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Adaptation Distillation / The Adventures of Tintin (1991)

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The 1990s animated series based on the Tintin comic books is Truer to the Text than all of the other adaptations that preceded or followed it. However, it is still a case of Compressed Adaptation. For pragmatic reasons, three albums, many minor characters and situations and even entire subplots didn't make it from comic book to animation:


In General

  • Albums that were left out:
  • Snowy has no Thought Bubble Speech (he has it in the comic books). He's still as smart as in the comic books, but only barks, growls and moans.
  • The series removed many instances of what can be perceived as cruelty to animals (and children). They are detailed below.

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Specific Episodes

  • Tintin in America: Probably the album that suffered the most when it was adapted in the series. The Random Events Plot has been streamlined to appear more coherent.
    • The Wild West part has been reduced to Tintin chasing Bobby Smiles up until his mountain hideout. The Native Americans subplot (which is featured on the album's very cover) has been left out entirely, the alcoholic sheriff doesn't appear, Tintin is not Chained to a Railway nor hanged by an angry mob and doesn't hijack a train, and there is no wildfire.
    • The Mob War between Smiles and Al Capone, the Clueless Detective Tintin hires to find Snowy, the corned beef canning factory, the Cane Sword fight and Tintin being kidnapped, chained to (wooden) dumbbells and thrown at sea don't appear either.
  • Cigars of the Pharaoh:
    • The captain of the ship that saves Tintin at sea is not revealed to be an arms dealer.
    • Oliveira da Figueira does not manage to sell his junk to Tintin, and he is not seen selling his junk to bedouins with Tintin at his side either.
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    • Sheik Patrash Pasha (the beduin chief) and Zloty (the Hungarian poet) do not appear.
    • Tintin's escape attempt does not fail and he doesn't need to fake his death as a result.
    • Tintin doesn't tame elephants with a wooden trumpet.
    • In the book, Snowy and a Sacred Cow end up fighting in India, so the locals try to offer Snowy as sacrifice to Lord Shiva and Thomson and Thompson pretend to be the deity to save his life. In the cartoon, they simply find Snowy walking on the railway tracks.
  • The Blue Lotus:
    • The fakir and W. R. Gibbons (the racist American businessman) don't appear.
    • Tintin doesn't go to the Shanghai International Settlement and thus doesn't meet Dawson, the place's Chief of Police.
    • The part when Tintin is surrendered to the Japanese by the authorities of the Shanghai International Settlement, condemned to death and saved from it by Mr. Wang has been left out as well.
    • There are no comings and goings of Japanese armored cars.
    • Tintin's brief reunion with Rastapopoulos is omitted. In the book, he continued to act like a Nice Guy. Here, Tintin is a bit suspicious when he learns that Rastapopoulos is in Shanghai.
    • The Hukow incident ended with Tintin getting shot, but ending with a flesh wound with him bleeding Black Blood and him spending the next few days (and events, which are all Adapted Out, including the Thomsons nearly arresting him in a railway station but ending up so injured, they're hospitalised instead, Tintin and Chang hiding in a railway coach in the Shaghai railway station because the police are waiting for him and then sneaking out in the dark) with his arm in a sling. Here, Tintin says his arm is a little sore, but is fine by the next scene.
    • Tintin doesn't coincidentally find out about Professor Feng's cure for Rajaijah poisoning when he ducks into a theater. Instead, Wang Chen-Yee tells Tintin about Professor Feng before he leaves and Tintin heads straight to the professor's residence.
    • The climax is altered a bit as Rastapopoulos sneaks out while everyone else is being arrested. His escape attempt is then foiled by the Thomsons, who arrest him.
  • The Broken Ear:
    • Pablo and Trickler don't appear.
    • Rodrigo Tortilla and Lopez were two different characters. Here, they have been merged into a single character: Rodrigo Lopez.
    • The entire subplot where Tintin is mistaken for a revolutionary supporter of general Alcazar, because he drunkenly kept shouting "Long live General Alcazar!" is changed. Instead, he is mistaken for a revolutionary because he was arrested, (which happened because he was framed as a terrorist). For that matter, Tintin's death sentence getting delayed because of the revolution and due to the guns not working is also left out.
    • Alonso and Ramón are Spared by the Adaptation. In the comic, they drowned and were Dragged Off to Hell.
    • When Alonso and Ramón kidnapped Tintin, he was saved by a convenient lightning bolt that threw him out of the hut they were holding him in, freeing him. Here, he is saved by Snowy, who grabbed on to the back of the car and followed them à la The Black Island.
    • Tintin held Ramón at gunpoint when he broke into his home, looking for the parrot. Here, Tintin is unarmed.
    • A sort of inversion occurs with Tortilla himself. Although he never appeared on-panel in the comic, he's killed in a shadow discretion shot in the cartoon. Similarly, the explorer and younger Alonzo Perez appear onscreen in Ridgewell's flashback.
    • The subplots involving Colonel Diaz, the war between San Theodoros and Nuevo Rico and the Rumbabas are also dropped.
  • The Black Island:
    • The two nameless members of the gang do not appear.
    • At one point, Tintin threw a table at Müller, pushing him into the fireplace. This is omitted from the animated adaptation.
    • The brief Big-Lipped Alligator Moment involving the firemen losing their key, which is then stolen by a Thieving Magpie is also removed.
    • In the comics, the Thomsons didn't realise Tintin was innocent until the climax. Here, the misunderstanding is cleared up as soon as Tintin is rescued from the burning house.
    • After Tintin tied up Ivan and Dr. Müller with wires and when the two stuggled, they caused a short-circuit and the wires burned, allowing them to escape. Here, "Ivan" carried a pocket knife and cut the wires with it.
    • Snowy managed to steal a chicken from the train. In the comics, he and Tintin later ate it while chasing Dr. Müller and Ivan. Here, Tintin asks Snowy to let it go.
    • Tintin and Snowy didn't follow Müller and Ivan on a Goods Train with a Loch Lomond tank, with a leak and Snowy didn't get drunk. Nor did he lead Tintin to a pub after picking up the scent of alcohol.
    • In the book, the Thomsons spent days flying around in a plane with an inexperienced mechanic, mistaken for a pilot, even winning an aerobics championship in the process. Here, they crash almost immediately after taking off.
    • Tintin encounters Ranko only twice. In the book, they faced off three times and Tintin found out that he is afraid of Snowy the second time.
  • King Ottokar's Sceptre :
    • In the beginning a spy takes a picture of Tintin, but only succeeds in taking the picture of his and Snowy's bodies, leaving out their heads. In the animated version, he at least gets Snowy's head.
    • The Alembick twins are switched around. In the comics the good one smokes. In the animated version, it is the Evil Twin that smokes constantly.
    • Syldavian secret agent Kaviarovitch does not appear.
    • Tintin is not arrested by Syldavian Dirty Cops.
    • Tintin and Snowy don't bump into a Bordurian barracks at the border.
    • The reveal of Müsstler being the mastermind wasn't shown.
    • A scene where Borduria makes a statement that their military are to withdraw from Syldavia's borders in response to the attempted sceptre theft isn't shown.
    • Tintin, Snowy and Thompson & Thompson don't leave Syldavia onboard a seaplane at the end, and the two cops don't fall into the sea when disembarking.
  • The Crab with the Golden Claws:
    • Captain Haddock does not start a fire on the lifeboat that he, Tintin and Snowy use to escape the Karaboudjan.
    • Tintin, Haddock and Snowy getting drunk on the fumes of alcohol in the climax is left out. Similarly, the fact that Omar Ben Salad wore a necklace with golden crab claws, meaning he was behind everything is also left out.
    • Haddock getting drunk and smashing a bottle against Tintin's head (resulting in the plane crashing) is changed to the bad guy they captured and tied in the back of the plane freeing himself and attacking Tintin with a bottle while he is flying the plane and then escaping with a parachute. In the comics, there were two bad guys and they actually tried to warn Tintin that Haddock is about to hit him, but he couldn't hear because of the engine noise while he was flying the plane. In the end, Tintin had to rescue them after crashing into Sahara desert, as the plane caught fire and they ultimately ran away.
  • The Shooting Star:
    • The subplot with Bohlwinkel's oil company refusing to sell the Aurora any fuel, Tintin using booze to rally Captain Haddock out of his Heroic BSoD and Captain Chester helping them trick the oil company into refueling the Aurora does not occur.
      • Captain Chester never appears in the animated series, for that matter.
    • Philippulus the Prophet only appears in the cartoon when the meteor is flying over Belgium. His later attempt to blow up the Aurora and Tintin using a megaphone to trick him into surrendering do not occur.
  • The Secret of the Unicorn:
    • Brutus the Great Dane and the two 'delivery men' don't appear.
    • Max Bird's escape and his subsequent recapture doesn't occur.
  • Red Rackham's Treasure:
    • The numerous con artists do not appear, and the only consequence of the press exposure is the meeting with Calculus.
    • Unlike the comics where only Max Bird escaped, here, both the Bird brothers are said to have escaped.
    • The navigation problems Tintin and Haddock have in trying to find the island, which Tintin solves by realizing that Sir Francis used a Paris meridian to give the island's coordinates, rather than the Greenwich one used by modern sailors like Captain Haddock, do not occur.
    • The wooden cross does not appear, and Tintin comes to the realization that Sir Francis would have brought the treasure back with him when he was rescued while the group is returning from the island with the idol.
    • Tintin has a smooth underwater exploration voyage with the shark submarine as it is not snarled with seaweed, unlike the comic book.
  • The Seven Crystal Balls.
    • Professor Cantonneau doesn't recognise Tintin despite having encountered him in The Shooting Star.
    • Snowy doesn't get beaten up by the Captain's cat.
  • Prisoners of the Sun:
    • In the comic book and the 1969 Belvision film, before finding the Temple of the Sun, the team got lost in the jungle and Tintin has to kill a giant snake constricting Zorrino to save him. He and Haddock also kill many crocodiles when crossing a river. This was entirely omitted in this version, probably because of animal cruelty.
    • Likewise, the scene where Haddock slaps a Llama after it chews his beard and then spits on his face as retaliation is changed so that he gets spit in the face before his hand connects with the Llama's face, and he gives up. This scene too was not altered in the 1969 Belvision movie.
    • The part where the Captain causes an avalanche by a sneeze is also cut. The next part where he causes a bunch of bad guys get trapped in huge snow balls is kept, but the part where they all fall to their deaths is not shown.
    • The condor that carried Snowy to its nest was shot down in the book and then another one attacked Tintin. Here, however, the gunshot just scares it away and it comes back to attack Tintin. Also, the condor actually dug its talons into Tintin's face when it grabbed his face. Here, it grabs him by the shoulder.
    • The part after the avalanche had the llamas running away with all their supplies and ammunition, only for the Captain to reveal that he is carrying a box of ammunition, wrapped in a piece of newspaper. Tintin asked him to keep the paper as they can use it later to light a fire. This piece of newspaper had the news about the solar eclipse that ultimately saved their life. This scene is cut from both the Belvision movie and the Nelvana cartoon. Except in the Nelvana version, the Captain still mentions Tintin asking him to keep the paper, making it an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole.
    • Tintin asked to be executed 18 days after they entered the temple in the book. In the series, he asks to be executed the very next day. Most of the events that happened in between (including Tintin, Haddock and Snowy being moved to a luxurious royal apartment, with Haddock growing increasingly frustrated, Tintin nonchalantly following his daily routine, the Inca forcing Captain Haddock to wear the ceremonial sacrificial robes and Haddock's escape attempts) are all excluded.
    • The treasure of the Incas is not seen.
  • Land Of Black Gold:
    • Thomson and Thompson's belief that a roadside assistance company is causing car breakdowns to generate business, and their bungling undercover investigation which gets them fired from the company, are not shown.
    • All instances of Tintin and the Captain hitting Abdullah are cut, likely because these are grown men beating a child as punishment.
  • Destination Moon:
    • The story in the comic starts at Marlinspike Hall, where Tintin and Haddock are back from an unspecified trip... only to leave immediately again after receiving a telegram from Calculus, asking them to come to Syldavia. This is all removed in favour of starting the story when they first arrive at the country.
    • While Calculus still picks up Haddock's pipe thinking it was his ear trumpet, the punchline in the comic, where Haddock lights it up at night offscreen and causes a small fire, is left out.
    • The atomic pile is mentioned by Calculus during his "acting the goat" moment, but it isn't shown to the characters like it is in the comic. By extension, Snowy accidentally still wearing his radiation suit when they're taken to the XFLR-6 is omitted as well.
    • Tintin doesn't bump into bears.
    • Thomson & Thompson don't arrest a model skeleton in a doctor's room like in the comic.
    • Just before the XFLR-6 test flight in the comic, Thomson & Thompson end up in a high-tension switch-room and get blasted out of it with their clothes in tatters. This is removed from the animated version.
    • In the book, the Captain refused to be a part of the mission when he found out tobacco and whisky are not allowed in the rocket and only changed his mind when the Thomsons said that he shouldn't be a part of the mission anyway due to his advanced age. This scene is not present in the cartoon.
    • Haddock choking on a champagne cork is left out.
    • The entire Cliffhanger ending is changed into an And the Adventure Continues ending with everyone aboard the moon rocket regaining consciousness and successfully reporting back to the Earth station.
  • Explorers of the Moon:
    • Captain Haddock doesn't smuggle whisky bottles in fake books. The books are real and he just enjoys some drink from the refrigerator, which is implied to be whisky as he does pull the same stunt he did in the book by going out of the rocket in hopes of getting back to Earth.
    • Tintin finding out there's frozen water underneath the Moon's surface has been left out.
    • Tintin prevents the rocket from taking off with the others stranded on the moon. In the book, he explained that he sabotaged the rocket and Calculus had to point out that though his intentions were noble, the rocket must have been damaged and the repair work will take quite some time while they are on limited oxygen. This problem is not mentioned in the cartoon.
  • The Calculus Affair:
    • The Syldavian agents do not appear.
    • Much like the Belvision adaptation, Tintin gets knocked out by one of the Bordurian spies in the Marlinspike Hall compound. This didn't happen in the comics, the (Syldavian) spy simply asked for water and by the time Tintin got back, he was gone.
    • The part where Tintin grabs onto the plane that was taking Calculus away is slightly altered. In the comics, Tintin had to let go as soon as the plane took off. In the episode, Tintin held on for quite some time before the plane had gone very high and he let go and fell on a haystack. This is somewhat similar to what happened in the Belvision movie adaptaion of Prisoners Of The Sun, only it was a helicopter.
    • Calculus is kidnapped in broad daylight right in front of Tintin and Haddock's eyes unlike the book. Also, unlike the book, Calculus missed the train and never made it to Professor Topolino's home, thus surviving the attempt to bomb his house.
    • Captain Haddock doesn't try to use the radio in the helicopter to ask for help.
    • The Italian driver who Drives Like Crazy with an Overly Long Name doesn't believe Tintin and the Captain are liars, because the spies had already abandoned the car by the time they reached it, thus confirming the fact that they really were bad guys.
  • The Red Sea Sharks:
    • Captain Haddock attacking Abdullah with a garden hose after accidentally doing the same to the Thomsons is removed, likely because of cruelty against a child.
    • The entire sequence where Mull Pasha orders his men to attack the Horsemen (Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock) is changed. In the comics, he described men heading towards Djebel, followed by the fact that there will be armoured cars and the fact that they are allies of the Emir. In that order, confusing colonel Achmed resulting in the armoured cars getting bombed. Here, the colonel bombs the armoured cars, despite the instructions being clear, ruining the joke.
    • The very petty reason why the Emir threatened to expose the Arabair (Abdullah wanted them to do an aerobic stunt, which they refused) is cut.
    • The slave trader doesn't appear.
    • The caricatured black slaves trying to get to Mecca are Race Lifted into Middle Eastern people.
      • The French version kept the "pilgrims who were enslaved at sea on the road to Mecca" backstory.
      • In the English version, they are Khemedian refugees trying to get to America. Instead of planning to sell the refugees as slaves, Rastapopolous and his goons take the refugees' money for passage and then plan to murder them at sea.
      • In the book, Haddock asks them to volunteer to work as stokers in the engine room, but in the cartoon they're shown operating the more complex engine room machinery under his supervision.
    • The wave that puts out the fire on the ship is removed.
    • The final attempt to blow up Ramona using a mine only for it to be eaten by a Shark is also removed, presumably because said Shark explodes afterwards.
    • Jolyon Wagg's appearance in the end is also cut.
  • Tintin in Tibet:
    • Professor Calculus does not appear (except for in a Dream Sequence).
    • Tintin and the Captain visiting the monuments of New Delhi in India is cut.
    • In the comics the Yeti accidentally clicked a picture of himself using Tintin's camera, and got blinded by the flash bulb. Here, Tintin himself takes the picture.
  • The Castafiore Emerald: Captain Haddock doesn't scare the little gypsy girl and she doesn't bite his hand in retaliation.
  • Flight 714:
    • Snowy couldn't pick up Carreidas' scent from his hat, because the Captain was wearing it. Here, he picks up his scent just fine.
    • Rastapopoulos' men removing the safety net and the runway is cut.
    • The appearance of the animals (a monitor, a proboscis monkey with a nose similar to that of Rastapopoulos) is cut.
    • The escaping Sondonesians knocking Allan's teeth (and plucking his hair) is removed. Allan retains his trademark appearance here, possibly to justify his future appearance (unlike the comics, the events of this episode take place before that of The Red Sea Sharks where he appears again).
    • Jolyon Wagg (Séraphin Lampion) doesn't watch the news report with the rest his family at the end.
  • Tintin and the Picaros:
    • The encounter with Ridgewell and the Arumbayas has been removed.
    • Colonel Alvarez's attempts to telephone the prison to call off Thomson and Thompson's execution, and reaching other places, is removed. In the cartoon, the phone doesn't work at all because the Picaros cut the lines when sneaking into Tapioca's palace.
  • In general, since this series was a multilingual and the comics had many instances where the readers and the characters would read something out and the message was shown onscreen, it would be rather tedious to replace all such moments that were already animated, the series would have characters read out such messages loudly or resort to other such methods. For example, the unseen Big Bad of Tintin: Cigars of the Pharaoh (later revealed to be Rastapopoulos) passed on instructions to his men via letters with the symbol of Kih-Oskh, which are shown in the comics. In the animated series, he is just shown sealing an envelope with the symbol of Kih-Oskh on it, while narrating the message (thus, spoiling the identity of the boss for the newcomers by his voice). Similarly, in Tintin: Red Rackham's Treasure, at one point, Captain Haddock had to write a message "(We are NOT interested in your machine!)" on a wall so that Professor Calculus can read it. In the episode, however, he simply puts a huge cross mark on the picture of Calculus' submarine to drive the point home. The sole exception is Tintin in America where the Spinning Paper has english headlines.


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