Shout! Factory // 1992 // 299 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart // October 13th, 2012
"Well, we're up to our necks this time." -- Captain Haddock
Tintin is a "world-famous reporter," as he's described in "Tintin in America," one of the episodes featured in The Adventures of Tintin: Season Three. He's also a comics hero older than Superman and Batman. Tintin in the Land of the Soviets gave the always-young reporter his first byline in 1929. Belgian Georges Remi, known as Hergé, wrote and drew Tintin's adventures for Le Petit Vingtième, a newspaper's children's section. You can read more of his history at the official Tintin site.
Tintin recently turned up in a movie co-written by Steven Moffat of Doctor Who fame, which is cited on the DVD cover as a motive for this release. Tintin's human, not Gallifreyan, but his love of cliffhanger-style adventures makes him a spiritual cousin, at least, to the Doctor.
The Adventures of Tintin: Season Three has seven stories in thirteen episodes on two discs:
"The Red Sea Sharks (Parts 1 and 2)" -- Tintin (voiced by Colin O'Meara) and Captain Haddock head into a country that's missing its emir. His son can be found at Marlinspike, the Captain's mansion, causing mischief.
"The Seven Crystal Balls (Parts 1 and 2)" -- The balls put the archaeology team that made off with an Incan mummy to sleep. Tintin, Haddock, and Professor Calculus get stuck in a strange house on a dark and stormy night.
"Prisoners of the Sun (Parts 1 and 2)" -- Tintin and Haddock head for Peru in search of Professor Calculus, who went missing during the last adventure. They'll find the Temple of the Sun, and some lost Incans who didn't want to be found.
"The Castifiore Diamond (Parts 1 and 2)" -- Tintin and Snowy are trying to keep intruders away from Marlinspike during singer Bianca Castifiore's stay. Although there's a valuable emerald, Haddock's more worried about journalists who believe he's about to wed Bianca.
"Destination Moon (Parts 1 and 2)" -- In Syldavia, Tintin and Haddock think they see an attack on their friend Calculus; it's really just a test of a plexiglass helmet. Haddock doesn't like that, either, since it means a space trip's in his future.
"Explorers on the Moon (Parts 1 and 2)" -- Detectives Thomson and Thompson accidentally wind up on the lunar rocket. Haddock's upset enough with them using his oxygen, but an intentional stowaway will be more trouble.
"Tintin in America" -- Tintin and Snowy are greeted on their arrival in Chicago by mobsters who want to take them for a ride. That was the mobsters' big mistake, as it turns out.
If Tintin's dog Snowy could type, he'd be the world-famous one. While Tintin's apparently the brightest human character in The Adventures of Tintin, he's not as sharp as his dog. Snowy's always sniffing out clues or bombs that Tintin might need to know about, but Tintin tends to throw away that helpful information or ignore Snowy's urgent barks. Nonetheless, Tintin's a brave, determined hero who's handy with a Swiss Army knife, loyal to his friends (especially Snowy), and generally kindhearted. He also still gets excited about flying fish. Once in a rare while, you even see Tintin at the typewriter.
The stories are fast-moving cliffhangers that pack a lot of action into a half-hour episode. In between explosions and chases, there's comedy with the reluctant but ultimately heroic Captain Haddock, the oddball Professor Calculus, and the detectives Thomson and Thompson, who unwittingly give away more information than they'll ever glean. Occasionally, characters like General Alcazar -- who could be involved in a revolution or doing a variety show knife-throwing act -- from a rotating assortment turn up. There's a lot of coincidence and dumb luck in the stories, to be sure, but the peril and the goofy characters make it a show that won't leave you bored, even if you're an adult.
Presented in standard definition 1.33:1 full frame, I noticed a little grain in the picture (which is roughly twenty years old), but the sharp lines of the animation keep everything clear. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo track works fine for a '90s television series. There are no extras.
There's some grownup stuff: one character sacrifices his own life to save others, and Haddock plays with a stick of dynamite at one point, with Wile E. Coyote-style effect. I'd say the fact that it's a show you might enjoy watching with your kids would compensate for the occasional bit like that, but that's up to you.
If your kids are hyper-modern, they might be puzzled by a world that still has typewriters. For that matter, they may be puzzled by a world that still has newspapers. If they're shocked, don't try to snap them out of it with a stick of dynamite, as Haddock does at one point with a stunned Professor Calculus.
If you liked Tintin, you might be disappointed to learn that Season Three was the last for this series.
I don't have kids, but I still enjoyed The Adventures of Tintin and it teaches an important life lesson: Always listen to your dog, because the canine is smarter than you are.
Review content copyright © 2012 James A. Stewart; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 299 Minutes
Release Year: 1992
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site