Following volume 1, The Adventures of Tintin returns for another 10 adventures on five discs. A Canadian production broadcast in the U.S. on HBO, the animated television series vividly captures the intrepid reporter Tintin and his colorful friends (including his dog, Snowy, the blustery Captain Haddock, the brilliant but absent-minded Professor Calculus, and the detective twins Thompson and Thomson) as they travel the world on adventures that mix action, mystery, and humor. The books were originally written in French by the Belgian author Hergé, but the DVD set includes both French and English language tracks as well as French and English subtitles.
The five discs feature two stories each. The Crab with the Golden Claws introduces Captain Haddock and his rival, Allan. Yet another "quest" adventure but one with deep emotional impact, Tintin in Tibet follows Tintin into the Himalayas in search of his old friend Chang. Chang had been introduced in the early story The Blue Lotus. Herge's first masterpiece, it finds Tintin in China during wartime. The Calculus Affair is often considered Herge's crown jewel for its intricate plotting and characterization in a story that returns to Syldavia and its conflicts with its rival Borduria. In Cigars of the Pharoah, Tintin goes to Egypt, though curiously he's old friends with Thompson and Thomson rather than meeting them for the first time. The Red Sea Sharks is another seafaring adventure. The Secret of the Unicorn was Herge's personal favorite, combining a puzzling mystery with a ripping pirate yarn about Haddock's seafaring ancestor, Sir Francis Haddock, and his fateful encounter with the fearsome pirate Red Rackham. Red Rackham's Treasure continues the Unicorn adventure with a modern-day treasure hunt and introduces Professor Calculus. The Castafiore Emerald keeps Tintin at home, but in the company of the irrepressible Bianca Castafiore (the "Jewel Song from Faust," anyone?) and a fun locked-room mystery. Flight 714 is a far-out adventure that features many old friends and enemies in a kidnapping plot. Tintin and the Picaros is the final complete Tintin adventure, one that takes him back to San Theodoros and General Alcazar.
The animated series perfectly captures the look of the books, and each 42-minute episode has enough time to re-create the books' character and wit, though minor characters and scenes have been changed or removed (for example, the Blue Lotus is no longer an opium den and the slavery angle has been removed from The Red Sea Sharks). (The exception is Red Rackham's Treasure, which is only 23 minutes, 3 of which are spent recapping Secret of the Unicorn.) Tintin fans will love reliving these adventures, and newcomers have a wonderful discovery awaiting them. (Ages 7 and older: moments of peril, alcohol consumption, drug-related criminal activities, ethnic stereotypes) --David Horiuchi