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Blu-ray Review: ‘The Adventures of Tintin’

★★★★☆

Hergé’s Tintin, the world famous boy reporter, has been given the HD treatment in a rerelease of the classic 1990s cartoon on DVD and Blu-ray in anticipation of Steven Spielberg’s soon-to be released, 3D motion capture blockbuster The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn, featuring the voice talents of Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis and Daniel Craig.

Tintin and his loyal Wire Fox Terrier Snowy cross the world and beyond, becoming embroiled in a series of adventures involving everything from international espionage to flights to the moon, carrying along a host of memorable characters including the Thompson Twins, Professor Calculus and Captain Haddock.

From his inception by Belgian artist Hergé, Tintin has captured the minds of children across the world – the comic alone has sold approximately 230 million copies and been translated into over 70 languages. With the central character’s universal appeal and the series’ Boy’s Own style of storytelling, theses cartoons will be of great appeal to adults as much as children, a treat for anyone wishing to delve into a world of adventure and intrigue.

Modern parents may well be shocked by the presence of characters smoking and the occasional racial cliché (these are nothing compared to the original comics, some of which caused massive controversy for their racism and anti-Semitism) but the Tintin series is undoubtedly a product of the time in which they were written. If you were to strip them of these elements, you then run the risk of stripping them of their context.

Of the 21 episodes, the most controversial have been sensitively modified: for example there is no Tintin in the Congo (a wise move) and The Shooting Star is stripped of extreme racial stereotypes.

The 1990s Adventures of Tintin animations may lack the palette and expressionist quality of the 1960s Bellevision cartoons, but the essence of the comics is still very much present. Certain episodes stand out for their quality, including The Calculus Affair, Explorers of the Moon and The Secret of the Unicorn, each of these episodes expertly showing that the Tintin series is never less than enjoyable and charming, featuring a number of rollicking adventure yarns.

Joe Walsh