The Adventures of Tintin has Dudes. So Many Dudes.

I watched The Adventures of Tintin with trepidation for a few reasons: 1) because I thought that motion capture hadn’t advanced enough to not be creepy a la The Polar Express; 2) because I feared that, despite his obvious talents, Steven Spielberg may not do the comic that occupied a significant chunk of my childhood justice; and 3) because I was afraid, because of some late trailers, that the film would be pure slapstick schlock.

I needn’t have worried. The movie is great – a straight-up fun adventure flick that pays homage to the classic comics without  being a direct enough translation to be predictable.

But once the credits rolled with the familiar font, something was bothering me.

Not this. This scene wasn't in the movie. In fact, I would be shocked if anything from "Tintin goes to the Congo" ever makes it to the silver screen.

The movie was a bit of a sausage fest. So I went home and made a list of all of the women who made appearances.

It went like this:

  • The Milanese Nightengale/Bianca Castafiore (who I think was just a recording, since she had no lines other than her song).
  • Mrs. Finch, Tintin’s elderly English landlady
  • Maybe that dog that Snowy plays with at the mansion, it’s hard to say.
So naturally, I imdb‘d it to make sure I was correct. The cast listing proved I had missed two characters, Press Reporter and Old Lady (who was uncredited).

This is Bianca Castafiore. Her name means "Chaste White Flower." You can easily see where it comes from.

Now, I’m not going to subject you to a feminist rant about equality in film. But I was a bit boggled by the lack of XX chromosomes.

Then I thought back to all the comics I read as a kid. From what I can remember, there wasn’t too many women in them, either.

So what is it that Hergé had against putting women in his comics?

Granted, he began writing them in the late 1920s/early 1930s, when women were about as valuable as newsboy caps.

You know, 'cause they're great to have around most of the time, but when you walk into the bar, they damn well better leave or hang around the coat rack.

But still – Tintin is a respected crime solver and reporter, a local celebrity and a young man with an adorable puppy. He should be barely able to open his door because of all the love letters piling up outside the mail slot. He should barely be able to walk down the street without 19 women begging him to father his children.

Instead, he gets this guy.

Granted, Tintin was designed to be ambiguous in every sense of the word, so it makes sense that Hergé wouldn’t give him a love interest aside from crime solving.

So I accepted it.

There was something else I found shocking – for a Hollywood movie, there was absolutely no love story.

Think about that for a while. When was the last time you watched a movie where there was absolutely no relationship between two characters that could be described as love?

… Not so easy, eh?

I thought about it, and Reservoir Dogs came to mind. Then I realized that there is pure, unbridled guy love between Mr. White and Mr. Orange.

If that isn't guy love, I don't know what is.

Now, one could argue that there is love between Captain Haddock and Tintin, but one would be wrong. Tintin does not fully develop a loving relationship with Haddock, he merely adventures with him because he has to. Basically, he uses him to find Sir Francis Haddock’s treasure. That’s not love.

Well, some may argue it is, but those people watch too much Gossip Girl.

At first, this lack of a love story threw me off. Then it made me gain a newfound respect for the film, because it did what most films based off of comics couldn’t/wouldn’t/can’t – it stayed true to the source material without bending to Hollywood conventions.

Right down to the abundance of dudes.

I said dudes, not bros.

The point being, I majorly over-thought a movie about a journalist that runs around the world solving crimes with a sea captain and his hyper-intelligent dog.

Also, he shoots down a plane with one bullet then proceeds to hijack it. It’s awesome.

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5 thoughts on “The Adventures of Tintin has Dudes. So Many Dudes.

  1. Chelsea Mackay says:

    Wow. So… you want women to play fangirls? And that’s it? Maybe suggest some other possible roles for women, because going from no representation of women to poor representation of women is only a verrry small step in the right (sort of, maybe?) direction. Also the whole “in the late 1920s/early 1930s, when women were about as valuable as newsboy caps” is a bit offensive. Try inserting “thought to be” as valuable or something. Because I am pretty sure in the 30s if all the newsboy caps had disappeared, people would have been pretty weirded out, but if all the women had disappeared, the human race would have ended, and capitalism may have taken a bit of a hit from losing all that unpaid labour. Just saying.

    Other than that, I agree.

    • Hmmm… I definitely came off like I only wanted women as Tintin groupies, hey? That’s certainly not the case. Rather, I just think there could be a woman in any role. Like, a fellow journalist/detective, a Professor Calculus-type character, a villain of some sort or anything other than Bianca Castafiore, whose sole role is to crack glass and annoy Captain Haddock.

      And, yes, my newsboy caps simile was weak. Times are tough, man. This economy, etc.

  2. Justin says:

    I like it Dav. AJ and I enjoyed the movie as well.

    J

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