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Ellipse-Nelvana: Problems with Skut’s continuity?

#1 · Posted: 7 Sep 2004 05:49
I still haven't watched all the episodes (school's starting again tomorrow... may be a while), but I noticed in Red Sea Sharks (which was changed quite a bit from the book), upon shooting down Skut's plane, Tintin and Haddock already know who he is.

Tintin says something like, "Piotr Skut... what are you doing here?!" Of course, in the real book, this is where they meet him, and are never particularly surprised that he's shooting at them, since he's just some Estonian mercenary working for Bab El-Ehr (not Mull Pasha as they say in the cartoon!), not a friend of theirs.

Is there a point earlier in the Ellipse-Nelvana series where they've met Skut? Or did the creators just make an oversight? It certainly doesn't seem necessary to make the characters acquainted with one another and they didn't, for example, make Tintin and Haddock already know one another in Crab with the Golden Claws...
#2 · Posted: 7 Sep 2004 13:11
I think it was just an oversight by the producers. I was wondering the same thing.
#3 · Posted: 7 Sep 2004 20:30
I think its an oversight, they know who he is in Flight 714 as well so its not that they met in Flight 714 and they jumbled up the episode order. Maybe they were running short of time or something in the episode

#4 · Posted: 22 Jun 2005 15:31 · Edited by: Moderator
True, the episodes seemed rushed to me, not as well done as they could have been. Then again, they were made just before a lot of computer-generated imaging even came into place, so the animators had to do what they could.

Posted: Jun 22, 2005 07:32:53
Tintin says something like, "Piotr Skut... what are you doing here?!" Of course, in the real book, this is where they meet him, and are never particularly surprised that he's shooting at them, since he's just some Estonian mercenary working for Bab El-Ehr (not Mull Pasha as they say in the cartoon!), not a friend of theirs.

I wonder how on earth they'd get an Estonian mercenary anyway....I like that idea. It really makes you think.

[Edited by Moderator. Combined 2 consecutive posts.]
#5 · Posted: 26 Feb 2009 23:39
I've noticed something on watching the episodes which have the character Piotr Skut as a companion, 'The Red-Sea Sharks' and 'Flight 714.'

Now we all know from the comics how Skut meets Tintin; he tries to shoot them down, they return the favour and succeed, but they save him and they become allies. And of course, Skut bumps into them again a couple of comics later and by now they're all good friends.

But has anyone noticed, in the cartoon, that 'Flight 714' was made and aired first in Series 2 and 'The Red-Sea Sharks' followed immediately in Series 3. Predictably, that causes a few continuity problems, something I think the producers figured out for themselves because Tintin and Haddock act like they know Skut already.

What do the rest of you think about this? I personally find it quite annoying; Skut apologises for trying to shoot them down in the cartoon but in the comic he realises he owes them his life so swaps sides, which is the version I prefer.
#6 · Posted: 27 Feb 2009 11:24
I've not watched more than a few minutes of the animated cartoons and whenever I read a thread like this, I become more and more decided never to do so!

I think you're absolutely right, Revercub. In the comic, the whole point about Skut shooting up the boatload of civillians in the Red Sea Sharks (presumeably intending to kill them all) is that at that stage in his life he's the kind of man who will follow orders to do such a thing. We never find out exactly why he's working for such a dodgy airforce, but he's clearly a bit of a wretch - a character type Hergé was very good at. Maybe he's in exile from his native Estonia having fought against the Russians. Maybe his troubles are connected with the loss of his eye. We're never told.

But the point is that after Tintin and Haddock generously fish him out the water, and he goes through the raft survival with them, his better self emerges, so that he refuses to join the baddies when they flee the burning Ramona, even though it means he gets knocked out and left to burn to death on the ship (as the baddies think). In opting to stay and face death on a burning ship, he's risking the same fate he was trying to inflict on other people when he was a ruthless Mosquito pilot, and this time trying to save others from that fate. So in a nicely understated way, this moment is symbolic of Skut's redemption.

The rewrite you outline from the animated series - having him first meeting Tintin and co in Flight 714 as a respectable pilot, then in a later episode being the kind of pilot who'd be trying to kill people on orders, and merely apologising because he didn't know his intended victims were old friends - completely misses the point about Skut's character journey.
#7 · Posted: 27 Feb 2009 16:00
You're right, you've hit the nail on the head. Skut does undertake a character journey; it's clear to see, by Flight 714, that he's turned his life around; he's more upright, has a decent and peaceful job and clearly his feelings as a human have changed because he's obviously so fond of Tintin and Haddock by this point. I think the cartoon and comic DID do well on making him a part of the group, in different ways; he gives and follows orders and there's one great shot in the toon where he, Tintin and a hatted Haddock are standing side by side glaring at their captors. I don't know, that shot just says something to me about his place in the group.

But really, WHY would Skut go from being a respectable pilot to someone who'd shoot people down in the cartoon? For pity's sake, it's enough to make a viewer who isn't a reader wonder which side he's on, but Herge gets it right; he makes it clear that Skut is decent and good-hearted and holds a true value for life, something that Tintin and Haddock possibly teach him in the moment that they pull him from the water because the tables have been turned on him and he realises they could have just as easily have left him to drown. From then on, his loyalty is steadfast; he refuses to leave Tintin and Haddock even though he just as easily could because they've only just met and he was originally an enemy pilot but the fact that he doesn't just says something about him.
cigars of the beeper
#8 · Posted: 28 Feb 2009 13:29 · Edited by: Moderator
I have always just guessed that they ran the animated episode of Flight 714 before the one of Red Sea Sharks and that they decided that they had to have Tintin "remember" him in the animated episode. I personally could have done without any changes made to the books in the animated series.

Moderator Note: It's actually a pragmatic decision in such circumstances by the cartoon makers. Whatever they feel/ felt artistically, the truth is that children's cartoons cannot be dealt with in the same way as books, because the way in which they are broadcast is completely out of their hands.
Children's cartoons can end up being shown weekly, daily or even more than once a day, or stripped, four or five episodes back to back, or picked randomly to fill a gap in the schedule, or dropped on a whim for some reason by the TV station (pre-empted by a news event, for example).
To reduce the problems of viewers being presented with an incidental character from an episode that hadn't yet been screened or had been dropped, the Ellipse-Nelvana series was made to be viewed as much as possible in any order - a station could put the stories on in a loop, running constantly, and a viewer could start anywhere in the cycle, and watch it right through.
It's practical sleight of hand, and affords the broadcaster and viewer flexibility.
The Tintinologist Team
#9 · Posted: 4 Jan 2012 21:17
Tintin and Castafiore seem to know each other before meeting. Also in the seven crystal balls, Tintin introduces Haddock to Alcazar, despite Picaros shown earlier

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