Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Celebrating Tintin

Celebrating Tintin

Who can ever forget that young lad with a round face, a button for a nose, dots for eyes
and a quiff of a hair. Steven Spielberg's movie Adventures of  Tintin: The secret of the Unicorn hit the theaters of Belgium on 22nd of October and due to be released in US on December 21st. So I thought of looking back at the Tintin cartoons and the movie.

Tintin first appeared on 10th of January 1929 in the newspaper Le Petit Vingtieme and since then the cartoon have been translated into more than 100 languages, adopted into a TV series and recreated in the silver screen. Tintin was the brainchild of Georges Remi, a talented Belgian cartoonist who was popularly known as Herge. Herge while working as the editor of La Petit Vingtieme drew the inspiration for Tintin from the French foreign correspondent Albert Londres. Londres was a pioneer in investigative journalism. Following this example Herge modeled Tintin as an investigative reporter. However in the later years Tintin turned out to be more like a  detective rather than a journalist.

Perhaps world remembers Tintin mostly by his quiff. However when Tintin made his debut in ' Tintin in the Land of Soviets' his hair was flat. During a car chase in this adventure wind blows his hair and his hair remained that way ever after. Throughout the 24 books featuring Tintin he is accompanied by memorable characters such as Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus, and Thomson & Thompson. Tintin's most trusted companion is his intelligent Fox Terrier 'Snowy'.

Herge drew many of the characters based on real life inspirations. He created Thompson & Thompson based on his father and his twin brother. The dim witted yet brilliant Calculus was the cartoon version of the Swiss scientist Auguste Piccard. The opera singer Bianca Castafiore was based on the opera singer Maria Callas.

Tintin gathered worldwide fame mostly due to his simplicity plus his wide range of abilities. He has the deduction powers of Sherlock Holmes and a sharp eye for details. His ability to drive any car, motorcycle, locomotive, aeroplane or even a submarine comes in handy in many tightspots. While he was creating the universe of Tintin Herge sets him to trot the globe, travelling through Russia, Egypt, Tibet, China and even the Moon. Many of Tintin's adventures included places which Herge himself had never visited. Thanks to Herge's vivid imagination Tintin was the first to set foot on moon, 16 years before Neil Armstrong did so.

The 3D movie directed by Steven Spielberg and produced Peter Jackson has already displayed signs of becoming a global blockbuster. The film is based on three of the original comic books ' The crab with the golden claws, The secret of the unicorn, and Red Rackham's treasure'. However this was not the first Tintin movie to be made. Movies ' Tintin and the Golden Fleece' and 'Tintin and the Blue oranges' were released in 1961 and 1964 consewcutively. Nonetheless Herge was displeased with the movies and thought Spielberg was the only man who could ever do Tintin justice. Spielberg first acquired rights to produce the film as far back as 1983 but the project took nearly three decades to become a reality. The new movie uses the technology known as Performance Capturing to record the actors actions to animate the digital characters. The film stars Jamie Bell as Tintin and Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock. Watch the movie trailer below.

What I personally enjoyed most when I first watched Tintin was( I watched the TV series before I started reading the cartoons) Captain Haddocks colourful vocabulary. His remarks were very much imaginative and  educational though fierce in nature I'll never forget " Blistering Barnacles" or the "Thundering Typhoons". Tintin fans who have counted his insults claim that there are over 200 variations.

Visit for more information on tintin.

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