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Michael Zink and Jens Müller
So deeply rooted in my childhood I can't give it an objective review ...
"Tintin and the Temple of the Sun" is a movie I can't review without drowning myself in an ocean of sentimentality. Whatever rating I gave, no matter how objective my words would sound, it will never capture the profound feelings the film inspires me, something hard to express because extremely rooted in the inner depths of my childhood. And it doesn't get easier with age.
I remember I was between 4 and 5 when my father brought me, as he used to do, a VHS from the local store. Probably convinced that I'm more attracted to Disney-like cartoons, he told me it was "Tintin", something I would probably dislike. My father grew up with the same comic-books than I but was never really fond of Tintin, too serious, too long, too literary, and not as fun and exciting as Asterix, Lucky Luke and Marvel Comics. I saw the film, it interested me, it made me laugh, it scared me, it grabbed me, I'm not sure I loved it the first time, but at the age of 7, the VHS was still in my collection and I could recite it by heart.
I think the secret of the film's appeal had probably something to do with its relative seriousness. I was watching an animated film that looked like a real-life film, and was as thrilling as an adult-movie. The opening that presented the curse of the 7 explorers who found the mummy, the hideous but nightmare-inducing sight of Rascar Capac with the whole voice-over narration and the ominous music, my heart was hooked. By the way, I was less scared by the mummy than the costumes during the Carnival sequence, my phobia of clowns made me hide every time it started. Believe me, some of them are very scary, just the slightest thought of them makes me shiver.
Or maybe what I most loved was the film's undeniable escapist value, "Prisoner of the Sun" on which the album was adapted, with a shortcut taken on "The 7 Crystal Balls", is, if not the greatest, the most eclectic adventure of Tintin, multiplying the natural settings, from the mountain that Tintin climbs to save Milou sorry, Snowy and using the condor as a parachute, to the menacing jungle where they exterminate the crocodiles, and in-between, the impressive avalanche in the cold summits. If there ever is one movie that truly captures the meaning of 'adventure', it's this one. A raid to Peru, an Inca curse, supernatural elements mixing with natural dangers, you'd tell me that Spielberg never had Tintin in mind while conceiving Indiana Jones, I wouldn't believe you.
And what makes the whole adventurous mood even more appealing is that it's all motivated by friendship and the desire to save Professor Calculus. Tintin, as usual, indirectly provides a great lesson of courage, friendship and humanism. And this is how, as a kid, this little-known movie (outside the French-speaking area, I guess ) made me familiar with condors, Incas, eclipses. This is how, as a kid, I was inspired by Tintin's courage, I laughed at the goofy Thomson's clumsiness and Haddock's anger (especially when he's mocked by the clapping monkeys) and was touched by the brave little Zorrino, though smartly wondering why a boy would have a female voice.
Thrills, seriousness, escapism, appealing characters all contribute to the film's entertaining value. But still, what printed the film with magical letters in my heart was the music. The score of "The Temple of the Sun" was and still is one my favorite ever, and I implore you to listen to it even without watching the film, it is so great that I'm sure if the film was American, it would have earned it an Oscar nomination, not that it matter though, but I wish it was more famous. The score, especially the trumpets and violins part, always pumped my heart with an insatiable thirst for adventure, it has the inspirational quality of a John Williams' music with something borrowed from Maurice Jarre.
And the musical magnitude doesn't end with the score but also with the beautiful songs sung by Zorrino, songs that are fittingly written by the legendary Brel, Belgium's greatest artist wrote songs for Belgium's greatest character. And till now, Zorrino's song sounds like a hymn to my lost childhood. Till now, I have goose bumps whenever I hear it, because it reminds me of these years when my father was my age, when I was still sensitive to the magic of little things. The film is so emotionally loaded for me that it doesn't matter how adult I am, it will forever awaken my inner child.
And my story with the film didn't stop with the VHS, my father accidentally taped a 1990 World Cup football game on it, and I looked for the film for five years. Meanwhile I read the comic-book, I got more interested in the written adventures, and it wasn't until 13 that I could finally see the film again. I was mature enough to find some flaws; the way the characters were drawn that didn't match the background obviously painted to imitate a sort of Disney style. Of course, I understood the animators took some liberties with the story, they added a sort of romantic subplot, the Thompsons as comic reliefs, of course, but nevertheless, the magic was still intact.
I just hope kids today can still be affected by the charming simplicity of Tintin, a hero in the noblest meaning of the word with his bravery and humanism as only superpowers. I know for my part, I will forever cherish this film. I'm sure that in my deathbed, if I was recollecting the magic of my childhood memories, the music will resonate in my mind, while I will sing in myself, "why should I go now", just like Zorrino.
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