Tintin et le Lac aux requins

Synopsis: Someone is stealing priceless works of art from museums and replacing them with excellent forgeries. Meanwhile , Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock, Thomson and Thompson board a flight to Syldavia while on holiday to meet up with their friend, Professor Calculus. Will Tintin and his friends solve the mystery?
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Tintin et le Lac aux requins 7.5

‘Tintin et le Lac aux requins’ isn’t taken from any of Hergé’s books; it’s a film that was conceived and written for the big screen and was later adapted (in a very different style than Hergé’s) into a book. Aside from having created the characters, the famed author had very little to do with this.

The story was written by screenwriter and comic book author Greg. It isn’t too far off from Hergé’s original works, actually. However, he brought a more kid-friendly angle to it (as did the animators, who inserted a cartoon dog, a submarine tank and other things that Hergé would have done quite differently, if at all).

The humour is also a bit more juvenile in its delivery. Hergé often had slapstick in his books, but he found a way to make it seem realistic, not absurd. It’s a real shame that the filmmakers didn’t do the same because I actually never considered Tintin to be for kids – not even when I was 6 years old (aside from the first few books, I always considered these books to be escapist fantasies for teen readers – or older).

Personally, I found ‘Tintin et le Lac aux requins’ too otherworldly to truly be believable. Whereas ‘On a marché sur la lune’ was rooted in reality, this story is more akin to the James Bond film ‘You Only Live Twice’ – with dated gadgets, a lair and a Blofeld-like villain! I know that it’s a product of its time, but the problem is that, in trying to piggy-back on another franchise’s success, this one loses its identity a little bit. sad0038 Free Sad Emoticons

There are also directorial issues along the way. For instance, at one point there is a plane crash in which we never see Tintin escape – suggesting that he’s still inside. And yet, after everyone else gets out, there he is, standing around as if nothing had happened. It’s as if he had been waiting around for them; he could very well have never been in the plane and it wouldn’t have made an ounce of difference. indifferent0004 Free Emoticons   Indifferent

Mind you, perhaps the original animation actually showed Tintin escaping the plane. As indicated in my blurbs for ‘L’Affaire Tournesol’ and ‘Tintin et le Temple du Soleil’, the home video releases by Kaïbou feature cropped pictures to fit modern widescreen televisions – which means that the framing is off and some of the animation is not on-screen (see below for more on this issue).

The framing looks better than I had expected (I was a little wary after having initially compared it to the DVD version!). In fact, without a point of reference, it’s not really an eyesore. Having said this, if compared to the original DVD version, one would notice a dramatic difference – it simply does not look as good. sad0133 Free Sad Emoticons

All technical drama aside, ‘Tintin et le Lac aux requin’ is a pleasant enough 80 mins of entertainment. It’s too light to be taken super seriously, but it’s fun and exciting enough to have lasting value. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy It’s probably more likely to be enjoyed by someone 12 years-old or younger, but at least this beloved comic book series wasn’t adapted in a stomach-churning fashion like the Astérix and Lucky Luke series sometimes were.

Post scriptum: I watched the Canadian Blu-ray edition released by Kaïbou. It features a cropped image to fit 1.78:1 TVs. It was cropped down from the original 4:3 home video version – which was itself cropped from what was likely a 1.66:1 picture in cinemas. So it’s been cropped down twice, meaning that we get a mere fraction of the original animation. mad0137 Free Emoticons   Anger

I wrote to Kaïbou to ask if they would re-release the film in its original ratio, but I was told that they released what the owners of the work gave them and they had NO intention of re-releasing it. sad0038 Free Sad Emoticons

I didn’t even bother addressing the fact that it was released in 780p and lossy audio, because that’s small potatoes compared to lopping off the animation. On the plus side, the picture has never looked better. Too bad we can’t see most of it. sad0133 Free Sad Emoticons

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