Sunday, November 13, 2011

Billions of Blue Blistering Barnacles, It's Tintin time

When I got to know a new Tintin movie is coming out this November, I knew this was one movie I couldnt afford to miss. Tintin was one of my childhood favourite fictional character and reading the glossy colourful adventures with Captain Haddock exceptional humour was the best reading experience I could get when I was young.

Tintin comics were difficult to come by, they were quite expensive compared to the Indian comics, so apart from owning the one Tintin in America I had to wait  for the week magazine which published a page of the tintin story every issue. Other than that relatives who had  the tintin book series were our favourites.Visiting them on a visit to Kolkata was our topmost priority.

I think when I was in Class five I could recite the Tintin in America cover to cover. But I can say with certainity I could not say the same about my school curriculum books. This was the book that told me there was a different kind of Indians staying in the Americas with feathers on the top of their head. At that time, I also believed that Chris Ander-sen (author of Tin Soldier, a different children story) was  a Bengali and maybe our relative.

As a kid I was fascinated by the colourful comic and the adventure and the dare devilry  that every book of Tintin promised. Snowy as a dog also played his part and if you carefully read his dialogues you will find them very witty, I had never noticed that before. Now reading it again I understand the satirical subtle references Herge the author makes at the society at large. For example while depicting americans, when tintin discovers an oil well the Americans offer him huge sums of money, but when they come to know it belongs to American Indians they offer them $25 and half an hour to clear off. Also by the next morning the oil rich desert is transformed into a conservative American city choc a bloc filled with gas guzzling automobiles.

Captain Haddock's vocabulary added more than just humour to the stories. In school when I did not know any cuss words, Billions of blistering barnacles and thundering typhoons automatically came out of my mouth whenever I was frustrated or angry. Going through the Shooting Star book I found a handful of Captain's choicest words.... filibusters, hoodlums, road hogs, freshwater swabs, turncoats, ophicleides, colocynths  and it goes on. The other interesting thing I found out in the book was he was also the president of S.S.S (Society of Sober Sailors). 

Now to the point why I did this write up is obvious. I got to see this much acclaimed movie today and it stood up to my expectations on all counts. The characters were already very well drawn out by Herge  but I think the director has done a suberb work in bringing across the humour, action and edge of your seats adventure  from the book. In general, Bengali's don't like to praise spielberg because he had stolen a Satyajit Ray movie called Alien  and made it into ET, but I am making an exception here.

Watching a 3-d movie is always a different experience but I too felt that the movie could be more brighter like the glossy tintin comic books. The action sequences in the second half were mindblowingly stupendous. Snowy and the captain were hilarious and played the part to perfection. Sakharine the villain also had a captivating screen presence and kept the young reporter on the toes constantly trying to outsmart and outwit him. In all I can say that it is a wonderful movie, certainly a must watch and worth every rupee I spent at the cinema hall. A big vote of thanks goes out to Paramount and Columbia pictures and others who were involved with the making of the film with the obvious exception of Steven Spielberg.
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