A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tintin: The Calculus Affair is a kitschy slice of Cold War action and animation from Belgium in 1964. There is some cartoonish violence -- including machine gun fire -- and one of the main characters smokes a pipe and is fond of his drink. On the whole, Tintin: The Calculus Affair is an enjoyable story with a brave hero rooted in a time when the Cold War was at its peak.
What's the story?
Tintin is relaxing in his study with his dog Snowy and Captain Haddock when a thunderstorm passes overhead and the windows and glasses inside the house begin to shatter. When they realize it is not the storm that is causing this, they learn that Professor Calculus has invented a new satellite raygun that shoots ultrasonic waves and can make anything in its path shatter. As they discuss the importance of keeping this invention a secret, spies from Bulduria throw tear gas cannisters into the room, knocking out Tintin and his friends and giving the spies the chance to kidnap Professor Calculus. It is up to Tintin to rescue Professor Calculus and to prevent this new invention from falling into the wrong hands and being used for evil.
Is it any good?
Like many relics from the Cold War, TINTIN: THE CALCULUS AFFAIR hasn't aged well, in spite of its natural kitschy charm. The inventions, as always, are creative (and nothing like what the "future" provided), the computers are over-large, and the demarcations between good and bad guys are clearly defined. As in other episodes from the Tintin series, there are lots of cliffhanging "How will Tintin ever escape this predicament?" moments, and unsurprisingly, the hero always finds a way to elude capture (or worse) at the hands of the Eastern European-accented antagonists.
While this could be nostalgic fun for parents who were kids in the 20th century, whether or not kids in the 21st century will enjoy this is another matter entirely. The animation, like much animation from the mid-'60s, is not the best, and the inventions might test the credulity of any kid in this day and age. Still, Tintin: The Calculus Affair is a fun (if dated) animated adventure in espionage.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about animated stories from the 1960s. What do you notice in terms of quality, subject matter, and story, and how do they compare to cartoons from other times?
What are the differences between the types of violence one sees in cartoons (especially from around this era), to the types of violence one sees in live-action movies today?
As a cartoon made in Belgium, how is this similar and different to animated stories made in other countries?
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