Follow TV Tropes

Following

Recap / Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Secret_of_the_Unicorn_5727.jpg
Advertisement:

One day while browsing a flea market, Tintin comes across and buys an old model ship, thinking it would make a good present for Captain Haddock, but is immediately approached by two men who both want to buy it back from him. Tintin refuses, puzzled as to why the model is so sought after. When he shows the ship to Haddock, Haddock immediately recognizes the model as the Unicorn, a ship depicted on a portrait he has of his ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock, a captain in the service of King Louis XIV.

When Tintin returns to his apartment, he finds that the model has been stolen. Upon further investigation, Tintin and Haddock discover that the model ship is one of three models that Sir Francis made of his ship that each contains a parchment with a clue to the location of a sunken treasure that Sir Francis got from a ruthless pirate named Red Rackham.

Advertisement:

The Secret of the Unicorn is the first in a two-part story that is concluded in Red Rackham's Treasure. Hergé once cited it as his personal favourite Tintin story, though he would later come to prefer Tintin in Tibet. Along with The Crab with the Golden Claws, it is the basis for most of the plot of Steven Spielberg's 2011 film adaptation.


Tropes

  • Adapted Out:
    • Brutus the Great Dane and the two 'delivery men' in the Nelvana version.
    • Barnaby and Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine in the Belvision version.
  • Becoming Part of the Image: After re-enacting Sir Haddock's duel with Rackham a bit too violently, Captain Haddock ends up with his face through Sir Haddock's portrait.
  • Berserk Button: Haddock does not take it well when Thomson and Thompson accuse him of murdering Mr. Sakharine.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Snowy, Haddock and the Thom(p)sons arrive in the nick of time to save Tintin when he's being held at gunpoint by the Bird brothers.
  • Advertisement:
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Haddock is rather startled when Tintin informs the reader that the story is To Be Continued in Red Rackham's Treasure.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Aristides Silk the pickpocket becomes vital to the plot when he steals Max Bird's wallet, containing the last remaining parchment.
  • Clear My Name: A very brief example when the Thom(p)sons accuse Haddock of murdering Sakharine. In truth, Sakharine isn't even really dead and Haddock had nothing to do with the attack on him.
  • Composite Character: Red Rackham (Rackham le Rouge, i. e. "Rackham the Red" in the original) is named after John Rackham a. k. a. "Calico Jack", but visually is based on the French buccaneer Daniel Montbars called "Montbars the Exterminator".
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The three parchments each containing a part of the coordinates of the sunken Unicorn.
  • The Door Slams You: The Bird brothers slam the door into Tintin which helps him stay undetected.
  • Dying Clue: Barnaby is too weak to speak after being shot, but he points at a nearby flock of sparrows before passing out. He was, of course, hired by the Bird brothers.
  • Forgot to Mind Their Head: Tintin hits his head on an open drawer when he searches the floor of his ransacked flat for a clue.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The Unicorn models and the parchments.
  • Happy Dance: When Tintin and Haddock solve the mystery.
  • His Name Is...: Barnaby is shot before he can tell Tintin the name of his employer.
  • Hufflepuff House: Sakharine, more or less. He is the third party that wants the ship model, though he doesn't seemingly know about the parchments in them.
  • Identical Grandson: Haddock to his forefather Sir Francis Haddock. Turns out they also share a love of drinking, cursing, fighting, and tendency to suffer the occasional Prat Fall.
  • Informed Ability: Tintin notes that Max Bird is the more dangerous of the Bird brothers at one point. There isn't really much to back this up at that point, and in fact, it's Gustav who held him at gunpoint and almost shot him from behind mere minutes before. Max's comparative dangerousness is made more explicit in the Nelvana series, where Max is always the one holding the gun while Gustav cowers behind him.
  • Kitsch Collection: Silk the pickpocket has a huge collection of stolen wallets, sorted alphabetically. Every single wallet under "T" belongs to the Thom(p)sons!
  • Knight's Armor Hideout: Subverted. The Bird brothers are looking for Tintin and suspect that he hid inside a suit of armor so they shoot at it and it falls apart. Turns out, Tintin hid behind a desk.
  • Leave No Survivors: In the flashback, after being hit by a broadside, the pirate ship hoists the red flag, signaling that they would not take prisoners. They do capture captain Sir Francis Haddock when a golden opportunity presents itself, but plan to execute him slowly the next morning.
  • Lost in Character: Haddock gets so wrapped up in the tale of his famous ancestor he runs off some visitors at cutlass-point in the belief they're pirates, and demolishes his room while relating the battle with Red Rackham.
  • Mr. Muffykins: Tintin waits for an extended period of time to use a phone box. After what is implied to be at least a half hour, an old woman with a small dog exits, saying "We can go now Fifi, it has stopped raining." She gets an extremely dirty look from him.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: Tintin dodges the fast-approaching Angry Guard Dog who then bumps into the Bird brothers.
  • Ominously Open Door: Tintin is startled when he finds the door to his apartment open. On entering he sees that the flat has been ransacked.
  • Pirate Booty: Combined with a Dismantled Macguffin Treasure Map.
  • Ransacked Room: Tintin's flat is ransacked after his MacGuffin is stolen. He doesn't discover the Plot Coupon which was formerly hidden inside it until afterwards — it had rolled under a chest, where the vandals failed to find it.
  • Red Herring: Sakharine the ship model collector is accused by Tintin of stealing his model, but he is actually innocent.
  • Roadside Wave: Snowy gets splashed with muddy water when a car passes by on a dirt road during rain.
  • Running Gag: The Thom(p)sons' wallets are stolen almost every time they appear.
  • Single Malt Vision: Snowy drinks from Haddock's rum and suddenly sees two glasses instead of one.
  • Slippery Skid: Tintin cracks open an abacus in a chase scene.
  • So Much for Stealth: Tintin is trying to escape the Bird brothers in their antique-filled basement. When he knocks over a big vase, he manages to stop it from falling, but the lid falls on a drum.
  • Spanner in the Works: Silk the pickpocket, for both Tintin and the Bird brothers.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In the original French, the name of Captain Haddock's ancestor is Chevalier François de Hadoque. Francophone readers have theorized that this Haddock family left England because they supported the Stuarts during the English Civil War and James II after the Glorious Revolution and for a time gave their name a French spelling before reverting back to the original English one.
  • Stab the Scorpion: Haddock saves Tintin from Gustav Bird in this manner (with a thrown whiskey bottle).
  • Sticky Fingers: Aristides Silk is a kleptomaniac who steals Tintin's wallet which contains a Plot Coupon. It turns out that, similar to Real Life kleptomaniacs, he feels rather guilty about his actions; he sorts the stolen wallets by the owner's name. Thomson and Thompson end up walking out with their arms full of their own stolen wallets, and their countermeasures have varying degrees of success and slapstick.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: One of the Bird brothers escapes, but Tintin got his car's license plate number and the Twins were able to arrest him at the border.
  • Violent Glaswegian: The Nelvana adaptation gives Sir Francis a Scottish accent.

Top

Example of:

/

Feedback