A QUIFF OF FRESH AIR

I remember it to be a gloomy but windy evening; a neighbor had left an odd sized book on the plastic woven cot which was arranged outside for elders to pass the time. That was the first time I saw a Tintin comic, and yes I have been a fan but not the rabid dog types. It would take me some years before I completed the original set and a coloring book which I hopelessly wasted (I don’t seem to have the book now, but I remember painting Haddock’s hat purple and his pants green). The comic books are a joy to read, I do not think there could be anyone who had read the books (or singular,book) and not wanted to return to the adventurous world, yet relatable created by Herge.

So, every time a comic book is made into a film we read of people being disappointed or expressing concerns over the loss of ‘true spirit’ in the adaptations and we often do see directors appealing to fanboys claiming that they were making the truest of adaptations. But more often than not we fail to realize that the movies are not made (only) for those collectors of comic books or the obsessive quoters or the angst filled annotators, not even the pedantic types. Because films are not made for a certain slice of the population and that it is basic to note that there is always some loss when data transfers from some medium to another( I read that somewhere, don’t remember where). Go ahead, be sad.

My race to the cinema screen could be described as a Tintin adventure, but then dodging traffic is more like a daily duty and I think Tintin would have been bored, he preferred travel. He wanted to see the world and he found a story wherever he went. I wanted to see the movie from the start, by start I mean the credits. I was looking forward to the movie, and I knew I would like the credits too. The movie uses the same font as the titles of the books and inserts elements from other books in the background and as a tribute to the animated series there is also Tintin and snowy trying to catch the light. The movie begins with the animated face of Herge trying to draw a waiting Tintin and remarks on the likeness, nice touch indeed.

I wouldn’t know if people sitting beside did recognize this well meant reverence because the crowd consisted of kids who had come because their parents had been Herge loyalists, one young fellow kept screaming asking around when ‘Tantan’ will come. When the movie began, he refused to believe that the young reporter could be the protagonist, he is later known to have remarked, “Amma, where is the hero?”

Haddock would have screamed ‘Freshwater Pirate!’ or something of that sort, but I didn’t say a word. This was Tintin being introduced to the minds who had grown up on Harry Potter and bloodsucking Cullens, but by intermission the kids seemed to have caught up and were enjoying.

Only when the action scenes begin, you realize that there is so much of physical movement contained within those boundaries of the comic panels and this movie does to an extent brings it about but it does fails in bringing out the slapstick comedy and the onomatopoetic words associated with the books.

Andy Serkis, is comfortable as always in lending his voice and Jamie Bell as Tintin fits in well(rhymes), the voice being similar to the one in the 90s cartoon episodes, but it is Daniel Craig who is menacing under the plastic(or whatever that is) skin of Ivan Sakharine(Haddock calls him a man with a sweet sounding name), sadly the film moves too quickly guided by Spielberg’s Indiana Jones experience before any of them begin to make a personal impression, but there is promise for subsequent films and the motion capture technology would have matured by then.

I can only hope, that the boy who said ‘Tantan’ would go back thinking it was good fun and recognize a Herge cover when he sees one at a bookstore, there lies the success of the movie.

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