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Tintin and his dog Snowy meet up with detectives Thompson & Tohmson
to help them on a case about forged dimes, which eventually leads Tintin
to the harbour and onto the Karabudjan, a ship carrying tins of crab -
that actually carry opium. Tintin is soon captured, tied up and
incarcerated by the crew, led by the ship's first mate, and the ship casts
off. Tintin though manages to escape thanks to Snowy, and during his
escape, he stumbles upon the actual captain of the Karabudjan, Haddock, a
hopeless alcoholic who didn't have a clue what the ship was carrying, and
has been kept in blissful oblivion by a healthy supply of whiskey.
captain, Tintin and Snowy manage to skip boat and try to make it to
wherever on a lifeboat, but are attacked by a waterplane, which they
manage to shoot down, then they fix it again to fly it to Spain - but the
captain's navigational skills are not the best and his alcohol-supported
tendency to make matters worse eventually cause them to crashland in the
Eventually, the captain, Tintin and Snowy make it to a
coastal town, only to learn that the Karabudjan has presumably sunk - but
then the captain finds his own ship under a new name in the docks and now
the hunt for the opiumsmugglers is on. However at the same time Tintin and
the captain are also chased by the ship's mate and his men, but
eventually, everything comes to an end in the basement of Ben Salaad, the
most respectable businessman of the region - who is of course the head of
the opiumsmugglers. With the help of Thompson and Thomson, who have
finally caught up with Tintin, Tintin and the captain manage to arrest all
the baddies though ...
Lovingly made, this stop motion
adventure flick tries to remain as true as possible to Hergé's source
comic in style, and succeeds for the most part. However, at the same time,
the film is somewhat ill-paced, since it doesn't take into accuóunt that
comicbooks and movies don't necessarily follow the same narrative rhythms,
build-up of suspense and the like. Also, the stop motion techinque doesn't
lend itself particularly well to action scenes, so some of the action
highlights are simply kept off camera or simply lack impact. Plus, through
the relative immobility of the characters' faces and only limited body
language, the characters all remain remarkably flat, and especially
Captain Haddock fails to become likeable every step along the way.
all said, if you're a Tintin-fan who doesn't expect a
revelation from this one, the earliest screen adaptation of the comicbook
series, wou'll have to watch this and will probably find at least
something to like. And if you're into vintage stop motion, the same
probably goes for you, too. The film might not be a masterpiece of any
sort, but it's by no means a shipwreck!