Tintin is sent to guard an absent-minded professor in a Balkan country, but a local criminal tries to lure him away by kidnapping two children. The professor, however, has invented a ... See full summary »
Tintin is sent to guard an absent-minded professor in a Balkan country, but a local criminal tries to lure him away by kidnapping two children. The professor, however, has invented a machine that can duplicate anything. Written by
Herge's charm killed off by too much Disney, James Bond and Hanna Barbera-like material ...
As an avid fan of Tintin's adventures, I remember my original response to "Lake of Sharks" wasn't as enthusiastic as for "The Temple of Sun". I didn't dislike the film but I can't recall being overwhelmed either. Who would have thought that discovering a movie at 4 or 8 would make a difference? in a child's mind, it did, and rightfully so.
To be objective, "Tintin and the Temple of Sun" wasn't better animated, nor more spectacular, but it had imagery, it had thrills and exotic settings, it had the words 'adventure' and 'escapism' transcended by a unique local color, it also had a simple plot line, easier to follow for a child : Tintin, Haddock and Zorrino were looking for Professor Calculus. And much more than this, it had a beautiful music and two great songs composed by the Belgian icon Jacques Brel. Hearing the score and the songs of "Temple of the Sun" always provoke shivers down my spine, it's like my own childhood resurrecting in one magical instant.
"Tintin and the Lake of Sharks", also belongs to my childhood memories, but since I discovered the film at a later time, it inevitably suffered in comparison. I thought the plot was too complicated, what was with all this spying and secret agents, with this opening sequence, with the whole 3D copy issue? I understand now, that the film's plot line is inspired by many James Bond's movie with Rastapopoulos as a Blofeld-like villain. But then again, as accessible to adult minds as the film is, it's ruined by the corniness of some cheap visual gags.
In "Temple of the Sun", the Thompsons carried the slapstick, in "Lake of Sharks", it's the villain, Rastapopulos, but how to take him seriously when he plays the bad-guy card? There was a 'Tintin' marathon on TV yesterday, and no matter how cheap the animation looked, I was pleasantly surprised by the mature content of "Herge's adventures of Tintin" made in 1964. The dialog sounded adult, the film also featured some disturbing parts, it really had the thrills of a James Bond film. The problem with "Lake of Sharks" is that it didn't make a clear choice whether it was intended for adults of kiddies.
That lead to some over-the-top unforgivable moments: one scene that I always found to be unbelievably creepy when Calculus' servant was receiving her phone call from the 'well', and while hearing her instructions, started nodding in a very devilish way. Not only did that scene freaked me out as a kid, (what were all the animators thinking?) but as an adult, I don't get the necessity of overdoing it, we know she's with the bad guys. The same goes for the little villains who cuts wire with a sort of manic laugh. Too over-the-top, like the whole suspense built up, until the villain's revelation.
And the film spares no cliché, with the obligatory use of children, Zorrino was a solid protagonist in "Temple of the Sun", both the guide and the friend, he already touched our hearts, and continued through two beautiful songs already. In "Lake of Sharks", Tintin is saved by Nico and Nouchka, two little Syldavians. Naturally, the kid is brave, the girl is wimpy and their drawing is too awkward at a first stance, as if it didn't belong to the same film. In the following musical part, you realize that the Syldavian men are drawn like common Herge characters, but the girls have stranger features, almost like Disney characters, and some children look very weird, one is basically Nico with blonde hair.
The whole awkward feeling is redeemed by characters behaving like their usual personality, in the scenes that involves Tintin, Haddock, the Thompsons, we know it's a Tintin movie, Bianca Castafiore also makes a respectable cameo, but the rest is like a weird mix between James Bond, Walt Disney and Hanna Barbera. And I'm only speaking of the original version, if you see the English one without being distraught by Haddock's voice, I salute your patience.
I didn't dislike the film either; but the animators didn't make an effort to create an impact. There are some tacit rules in animated film-making, one of them is at least to feature a few songs, in "Lake of Sharks", it betrays some laziness from the director, since the same Syldavian theme is used over and over again, from catchy at first, it gets too repetitive, especially since it doesn't have that 'epic' feeling on it. And don't get me started on the villain theme.
It ends with an obligatory 'all laughing' gag typical of the 70's corniness, and the theme that is nothing compared to the epic fanfare of "Temple of the Sun". I wish "Lake of Sharks" left a better impression on me, but the more I see it, the better I appreciate "Temple of the Sun", maybe they should have adapted a real Tintin's adventure after all.
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