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Western Animation / Tintin and the Lake of Sharks

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Tintin and the Lake of Sharks (Tintin et le Lac aux requins) is a 1972 Belgian-French animated film based on Hergé's comic book hero, Tintin. The story is not based on any of the comic book storylines, it's an original story created by Hergé's fellow Belgian cartoonist Greg.

While there's a wave of thefts of valuable artworks in museums (which are replaced by copies), Tintin and Captain Haddock are invited by Professor Calculus to Syldavia. Professor Calculus develops his latest invention: a machine that can replicate any object.

The film was adapted itself as a Film Comic. It's the only official, non-Hergé Tintin story available as an album.

Tintin and the Lake of Sharks provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Distillation: The Comic-Book Adaptation alters some parts of the story. In the movie, Tintin, Niko and Nouchka manage to swim out of Rastapopoulos' exploding lair in time. In the book, they only manage to get out of the room with the bomb and the explosive goes off before they can escape, Tintin being Born Lucky is what saves him and the kids. The climactic showdown is also shortened, instead of a drawn out fistfight, that matches with the commentary of an ongoing football match, Tintin and Haddock simply corner Rastapopoulos and his right hand man, and have them arrested.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: The comic version omits a critical line from Calculus, which in the film implied Tintin was deliberately giving the Big Bad a bogus ransom.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Calculus's invention, that can replicate any object.
  • Big Bad: The mysterious evil mastermind turns out to be Rastapopoulos, a classic Tintin foe.
  • Busman's Holiday: Tintin and Captain Haddock are supposed to go on holiday in professor Calculus's villa. This holiday won't be very relaxing.
  • Call-Back: A slightly redesigned version of the iconic shark-shaped submarine of Red Rackham's Treasure is back.
  • Cavalry Refusal: The Syldavian police refuses to intervene at first, because the lake is on the Bordurian border and the police is afraid of diplomatic incidents. Subverted, because in the end the Syldavian police shows up to arrest the villains. Double subverted, because the police refuses to chase the big bad's submarine beyond the Bordurian border.
  • Collapsing Lair: Tintin, Niko and Nouchka must escape the collapsing underwater base after Rastapopoulos locks them up and activates the Self-Destruct Mechanism.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The comic version pretends to be a Film Comic, but if you compare the comic to the movie, the movie's character art is frequently Off-Model while the comic's is much better. It seems like Hergé's studio had access to all of the movie's background paintings, but completely redrew as many cels as were necessary to create the comic's panels.
  • Coming in Hot: Tintin has to make an emergency landing in the mountains with a sabotaged aircraft.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: One of the most striking examples is the rocks that collapse in the chasm after Tintin saves Nouchka from falling.
  • Crash Course Landing: After the pilot jumps from the plane with a parachute, Tintin has to take control of the plane and perform an emergency landing.
  • Cut Phone Lines: The Big Bad orders the phone lines cut so that Tintin and his friends cannot call the police.
  • Dance Party Ending: The book ends with our heroes dancing the blushtika with the Syldavians in their village square. The movie however has another scene after that, which has Thomson and Thompson trying to play golf and accidentally smashing a bottle of whiskey the Captain was trying to drink out of. Everyone, including the Captain himself just laugh it off.
  • Drowning Pit: The villain locks Tintin, Niko and Nouchka up in a room which is slowly filling with water. Moreover, the rising water will also activate the Self-Destruct Mechanism of the base.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: How the movie ends. Thomson and Thompson try to play golf and accidentally smash a bottle of whiskey the Captain was trying to drink out of. Everyone, including the Captain himself just laugh it off.
  • The Faceless: The big bad is always shown with the frame cropping out his face (we mainly see his hands), until it is revealed he is Rastapopoulos.
  • Flawed Prototype: Calculus' invention can create replicas of objects, but the replicas aren't stable and melt by themselves after some time.
  • Funny Foreigner: The You No Take Candle-speaking Syldavian farmer Tintin knocks at the door of to ask if he can use his phone for a call. In the French version, he understands Tintin's "coup de téléphone" ("calling with the phone") with the other meaning of "coup", "to hit", thus thinking Tintin is up for violence. He points his blunderbuss through the door's hole at Tintin, who dodges a shot, and said shot destroys the farmer's poor dog's kennel.
  • Hidden Villain: The Big Bad is The Faceless, until it is revealed he is Rastapopoulos.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The Big Bad is revealed to be Rastapopoulos, a recurring opponent of Tintin.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: The Big Bad kidnaps Niko and Nouchka and holds them hostage in exchange for Professor Calculus's duplication machine.
  • Internal Homage:
    • In the beginning a valuable object is stolen from a museum. The attendant notices it is missing, then the thieves replace the object by a copy. Just like in The Broken Ear.
    • In the airport, Lazlo Carreidas from Flight 714 is waiting for his flight.
    • Tintin is hitchhiking in Syldavia. He is picked up by Bianca Castafiore, just like in King Ottokar's Sceptre.
  • Literal Cliffhanger:
    • The plane used by Tintin, Captain Haddock, Thompson and Thomson crashes on the edge of a cliff and tilts precariously. Fortunately, Niko and Nouchka save them.
    • Later, Nouchka ends up hanging from a shrub above a chasm. Tintin saves her.
  • The Mole: Madame Black, Professor Calculus's servant, is a spy who works for the villain.
  • Narrating the Obvious: The comic version frequently has narration boxes that laboriously describe what's happening in the very next panel, which is a departure from the usual Tintin style, but is very similar to Blake and Mortimer.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: In one scene, the Big Bad shows Tintin, who he has taken hostage, his gallery of stolen, priceless artwork. He gloats about his new plan to exploit one of Professor Calculus' machines to make counterfeit clones of the artwork, and sell them to make gobs of money. The scene is accompanied by a powerful organ tune, and fittingly, the first things we see in the scene are stained glass windows with the Big Bad's insignia.
  • Replaced with Replica: Rastapopolous' Evil Plan. Using technology stolen from Professor Calculus, he plans to make copies of famous artworks around the world, steal the originals, and get filthy rich.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Greg was inspired to write the story by several cases of submerged villages due to the constructions of dams.
  • Run for the Border: In the end, the villain crosses the border to escape from the Syldavian police. So the police must actually stop the chase, but Tintin and Captain Haddock cross the border to and catch him.
  • Ruritania: The story is set in Syldavia, not far from the Bordurian border.
  • Secret Underground Passage: The bad guys use two secret passages:
    • Tintin and Snowy discover the first one not far from the lake when they are on the frogman's trail. It contains stolen artworks.
    • They discover the second one when they search professor Calculus's villa for bugs. It is hidden behind a clock and it leads to the bottom of the well.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The underwater base has one and Rastapopoulos activates it when he needs to escape.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The movie's plot seems like an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the James Bond franchise, particularly the similarity of Rastapopoulos's depiction before his face is revealed to Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
    • Niko and Nouchka's theft of the underwater tank starts off the same way as the scene where Jo, Zette and Jocko steal an underwater tank in The Secret Ray.
  • Sigil Spam: The underwater base is decorated with a red "r" logo (which stands for Rastapopoulos).
  • Slippery Skid: Thompson and Thomson slip on Captain Haddock's golf balls in the airport.
  • Supervillain Lair: The underwater base, equiped with a Self-Destruct Mechanism.
  • Tagalong Kid: After Niko and Nouchka help Tintin and his friends escape from the wreckage of their plane before it goes over a cliff, they tag along with him for the rest of the movie.
  • They Have the Scent!: Snowy and Gustav sniff the flipper of the frogman. Gustav brings Haddock to a dumping ground, whereas Snowy picks up the scent and brings Tintin to a Secret Underground Passage.
  • Truer to the Text: The Belvision Animated Adaptation removed Professor Calculus' hearing problems. Here, he is hard of hearing again and a joke is made of him not being able to understand what Captain Haddock is saying at one point.
  • Underwater Base: There is one under the lake.
  • Underwater Ruins: There are the ruins of a village under the lake.

Alternative Title(s): Tintin Et Le Lac Aux Requins