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 Lake of Sharks (also known as Tintin: and the Mystery at Shark Lake) is an animated story of espionage and adventure from Belgium in the early 1970s that is based on a popular television and book series from that time. There is cartoonish violence -- gun play and a plane crash, for instance -- and scenes where characters smoke cigarettes and pipes, as well as drink wine and stronger libations. The storyline and character voicings will be difficult to understand for younger (and perhaps older) viewers. Still, for nostalgia's sake -- and for parents who grew up following Tintin's adventures -- Tintin: The Lake of Sharks has a quaint charm.
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What's the story?
Tintin, Snowy, and Captain Haddock are at the airport bound for the eastern European country of Syldavia, where they run into Thompson and Thomson, who are also bound for Syldavia to protect Professor Calculus while he works to develop a camera that creates holograms. When the pilot of their tiny propeller plane jumps out of the plane and leaves Tintin and the gang to crash, Tintin suspects foul play. On land, he discovers a secret cave where great works of art have been hidden, and knows that he must help protect Professor Calculus and fight off the gang of art thieves who will stop at nothing to steal the professor's latest invention and use it to continue stealing from museums all over the world.
Is it any good?
TINTIN: THE LAKE OF SHARKS has a certain charm and creativity that's missing from some modern animation. While certainly dated and difficult at times to follow, the film does have its good points, especially for those who grew up following Tintin's adventures on television and in books. There are lots of creative "futuristic" espionage gadgets that could only have come out of the mid-20th century, and plenty of cliff-hanging spills and chills. The bad guys either talk like bumbling fools, or else they have "sinister" Russian Cold War accents, and Tintin speaks in the forthright tones of one who knows that the good guys will always win in the end.
The problem, of course, is whether or not 21st century children will enjoy this. Crucial elements of the story are disposed of in a blink-and-you-miss-it way, and towards the end, it's easy to forget just what it is the bad guys want.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this animated feature compares to more contemporary animated features. What differences do you notice in terms of characters, voices, storyline, and the quality of the animation?
Did you notice the smoking and drinking in the movie? Why don't we see as much smoking and drinking in modern kids' movies?
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