Under the pen name Hergé, Belgian illustrator Georges Prosper Remi has become a renowned artist for his long-running comic strip, The Adventures of Tintin. The series has spawned numerous radio plays and theatrical productions as well as live-action and animated films. Though Tintin is hugely popular in Europe and other parts of the world, he hasn't quite broken through in the United States. The colossal connection of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson tried to change that with a big-budget adaptation using the latest in motion capture technology. If you prefer traditional animation, you're in luck because Shout Factory has released the third and final season of the HBO series that originally aired between 1991 and 1992.
"The Adventures of Tintin" was a co-production between the French Ellipse Programme and the Canadian animation studio Nelvana, both of whom had also created a cartoon version of Babar the Elephant of the cable network. This incarnation of Tintin is considered to be one of the most faithful and those familiar with the character will know why immediately. The traditional animation style perfectly captures the unique artwork of Hergé. The episodes follow the original stories almost to the letter with some modifications to tone down the violence and use of alcohol to make the show appropriate to young audiences.
For those who aren't up on their Tintinology (the study of all things Tintin), the titular character is an intrepid young reporter whose nose for a good story takes him to exotic locales all over the world and even to the moon. Think of him as a less physical Indiana Jones. Our plucky, pointy haired hero is always accompanied by his loyal fox terrier, Snowy. Together, they are pitted against drug smugglers, slavers, spies, and gangsters. Luckily for Tintin and Snowy, they are allied with an assortment of colorful characters, the most prominent being the boisterous Captain Archibald Haddock. His love of alcoholic beverages has been downplayed to make the material more appropriate for younger audiences. Other friends include the absent-minded Professor Cuthbert Calculus and the bumbling Scotland Yard detectives, Thomson and Thompson.
Shout Factory's 2-disc set contains all 13 episodes from the third season of "The Adventures of Tintin." The episodes included are:
- "The Red Sea Sharks (Parts 1 & 2)" – Tintin and Haddock face old enemies when they travel to the Middle East to help their friend, the Emir, after he is overthrown by a regime mixed up in human trafficking.
- "The Seven Crystal Balls (Parts 1 & 2)" – Tintin investigates a string of comas that have befallen the members of an expedition to uncover the mummified remains of an Incan priest.
- "Prisoners of the Sun (Parts 1 & 2)" – Tintin and Haddock make their way to the jungles of Peru to rescue a kidnapped Professor Calculus.
- "The Castafiore Emerald (Parts 1 & 2)" – Capt. Haddock is at his wit's end when Bianca Castafiore comes to stay at Marlinspike Hall.
- "Destination Moon (Parts 1 & 2)" – The launch of Prof. Calculus's new rocket engine is threatened by a mysterious saboteur.
- "Explorers on the Moon (Parts 1 & 2)" – Tintin, Haddock, the Professor, and Thompson & Thomson may face their greatest danger yet when they blast off for the moon.
- "Tintin in America" – Tintin takes on organized crime and police corruption when he arrives in Chicago.
The video is presented in its original fullscreen aspect ratio. The transfers likely came from a mediocre tape source as the picture quality is a bit scattershot. The image looks decent most of the time, but occasionally turns soft with specks and dirt popping up and colors looking faded.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. The sound is good though somewhat flat. Score and dialogue come in crisp and clear without a hint of tininess.
"The Adventures of Tintin" is a fun, old-fashioned animated series and season three has some standout episodes. This final season is a nice wrap-up and features many of the strip's colorful supporting characters.