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Western Animation / The Adventures of Tintin

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The Adventures of Tintin is a 2011 animated/motion capture film by Steven Spielberg based on the Tintin comic series, animated in Motion Capture CGI by Peter Jackson's Weta Digital.

Tintin (Jamie Bell) is taken onboard a ship, the Karaboudjan by Sakharine (Daniel Craig), who believes he holds one of the scrolls leading to the lost treasure of the Unicorn, hidden away in three identical replicas of the ship. With the help of the Karaboudjan's Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), Tintin escapes the ship and begins his quest to find the three scrolls before Sakharine. The movie combines the plots of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn and Tintin: The Crab with the Golden Claws.

Not to be confused with the 1990s animated series The Adventures of Tintin.


The Adventures of Tintin provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pun: In the tie-in videogame. Some of the bosses are literally giant flying heads. The Finnish term for a boss fight is "Päävastus", which literally translates into "head opponent".
  • Adapted Out: In the original comic, the Bird brothers were the villains. Here, they're completely absent and the role of villain goes to Sakharine.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • In the video game adaptation of the film, Thomson and Thompson have an attack where they spin their canes fast enough to deflect fireballs at enemies.
    • Captain Haddock, especially in comparison to his original appearance in The Crab with the Golden Claws, where he causes more trouble than he solves. In this movie he climbs out the seaplane in midflight and refuels it with his Alcohol-laden belch, takes part in the crazy motorcycle chase for the parchments, and fights the Big Bad in a crane duel. In fact the climatic battle almost entirely belongs to Haddock, with Tintin's main contribution being saving the parchments from being burnt at the last minute.
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    • Sakharine as well, originally little more than a background character. In the movie, he is a much more vicious fighter, complete with Sword Cane.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Not that it was a point of any real suspense in the comics, but Haddock's first name (Archibald) was not known until the final completed story, Tintin and the Picaros. In the film, Haddock introduces himself right away with his full name.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Barnaby. In the comic, he works for the villains and, while he turns on them, it's out of a petty grievance rather than remorse. In the film, he is an Interpol Special Agent who is shot by goons working for Sakharine. Interestingly, this is a reversal of the comic, in which Sakharine is attacked by Barnaby, who wants the scroll in his Unicorn model (which Sakharine didn't know existed).
    • Omar Ben Salaad, who's an innocent extra in this movie and a drug-smuggling boss in the comic. So he could still be a villain, just one who was the victim of another villain.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Ivan Sakharine is a much more malevolent character than he was in the comics, where he played little more than a bit part as the unlucky owner of the second Unicorn model. Ironically, he was one of the only characters who Tintin accuses mistakenly of being a villain. Having no background whatsoever, he originally had no grudge against or even connection to Captain Haddock (nor did the Bird Brothers, for what it's worth: generational vengeance is not exactly a feature of the Tintin comics). Interestingly and very surprisingly, the Licensed Game based on the movie actually uses the Bird brothers from the comic as the villains instead of Sakharine.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Haddock's Unusual Euphemisms tend to grow into this when he's particularly excited or — more often — angry. This is something carried over from the comics.
    Haddock: Billions of blistering blue barnacles!
    Ten thousand thundering typhoons!
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Tintin, mixed with an Intrepid Reporter.
  • The Alcoholic: Captain Haddock. Played for Laughs and Played for Drama!
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: The page image comes from the comic the movie is based on... and yes, that scene does make it into the movie. Along with multiple instances of this.
  • Alcohol Is Gasoline: Tintin and Captain Haddock are flying a sea plane through a thunderstorm, unfortunately they are almost out of fuel. In a last desperate gambit, Tintin suggests Haddock pour the medicinal spirits in the planes first aid kit into the fuel tank, hoping it will enable them to fly just a bit further and give them the opportunity to land. Unfortunately, Haddock had already drunk them. Inspired by Tintin's comment their running on fumes, he instead forces himself to belch into the tank, his breath already being established to be laced with booze. Sure enough it proves so potent it not just restarts the engine but causes it to catch fire.
  • Anachronism Stew: The date of the movie is somewhat difficult to determine; no matter what, the use of the term "third world" and references to INTERPOL are definitely out of place (see "Artistic License – History") and the cars just complicate matters (see "The '30s"), as do most of the guns.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The film ends with Tintin and Haddock discovering a clue to the location of the Unicorn, where the rest of Rackham's treasue would be hidden.
  • Animated Credits Opening: Similar to Spielberg's previous film Catch Me If You Can, with multiple references to the other Tintin books.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • At one point Bianca mentions this is her first time visiting the third world. The term "third world" originated during the Cold War in the 1950s, while this film takes place in the 30s.
    • Thompson and Thomson make a mention of both the FBI and INTERPOL. While the former existed as of 1935, most people would have referred to it by its old name, the Bureau of Investigations (BOI) out of habit; likewise, though the International Criminal Police Commission was created in 1923, it did not change its name to INTERPOL until 1956.
  • Ascended Extra: Ivan Sakharine. In the comic, he is a rather minor, non-villainous character, a harmless ship model collector who mostly serves as a Red Herring. In the film, he is the main antagonist and the descendant of Red Rackham.
  • Aside Glance: Snowy looks straight at the audience at least twice, and even winks! This might be a nod to the comics, where he could talk, but only the reader could "hear" him.
  • Badass Beard: Haddock, as always.
  • Badass Cape: Red Rackham has one that's on fire in his first fight with Sir Francis Haddock. He weaponizes it by brandishing the burning cape in Haddock's face to disorient him.
  • Badass Longcoat: See the poster above. Allan also has one.
  • Beard of Evil: Sakharine, with his pointy goatee. The artists apparently referenced Rasputin when working on his movie design, which makes sense — his comic design was already pretty Rasputin-y. The redesign helps him resemble Red Rackham a little more. His slicked-back, distinguished look vs. Haddock's unkempt look is very much a case of Good Hair, Evil Hair.
  • Berserk Button: Tintin calling Haddock's ship a "drunken tub" angered him enough to take his first real action against his mutinous crew and knock one of them out.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: During the scene where Tintin tries to recover some keys from a sleeping man, Haddock explains about some of his former crewmen. One of them was a shepherd once, but he was kicked out because of his "animal husbandry".
  • Big Bad: Sakharine
  • Bilingual Bonus: At one point, Sakharine is addressed by Castafiore as "Monsieur Shuggair Addeitiff", the French word for "additive". Saccharine is... wait for it... an additive used in place of... sugar.
    • Haddock calls Sakharine a "sassenach", a Scottish Gaelic pejorative for an English person.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The Pirate flashback is chockful of sword and gun killings, all without a single red stain, save for the sword wound Rackham receives — and even then it's not really bleeding much. Averted with Barnaby's death.
  • Blood-Stained Letter: A dying man highlights letters on a newspaper using his bloody fingerprints to spell out the name of the Karaboudjan.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Captain Haddock
  • Brave Scot: Unlike previous adaptations of Tintin, Andy Serkis chooses to give Captain Haddock a Scottish accent.
  • Captain Obvious: During a conversation with Haddock when Tintin first met him.
    Tintin: You're the captain?
    Haddock: Of course I'm the captain. Who else could I be?
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Mentioned in this exchange when Tintin and Haddock first meet, when the drunken captain mistakes the young man for an assassin:
    Haddock: So you thought you could sneak in behind me and catch me with my trousers down, eh?!
    Tintin: I'd rather you kept your trousers on, if it's all the same to you.
  • Character Exaggeration: The movie tends to exaggerate the traits of some characters and the Tintin comics in general, which tend to be more low-key than the Indiana Jones series (which the movie was commonly compared to).
  • Chase Scene: One of the more spectacular ones in recent memory.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Shortly after the two meet, Tintin is taken aback by Captain Haddock's horrible breath. Later on, after Snowy and Haddock consume a bottle of medicinal alcohol that Tintin wanted to use as fuel substitute for their crashing plane, this comes in handy as Haddock's breath alone contains enough alcohol to kick the plane into overdrive.
    • As Castafiore takes center stage, there is a conspicuous number of glass objects in nearly every cut. These are all then broken by Castafiore's impressive voice, including the bullet-proof glass cabinet containing the model of The Unicorn.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • A minor, yet hilarious one. Early on, Haddock's breath is established to smell strongly of whiskey. When Tintin and Haddock are flying towards Bagghar in a seaplane with almost no fuel, Haddock drinks a whole bottle of medicinal alcohol and belches into the plane's fuel tank to give it an extra boost.
    • Snowy's knack for finding holes in brick walls leads Tintin and Haddock to the bricked up portion of the cellar where they find Sir Francis' treasure.
  • Circling Birdies: Diegetic birdies, no less! They escaped from a cage.
  • Composite Character:
    • The film version of Sakharine is a combination of several characters from the comic. He has the appearance and some of the scenes of Sakharine in the comic, but his ownership of Marlinspike and his Adaptational Villainy are inherited from the absent Bird brothers and his employment of Allan is a trait from the comic's Omar Ben Salaad. The part about him being Red Rackham's descendant seems to be from a humorous scene from Red Rackham's Treasure involving several people who claim to be descended from Rackham.
    • Barnaby is a composite of Barnaby from Secret of the Unicorn and Dawes from The Crab With the Golden Claws. He even combines their names.
  • Cool Boat: The Unicorn. "Finest ship that ever sailed the seven seas!"
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Barnaby is gunned down by the bad guys and highlights letters on a newspaper with his own blood. Rated PG, everyone!
  • Creator Cameo:
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Captain Haddock seems to often cause more trouble for Tintin than he solves, but it's obvious he can more than handle himself in any given situation. As an example, late in the film Haddock is attacked by three soldiers, and he flails around angrily a bit, leading us to expect slapstick takedowns or just failure. Next we see him he throws three punches and knocks them all out.
  • Death by Adaptation: Barnaby Dawes, unlike the comic, doesn't recover from his bullet injuries.
  • Defiant to the End: In an attempt to get Tintin to give up, Sakharine ties Haddock and Snowy to some weights and threatens to drop them into the ocean unless Tintin backs down. In addition to insisting that Tintin not do it, Haddock never stops insulting Sakharine to his face the whole time, even though he's at his mercy. When Sakharine finally drops him to make his point, he even makes sure he gets one last shot in before he hits the water.
    Haddock : You two-timing troglodyte! You simpering son of a pug-faced profiteer! (Sakharine drops him) Fathead!
  • Demoted to Extra: With Ivan Sakharine's ascendancy to the role of Big Bad, Omar Ben Salaad — a drug-running strongman from The Crab with the Golden Claws — is reduced to a mere plot-advancer, as proprietor of the third Unicorn model.
  • Determinator:
    • Tintin, in spades. This causes a sort of chain — by leading him on this amazing adventure and never giving up, Tintin inspires Haddock to stop drowning his sorrows and become a determinator as well, and so Haddock in turn re-inspires Tintin to take up the fight again when everything looks bleakest.
    • Notably, Haddock becomes a determinator almost immediately after getting his memory of Francis Haddock's tale back.
    • Francis is clearly a determinator of his own, willing to blow up his own ship to stop Rackham, and Haddock is just like his ancestor.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Sakharine
  • Director Trademark:
    • Spielberg's favorite shot to use, the reflection shot, shows up conspicuously often in the movie, in a razor, in glasses, in a water bubble...
    • Another one of Spielberg's trademarks are beams of light, notably when Tintin is searching Marlinspike Hall and the flashlight beams of the crew of the Karaboudjan.
    • Writer Trademark as well — Edgar Wright wanted to use a gag in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World where Scott holds up a drawing of Ramona from the comics, but this only made it into the promotional materials for the film. He finally gets to use it here.
  • The Dragon: Allan to Sakharine.
  • Drunken Master: Captain Haddock recalls what his grandfather told him after going back to drinking.
  • Dying Curse: Red Rackham curses Sir Francis Haddock as he sinks with the blown-up Unicorn declaring, "We will meet again, Haddock! In another time! In another life!"
  • Epic Tracking Shot: The above-mentioned chase sequence. Sure it's done in CGI, but seriously, wow.
  • Eureka Moment: When Tintin thinks the bad guys have won, Captain Haddock gives him an inspirational speech about never giving up, and a chance phrase gives Tintin an idea about how to regain the upper hand.
  • Evil Former Friend: Haddock's crew betrayed him to Sakharine, who offered them a large amount of money.
  • Famed in Story: As demonstrated in the opening scene in the market, Tintin is apparently well known enough from his previous exploits that average people can recognize him by sight.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • Barnaby Dawes is gunned down by Sakharine's goons, which is brutal enough for a PG-rated film, but he even uses his blood stains to spell out a message that becomes a major plot point.
    • There's also Captain Francis stabbing, shooting and slicing up dozens of pirates, albeit bloodlessly.
    • Red Rackham coldly executes the Francis' crew after promising to spare them, by dropping them into the water while tied up, where they are implied to be eaten by sharks.
  • Father to His Men: Implied with Sir Francis Haddock. He is completely unflinching in the face of Red Rackham's threat to kill him unless he gives up his secret cargo, but gives in once Rackham threatens to kill his men in his stead. When Rackham goes back on his deal and kills the men anyway, Haddock is aghast.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Sakharine
  • Flynning:
    • Sir Francis Haddock's duel with Red Rakham. Justified since Rakham is more interested in putting out Haddock's Powder Trail, and Haddock is therefore more focused on preventing him from doing that.
    • In the climax, Captain Haddock and Sakharine do this with cranes.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • "When you hit a wall, you push through it."
    • Notice what color Sakharine wears throughout the entire movie. And his character design just screams Rasputin, with a very Alternate Universe Spock-esque beard.
    • see There Are No Coincidences
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Sakharine, again.
  • Fourth-Wall Portrait: Inverted. Tintin's portrait in the beginning of the film resembles his original cartoon design while he himself has an extremely realistic one.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Tintin owns a surprisingly upscale apartment for someone who works as a reporter. Then again, considering the recognition he gets (mentioned above) just when he goes out shopping, it's entirely possible that he's had several previous adventures that have made him rather high-profile, with corresponding pay.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Snowy, often; particularly in the desert, when he appears in the background with a giant bone from nowhere.
    • Right after Thomson and Thompson pull the pickpocket out from the Circling Birdies moment, the old lady whom the pickpocket crashed into strikes a man with her cane whom she seems to think was groping her.
  • Generation Xerox: Haddock and Sakharine with their ancestors.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: Castafiore's voice. At first, Tintin doesn't know what Haddock and Snowy are complaining about. Then she hits a really high note and shatters not only everyone but Sakharine's glasses but also the bulletproof case holding the third model ship. Oh, and the chandeliers, and the crystal ware, and the shiek's glasses too.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Seamstress: During the motorcycle scene, Captain Haddock collides with a clothesline and spends the rest of the chase wearing a pink dress.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Done for a Rule of Three.
  • Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: Captain Haddock takes aim at the villain with a bazooka ... and promptly takes out the dam behind them. Attentive viewers could see this coming, as the scope was shown to be on the outside when he was taking aim. Snowy can be seen trying to warn Haddock of this.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Haddock and Sakharine. You can practially smell the bacon frying. Same goes for their ancestors.
  • Heroic Dog: Snowy
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Both Sakharine and his ancestor seem fond of this trope.
    • In the video game, it's Allan who forces Tintin to hand over the scrolls in exchange for Haddock's life.
  • Identical Grandson: As in the comic, Haddock looks and acts exactly like his ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock. In addition, Red Rackham is given an Identical Descendant in the form of Sakharine and one of Sir Francis's crew members looks exactly like Nestor, which probably isn't a coincidence. Unlike the comic, the film makes an attempt to justify this by bringing up the possibility of the characters being the literal reincarnations of their ancestors.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Upon entering and making use of a plane:
    Haddock: You know what you're doing, eh?
    Tintin: Relax, I interviewed a pilot once!
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Tintin. He hits the lever on a searchlight while running and later brings down a plane with a single pistol shot.
    Tintin: Bad news, Captain — we've only got ONE bullet.
    Haddock: So, what's the good news?
    Tintin: (cocks pistol) We've got one bullet.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: It's not confirmed, but a couple of reviewers have commented that Sakharine looks uncannily like Steven Spielberg himself. At least one critic thinks he made himself the villain because people will naturally blame him for any changes to the comic. In truth, he looks more like Daniel Craig with glasses and a long beard.
  • Interesting Situation Duel:
    • Sir Francis Haddock and Red Rackham have a Sword Fight while trying to light/extinguish a Powder Trail.
    • At the climax of the movie, Captain Haddock and Sakharine duel with docking cranes!
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Tintin, who is a young adult, and Captain Haddock, a man at least in his late thirties to forties.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: In-universe. Haddock tells Tintin that one of the crewmen of the Karaboudjan has no eyelids. He semi-explains that a card game was involved before telling Tintin that he "had to be there".
  • Large Ham:
    • Andy Serkis as Haddock.
    • Sakharine is also worth of mention.
  • Leitmotif: All of the major characters have distinctive themes associated with them — Tintin, Snowy, Cpt. Haddock, Sir Francis and the Unicorn, Red Rackham, even Thomson and Thompson. The most prominent by far is the Unicorn theme, which recurs many times — being soft and ominous whenever the mystery is hinted at and surging to the fore with a full orchestra when a major breakthrough happens.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Tintin's escape from one room on the Karaboudjan.
  • MacGuffin Melee: The Chase Scene has the scrolls, all three of them, pass between Tintin, Haddock, Sakharine, Snowy and Sakharine's hawk several times before it's all over.
  • Made of Iron: Tintin, Haddock and even Snowy. They come out unscathed from fistfights, crashes and falls that would have severely injured or killed almost everyone else.
  • Match Cut: Boatloads of them, especially involving boats and ships.
    • When Haddock is hallucinating in the desert, the Unicorn comes sailing across the sand dunes, which transform beautifully into a stormy sea, cutting to the sea battle.
    • The vast sea on which Captain Haddock is rowing turns into a little puddle, cutting to Monsieur Silk.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Reincarnation angle behind Haddock and Sakharine's rivalry. Haddock appears to have some extremely vivid visions of the battle on the Unicorn and Red Rakham's death, implying that he's "remembering" his past life. In his final moments, Rakham also curses Sir Francis so they will continue their fight in "another time" and "another life". On the other hand, Haddock could just be figuring things out and the flashbacks are a visualization of his realization through what he knows about the story of the Unicorn. Things are further muddied by Haddock's flashbacks showing Sir Francis's first mate look exactly like Nestor, who is later revealed to be a secret ally to the Haddock family.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Often. This is especially evident during the Bagghar chase, where sharp-eyed viewers might notice that several seemingly innocous elements are briefly visible in the background before suddenly becoming important — like the tank that crashes into the hotel.
  • Meaningful Echo: "You hit a wall, you push through it."
  • Million-to-One Chance: When Tintin shoots down a plane with one bullet.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Red Rackham walking down to meet Sir Francis Haddock when the Unicorn is burning.
  • Mythology Gag: Lots of Continuity Nods to the comics in the animated credits sequence, on newspaper clippings in Tintin's apartment and in Omar Ben Salaad's palace and elsewhere:
    • Hergé has already drawn the Bird Brothers (original villains in Secret) and Professor Alembick (one of Tintin's traveling partners in King Ottokar's Sceptre) at his cartoon booth in the market.
    • Tintin in the Congo: A shield on the marketplace where Tintin buys the Unicorn and his outfit in Bagghar.
    • Tintin in America: The newspaper clipping about him rounding up a gang. Sakharine's Sword Cane resembles that used by the unnamed bald villain in this album as well.
    • Cigars of the Pharaoh: A newspaper clipping in his apartment.
    • The Blue Lotus: A newspaper clipping in his apartment, as well as a vase similar to the one Tintin hid in at one point in the album.
    • The Broken Ear: A bigger version of the statue is in Omar Ben Salaad's palace. The statue also hits someone's head in the opening credits.
    • King Ottokar's Sceptre: A newspaper clipping in his apartment, and a sign outside a building with Syldavia's Coat of Arms.
      • The purple dress Castafiore wears to perform in, as well as the composition of the shot where Castafiore is singing for Ben Salaad and his guests, comes straight from the scene in King Ottokar's Sceptre where she performs for the Syldavian court.
    • The Crab with the Golden Claws: A statue of a crab with Golden Claws in a fountain in Omar Ben Salaad's palace and a crate of cans show up in the harbour, which Snowy uses to trip up some goons. The entire movie sequence between Tintin's kidnapping and his arrival in Bagghar (minus captain Haddock's dream about his ancestor) is directly taken from The Crab with the Golden Claws. Ben Salaad himself was, of course the original villain (and therefore Allan's boss).
    • The Seven Crystal Balls: The opening credits are about Tintin chasing a guy with a crystal ball. The Siamese cat that appears to belong to one of Tintin's neighbors is also lifted from the one that takes up residence in Marlinspike Hall (and proceeds to fight with Snowy) in this comic.
    • Destination Moon / Explorers on the Moon: The rocket is shown in the credits sequence and the anti-gravity sequence with the alcohol occurs in the film itself, transferred to a free-falling airplane.
    • The Land of Black Gold: The red Jeep that Sakharine and his goons were riding in during that chase scene.
    • The Castafiore Emerald: A poster for Bianca Castafiore's concert has an emerald placed near her name. The red dress Castafiore wears on the cover appears in her first scene in the movie.
    • A train switchboard displayed in the opening credits lists several of the places Tintin visited in the comics.
    • The newspaper on which Barnaby scrawls in blood is Le Petit Vingtième, the same paper in which Tintin began as a strip cartoon.
    • There is a sign marking the cattle that Snowy must jump through as belonging to Cutts the Butcher — whose calls are mistakenly and incessantly directed to Marlinspike Hall in the comics.
    • Sakharine's plan to use Castafiore's voice to shatter the bulletproof glass may be an oblique reference to the ultrasonic weapon from The Calculus Affair.
    • And his use of a trained bird may be an oblique reference to The Castafiore Emerald. The gypsies were accused of using a trained monkey, and Tintin pointed out how improbable this was, but the thief did turn out to be a bird.
    • During the final credits, one of the first songs used in the film is titled Loch Lomond, another of the Captain's favorite whiskeys.
    • In the opening credits sequence, there's a brief shot of Tintin and Snowy running in front of a spotlight, clearly a nod to the Nelvana animated adaptation.
    • The villain running with the crystal ball in the opening sequence sort of resembles recurring villain Rastapopoulos.
    • The scene with Castafiore features an audience with members whom resemble characters from the original books, including Shiek Bab El Ehr and Piotr Skut.
    • There are several gallons of paint and other materials on the infamous step in Marlinspike Hall that never seemed to get fixed in The Castafiore Emerald.
    • The ancient statue/secret door in Flight 714 also appears in the opening credits.
    • In the scene where Hergé is drawing Tintin at the beginning of the movie, there are drawings of characters from the comic series. One of them is Didi, Mr. Wang's son from The Blue Lotus.
    • Haddock being caught in the plane's propeller and ejected with his clothes shredded mirrors a scene in the comic Red Rackham's Treasure where this happens to him with one of Prof. Calculus' devices.
    • In Omar Ben Salaad's palace, there is an abstract sculpture identical to one found in Tapiocopolis in Tintin and the Picaros.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond
    "Haddock. Archibald Haddock."
  • Newspaper-Thin Disguise: Thompson and Thomson are seen holding a stakeout at a Belgian marketplace with a set of eyeholes for each of the twins.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • At the start of the movie, Tintin just wanted the model ship because it was a rare find and a nice piece of history. Sakharine, unable to believe that Tintin isn't another treasure hunter, repeatedly schemes to steal it in increasingly criminal ways that only inflame Tintin's curiosity. And even then, when Tintin hits a dead end and can't figure out what "Karaboudjan" refers to, he sends goons to promptly kidnap him and take him straight to the ship with that name.
    • When Tintin and Haddock are stranded out in the middle of the ocean with no food or water, Sakharine sends in a plane to kill Tintin and bring Haddock back. Tintin and Haddock promptly hijack the plane and use it to get out of the mess alive.
  • Noodle Incident: Haddock remarks that one of his crewmen lost his eyelids during a rather memorable card game.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Tintin's landlady, Mrs. Finch, has this reaction to finding out that a man has been gunned down on their doorstep.
  • Old Retainer: The film's version of Nestor appears to be this to the Haddocks.
  • The Oner: The Bagghar chase sequence.
  • Only a Model: The model of the Unicorn.
  • Palette Swap: In the co-op missions for the video game based on the film, Tintin and Haddock are a team, as are Thomson and Thompson. Snowy, instead of being excluded, teams up with a black-furred version of himself who is still named Snowy.
  • Le Parkour: Tintin tends to slide around a lot more than in the comics.
  • Powder Trail: Sir Francis Haddock sets it off, Red Rackham snuffs it out, repeat, repeat...
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: In the original comics, Red Rackham's treasure is just the contents of a small chest. Today, that does not look impressive at all and certainly not enough to set Capt. Haddock for life with a large estate to keep up as well. So in the film, the treasure in the Unicorn takes up nearly the entire hold of the ship and was probably doubling as its ballast while it was there. The choice was almost certainly made for the sake of visual impressiveness, rather than to match the inflation — even a small handful of 18th century gold coins in mint condition would be worth millions of dollars. The contents of the hold would make Captain Haddock the richest man in the world, even matching the loss of rarity value for the said coins!
  • Precision F-Strike: Tintin says that Sir Francis would be "damned" if he let Red Rackam have the treasure.
  • Qurac: The Sultanate of Bagghar.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Sir Francis Haddock's parchment slips. Those little centuries-old bits of paper go through a ton of abuse during the chase scene, going as far as bearing the full weight of Snowy as he tries to wrestle them away from Sakharine's hawk in midair. It's a wonder those things were still in one piece, let alone readable.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Haddock and Sakharine. Almost Color-Coded Characters but it's reversed. Haddock who always wears blue is wild and prone to anger while the cool and collected Sakharine is descended from Red Rackham.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Sakharine is the descendant of Rackham.
  • Revenge: Sakharine doesn't just want the gold, but to avenge his ancestor by killing Haddock in a duel.
  • Sand Is Water: Invoked in one scene where Tintin and Captain Haddock are in a desert when Haddock tells Tintin about his ancestor as he looks out over the sand dunes. Cue a virtually seamless transition between the dunes and a ship sailing on the ocean waves.
  • Scare the Dog: Snowy barks a Rottweiler twice his size into submission.
  • Seadog Beard: Thundering typhoons! Do you think we could have a proper Tintin movie if Captain Archibald Haddock didn't have one of these?
  • Self-Plagiarism:
    • There is an action sequence with Tintin driving a motorcycle with Haddock in the sidecar, a probable reference to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (which was partially shot on sets designed for a live-action Tintin movie).
    • Tintin's hair parts the water like the fin of a certain great white monster... Speaking of Jaws, Bruce the shark appears hanging from the crew's quarters.
    • Captain Haddock yells "Geronimo" before leaping into action, a catchphrase of the Eleventh Doctor (Steven Moffat was one of the writers).
  • Sequel Hook: Tintin finding the coordinates for the rest of Rackham's treasure.
  • Serkis Folk: Arguably the best-looking example yet. It even has Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock.
  • Sex for Services: It is implied that Sakharine slept with Bianca Castafiore: "Allow me to introduce my escort: Monsiuer Shuggair Addeitiff. He's been very [beat] passionate in his support of this concert." The brief but distinctly uncomfortable look on Sakharine's face as she says it reveals even more....
  • Shout-Out: Captain Haddock's reaction to seeing Snowy is a reference to Sherlock Holmes: "the giant rat of Sumatra" was mentioned as one of the many cases Watson never actually wrote up. This also doubles as a reference to one of Peter Jackson's earliest films, BrainDead.
  • Signature Move: Red Rackham had a distinctive taunt-like swishing movement of his sword that he performed whenever he won a bout and/or was waiting for his opponent to get back on their feet. He does it several times in the flashbacks to his battles with Francis Haddock, and in the final battle, Sakharine shows that he inherited it.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Sakharine has a score to settle with Haddock that began with their ancestors.
  • Sleeps with Both Eyes Open: A bad guy sleeps with his eyes open, not out of training, but because he lost his eyelids. In a card game.
    Captain Haddock: You had to be there!
  • The Smurfette Principle: Like its source material, the film exemplifies this trope. It has only a handful of female characters, and only two of them (Tintin's landlady Mrs. Finch and opera singer Bianca Castafiore) have names, dialogue, or any importance to the plot.
  • Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure: Demonstrated as the seaplane from the Karaboudjan finds Tintin and the captain adrift in the lifeboat.
  • Stealth Pun: The official artbook has a concept painting of the inside of the Karaboudjan where a mermaid masthead from another ship has been tied to one of the support beams. There have been lamps installed on her breasts... so, she has nice headlights.
  • Sticky Fingers: Aristide Silk, the pickpocket, has an unusual obsession with wallets; he has a whole room full of the wallets he stole. Thompson and Thomson barely get the hint and he had to shout out that he is a thief.
  • Stubborn Hair: Tintin opens the movie attempting to pat down his signature hair spike in the front, only for it to stand up again.
  • Sword Cane: Sakharine has one, which he threatens Tintin with on board the Karaboudjan.
  • Sword Fight: Both Red Rackham and Sir Francis, and their two descendants.
  • Take No Prisoners: Red Rackham sails under a blood red pennant, which — as Haddock notes in his storytelling — meant a fight with him is a fight to the death, no prisoners taken and no quarter given. Later, Rackham pretends to be willing to show mercy to the crew if Haddock gives up his hidden cargo, then has them all killed anyway.
  • Tall Tale: Haddock's story of the taking of the Unicorn.
  • Tap on the Head: Happens so frequently, including in the opening credits, that you start to wonder why a few characters don't have brain damage already.
  • Television Geography: The film is set in a country which has the pound as its currency and a historical King Charles II, but several shops have French signs and cars drive on the right side of the road. (This is carried over from the English translation of the comic, which was originally set in Belgium and used francs and Louis XIV.) Other dubs of the movie revert these to francs and Louis XIV too.
  • There Are No Coincidences: "Do you think it was an accident I took Haddock's ship, Haddock's crew, Haddock's treacherous first mate? Nothing is an accident."
  • The '30s: The style of the cars, clothes, planes, etc. Also a newspaper clipping mentioning the events of King Ottokar's Sceptre gives the explicit date of 1938. Also, the bad guys' weapons are of evidently German origin. Interestingly enough, the official artbook tags the movie's date as 1949, but the models of some of the cars go as late as 1953. The film's art director notes this was done because there were no new cars made during World War II, let alone cool ones. The tanks in Bagghar are of a definitely post-WW2 design.
  • Those Two Guys: Thomson and Thompson.
  • Title Drop: Done preemptively when Tintin mentions Red Rackham's treasure at the end.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: You wouldn't take a man named "Sakharine" seriously... until you saw him, at least. Lampshaded by Hadock calling him "The sour faced man with the sugary name."
  • Unreliable Expositor: At one point Haddock inserts his own alcoholism into the story of the Unicorn until Tintin gets him to focus.
  • Visual Gag: Quite a few as the source material is also big on them.
    • Early in the movie, the Thom(p)sons are peering out of holes they cut into a newspaper: Each one has cut his holes in an ad on the paper that feature an item that not only lines up with where their noses mustaches would be, but matches the shape of said individual moustache (A broom for Thompson and a toilet plunger for Thomson).
    • During Haddock's Tall Tale of the taking of the Unicorn, Red Rackham's much smaller ship gets caught in the Unicorn's rigging, swinging back and forth like a Pirate Ship theme park ride.
  • Wham Shot: At the end of the duel between Sir Francis and the Red Rackham, Red Rackham's mask comes off showing that his face is the same as Sakharine, revealing him as Rackham's descendant.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: When Tintin is escaping the hold, he pushes on a crate that roars like a lion, but then falls silent. What was in there?
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Averted with Tintin; after he escapes, Sakharine orders his men to kill Tintin even though he might have valuable information. But he insists that Haddock not be killed. It's only later we find out why.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Seen briefly when Haddock is hit by lightning.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Sakharine alludes to this trope while interrogating Tintin ("Consider just how useful you are to me") but the latter escapes before he can actually make good on the threat.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Sir Francis was forced to reveal the treasure's location in exchange for his crew's lives. Rackham had them killed anyway.
  • Zillion-Dollar Bill: Sir Francis' treasure.

Alternative Title(s): Tintin


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