm is with the animation. It just doesn’t fit and that is a serious flaw. Much subject matter might be intense for young children but it’s not excessively inappropriate. Tintin is a likable character and you will probably want to stay glued to the screen to see him escape danger and save the day. This would be a good DVD to stuff some stockings in the next few weeks and would be the perfect way to get your mind ready for Spielberg’s upcoming animated theatrical epic.
DVD Bonus Features
Unfortunately, there are no bonus features for The Adventures of Tintin: Season One.