Spielberg: The Adventures of Tintin part 5

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Tintin and Haddock have escaped the clutches of Sakharine and are adrift at sea.  Tintin takes the moment to sit Haddock down and recite “what we know so far.”  There are three models of the Unicorn, therefore three scrolls hidden within them.  Sakharine has one, Tintin had one but doesn’t now, and Sakharine is on his way to get the third, from a sultan in Morocco.  Sakharine needs Haddock because the legend says “only a True Haddock” can solve the secret of the Unicorn.  Haddock, unfortunately, cannot remember anything, due to his alcoholism.  (“Legends,” and their close kins “prophecies,” are great for adventure tales.  They are always right and inarguable.)

This is a classic mid-movie pivot, not quite an act break, where the plot takes stock of itself and chaos begins to settle into manageable plot.  Again, because the movie is meant to welcome youngsters, the mystery is clever but not difficult to solve or even keep track of.  Clues are announced and always lead to correct deductions, and if they don’t (as in the case of “Karboudjan“, which was spelt out by the dying Dawes but led to no deductions at all) the plot steps forward to render deduction unnecessary.  The pivot here is that the movie begins to become about Haddock.  It’s not that it’s no longer about Tintin, because Tintin is still the journalist chasing the story, it’s that Tintin’s goal now becomes “to learn the story of Haddock.”  He’s now chasing a story about a story, in the same way that Spielberg is making a movie about chasing a story about a boy chasing a story within a story.

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