Tintin and the Lake of Sharks


Tintin and the Lake of Sharks

"Tintin and the Lake of Sharks" (originally known as "Tintin et le Lac aux Requins") is a "Tintin" animated film, directed by Raymond LeBlanc (1972). It was not written by Hergé, who supervised, but by the Belgian comics creator Greg (Michel Regnier), a friend of Hergé. It was later adapted into a comic book in which the illustrations were drawn to look like still images from the film.

Plot

Late one night a pair of crooks discreetly break into a museum and steal a priceless pearl, replacing it with a perfectly identical copy. This has been one of several such robberies.

Some time later Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock arrive in Syldavia, a country in the Balkans. They have come to join their friend professor Cuthbert Calculus who has rented a villa near a lake in order to build his latest invention. The Captain is especially keen in improving his golf. At the airport they run into Thompson and Thomson who are also heading for Calculus on a special mission.

The four men and dog fly by hired plane to Calculus' house, but during the flight they get into some engine trouble and the pilot bails out with the only parachute. Tintin attempts to safely land the plane, but it ends up on the edge of a cliff and on fire. They are saved with the help of two local children, Nico and his sister Noushka, and their dog Gustav (who is somewhat goofy and bumbling compared to Snowy). The pilot discreetly watches this from a distance. He then contacts his superior ("Mr. Big"/"Shark King"), telling him that their plan to kill Tintin and his friends has failed.

The children give their new friends a lift in their wagon. They warn them that there is a curse on the lake, at the bottom of which is an old submerged town. The party finally arrives at Calculus' villa where he demonstrates his invention: a camera which can project holographic images. It is part of a far more ambitious project: a machine which will make actual copies of physical objects.

Over dinner Thompson and Thomson explain that they are Calculus' bodyguards as they suspect that a criminal organisation specialising in making art forgeries wants to steal his machine. They tell of the thefts from the museums and how the copies have become more and more sophisticated.

After the guests have gone to bed, Calculus' housekeeper, Madame Black, contacts "Mr. Big" by using a walkie-talkie hidden in the dried-up well.

Next morning, while Tintin explores the local country with Nico and Noushka (unaware that there are cameras spying on his every move), Snowy runs into a man in scuba gear who has obtained from Madame Black some plans stolen from Calculus' laboratory. The man escapes by jumping into the lake, but Snowy manages to bite off a part of one of his flippers.

After the Captain and the detectives tell Tintin what has happened, he gives the dogs the bitten-off part of the suit to sniff. While Gustav leads Haddock to a pile of abandoned tyres, Tintin follows Snowy to a chain which, when pulled, opens a passage to a hidden cave where the criminals have stacked the stolen art.

Back at home, Calculus demonstrates his new invention to the children — a machine that can copy any object from a piece of special soap. Unfortunately the effects are short-lived, as the copied objects (in this case Thompson and Thomson's hats) turn back into soap very fast. The criminals attack Calculus and the detectives with laughing gas and take the children away. Tintin and Haddock pursue them but fail to rescue Nico and Noushka. The criminals leave behind a message on a tape player from their leader, "King Shark", who tells the heroes that they will get the children back in return for Calculus' invention. Tintin himself is to do the exchange and is not to call the police. The reporter realises he has heard the voice from the tape somewhere before.

Tintin, Haddock, Calculus and the detectives discuss the situation. They search the house for bugs and Tintin discovers a secret passage that leads to the walkie-talkie hidden in the empty well. He then catches Madam Black in the process of obtaining it. Haddock tries to make her talk, but Tintin decides that she is just a pawn and doesn't even know who "Mr. Big" is.

Tintin decides to contact the police and comes up with a ruse to cover his tracks. From a nearby hide-out criminals are watching the villa and report to their boss that Tintin and Haddock are simply pacing up and down the room: in fact they are dummies being pushed around by Thomson and Thompson who are on their knees in order to avoid being seen.

Meanwhile Tintin and Snowy set off to the local town. Tintin comes to the home of a man named Vladislav, but, instead of letting Tintin use the phone, he shoots at him with his blunderbuss, thinking that he is a criminal. Vladislav tries to call the police himself but the gang have cut all the phone-lines in the area.

Going on his way Tintin runs into his friend Bianca Castafiore, the opera singer, who gives him a lift in her car to the town. Tintin notices two criminals near the police station (including the pilot who had tried to kill him earlier), but Bianca tricks them by sending her assistant Igor Wagner with Snowy first, thus making them think it's Tintin. The criminals attack Igor and Bianca runs to him screaming in panic. Since this alarms the police, the crooks run away.

While Bianca starts singing in order to prove to the policeman who she is, Tintin sneaks into the station in disguise. The chief of police listens to his story, but he is limited in what he can do since half the lake is in the jurisdiction of Borduria, a rival nation, and there are thus risks of a diplomatic incident.

Two days pass and Haddock and the others have had no word from Tintin. He finally arrives with the shark-like submarine which Calculus built during the search for "Red Rackham's Treasure". The plan is simple: Tintin will meet the crooks on the beach, and Haddock will follow him in the sub.

Criminals pick Tintin up in their submarine and they head underwater to a flooded city where their base is situated. Tintin's arch nemesis Rastapopoulos (who's more of a James Bond-type villain in this movie) turns out to be "King shark"/"Mr. Big" and he takes the professor's invention from the reporter. Rastapopoulos actually intends to keep his promise of setting children free, but, unaware of the bargain that has been made, they escape in an underwater tank.

The villain takes over control of the tank with his computer, but he then notices Captain Haddock's sub on his monitor. Rastapopoulos makes the children's machine fire torpedoes at Haddock, which provokes a fight between Tintin and the other gangsters as he attempts to stop Rastapopoulos. Haddock evades the torpedoes but loses control of the sub and the children's tank is returned to the base by remote control.

Rastapopoulos tries out Calculus' machine by cloning a cigar box, but the imitation starts growing almost trapping him and his henchman in the room. They barely manage to escape. Since the machine was faulty Rastapopoulos locks Tintin and the children in a chamber, intent on revenge. He then learns that a police launch is patrolling the lake. He therefore decides to evacuate the base and orders his men to take all the art he has in the underwater city to his hideaways. He then floods the chamber with water. As soon as the water has reached a device high on the wall the base will auto-destruct.

Haddock manages to regain control of the disabled submarine and makes his way to the surface. Thompson and Thomson are in a boat looking for him when it is knocked over by the sub sending them into the water. They and Haddock are then picked up by the police launch.

Back in the underwater town Tintin and the children manage to get free and escape through an airlock in life jackets, just before the base explodes. They reach the surface and rejoin their friends and the police. The police have captured all of Rastapopoulos' men, but he himself has already crossed the border in his submarine. Since they are not Syldavian officials and therefore not bound by international conventions, Tintin and Haddock insist in going after Rastapopoulos in a motor boat.

Rastapopoulos is near the shore. In order to pass some rocks he tries to navigate through a tunnel under them, but forgets to lower the sub's periscope which hits a low rock which results in flooding. The villains make for the surface as fast as possible.

Rastapopoulos and his henchman who operated the sub argue and fall out just as Tintin and Haddock arrive. After a fist fight the heroes beat the villains and return to Syldavia. A Bordurian border guard finds the broken sub and decides to sell it to his cousin, who is a metal dealer.

Tintin, Snowy and Haddock return and are welcomed by a huge party of villagers who want to celebrate the end of the terror imposed by the gang. Bianca Castafiore also turns up and tries to dance with Haddock. The Captain manages to escape the party and tries to have a quiet moment to drink some whiskey, but soon his peace gets disturbed again by Thompson and Thomson playing golf. They accidentally break his bottle but they all laugh over it.

Notes

*Calculus' shark-like mini-submarine from "Red Rackham's Treasure" plays an important part in the film, though this time it is piloted by Haddock.

*Tintin befriends two local children who are held captive in the submerged base and escape in an underwater tank. This is similar to an escape made by Hergé's Jo, Zette and Jocko in "The ‘Manitoba’ No Reply".

*Calculus only occasionally has hearing problems in the film, whereas he has trouble hearing all the time in the books.

*During the Thompsons's explanation of the recent art thefts, one of the crooks is seen stealing the Mona Lisa and replacing it with a crude looking copy. This makes reference to the infamous incident from 1911 to 1913 in which the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre Museum, when the crooks intended to sell it as an antique and make copies of it.

External links

*imdb title|id=0069383|title=Tintin and the Lake of Sharks


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