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Flight 714: why can't people accept it for what it is?

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Harrock n roll
#21 · Posted: 24 Feb 2005 16:30
Harry Thompson's book mentions that Hergé himself was very unsatisfied with the closing passage “partly because he felt he hadn't had the courage of convictions, and partly because he had overrun the plot and had to scramble to a conclusion once again.” There is also some mention in the Numa Sadoul about Hergé not being happy at leaving it “unresolved.” (I can't find mine unfortunately, maybe somebody could oblige?)

My personal favourite is his stuff about the Nazca lines

All this talk of Von Däniken reminded me that there was a comic-book version of his theories made in the late 70's. I have one of them which I just dug out; The Gods from Outer Space: Descent in the Andes published by Methuen (no less) in 1978 in the same format as Tintin. (It also lists the Tintin books on the inside back cover). It's actually pretty fun in a late-70s sci-fi kind of way - at least it makes good fiction!
#22 · Posted: 25 Feb 2005 17:23
Flight 714 has to be my least favourite out of the later books, and not only because of the aliens.

Not only does it sit badly with all that has gone before- there is something glaringly wrong about Tintin, in plus-fours, ascending into a spaceship- but there's a lack of subtlety in the writing, the villains are lampooned until they look like idiots (note: Allan is meant to be TERRIFYING. He scared me in the TV series, he scares me now), and the drawing is possibly the worst in the canon. It's scratchy, seems rushed, and is occasionally grotesque.

I can't bear to see Rastapopoulos order the Somnesians to shoot Snowy. I hate Carredias (yes, you're supposed to, but there's a difference between a villain and someone who is loathsome). The denouement is unconvincing, and the suggestion that Tintin swears at Kanrokitoff (who is deeply irritating) completely jars with the image built up in the rest of the albums.

So my beef isn't solely to the aliens; that factor just adds insult to injury.
#23 · Posted: 26 Feb 2005 03:00
Herge often used Tintin to comment on life surrounding him (like the Sino-Japanese War in "The Blue Lotus" or oil politics in "The Land of Black Gold"). Perhaps there was a craze about all things extraterrestrials (many of you mentioned about movies involving aliens--I'm not a movies person, though)...wasn't there a UN Conference on UFOs around that time? Society must have crazy at that time, and "Flight 714" did a treatment on the collective obsession!!
#24 · Posted: 29 Mar 2005 03:13
Flight 714 was a return to action but like I said in another post.
Hergé was coming down fromt the pressures of writing the book and felt chained to Tintin, in the sense that I think it tired him out.
Look at all of the last books, from Tibet to Alph-Art.
I can read Alph-Art unfinished and see what he was trying to do. Some of the storylines in Alph-Art have hints of Crab & Golden Claws, Blue Lotus and other stories.

The point is that by the time 714 was around, Tintin in fact had got older like Hergé had, and slowed down a little.
Look at Picaros and Tintin's reluctance to go to S. America.
The fine line techniques of drawing are not as prevalant.
Not only that, you see less detail in the panels.
Other than the aircraft you do not see each frame drawn with as much detail as before.
It is the process of getting older and it has nothing to do with aliens. Hergé kind of got on the wagon when it came to cashing in on popular things of the time.
He had a hand on pop-culture, art, clothes and everything else.
#25 · Posted: 29 Mar 2005 14:30
Tintin in fact had got older like Hergé had, and slowed down a little

Well said! The Tintin books changed a lot after "Tintin in Tibet". Many Tintinologists have argued that "The Castafiore Emerald" was sort of a break from all the cases where Tintin has chased villains or goes "careering around the world" (Haddock, "The Calculus Affair"). In all of these scenarios, there aren't just unexpected situations; Tintin also unintentionally ends up in these adventures or (in the case of "Tintin and the Picaros") tried to stay out of them. Very different from the enthusiastic Tintin who tries to go around the world. I feel that this change was for the worse, though, because the original spirit of Tintin was very, very absent.
#26 · Posted: 30 Mar 2005 16:52
I feel that this change was for the worse, though, because the original spirit of Tintin was very, very absent.
Yeah well I think he was running out of ideas. He may have had a come back but his age he did not feel it neccesary to have to justify Tintin.
#27 · Posted: 18 Apr 2005 19:33
He had closed a door on that aspect of his life; much as he had closed a door on his marriage to Germaine.

I see him as having the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Syndrome: wanting to do something new, but Tintin's overwhelming popularity not allowing him to. It's not surprising, looking at it from this angle, that both 'Flight 714' and 'Picaros' are lack-lustre compared to the rest of the canon.
#28 · Posted: 15 May 2005 13:08
the drawing is possibly the worst in the canon. It's scratchy, seems rushed, and is occasionally grotesque.

Oh, I can't possibly agree with that :) I'd side more with Thompson's verdict in 'Hergé and his Creation':
"Artistically, the book is his greatest achievement"
As Thompson goes on to say, Flight 714 was a huge collaborative effort by the Hergé studio but (and I think this is the book's greatest triumph): 'Hergé deserves special credit for the cinematic ingenuity of his composition. With more use of the long shot and the close-up than before, almost every frame within the scene offers an intriguing variant on its predecessor'.

The projection of the narrative through these carefully crafted frames is nothing short of astounding.

I do take the point that there's a strangely malicious element to the humour, especially in the depiction of Rastapopoulos and Allan - he spares them nothing, gleefully making them as ridiculous as possible, suffering all manner of petty humiliations, such as Allan losing his dentures and Rastapopoulos's smack on the head. Yes, it's grotesque at times, even cruel, perhaps evidence of Herge's increasing weariness with his characters. Carreidas is loathsome - just repellent, totally devoid of any redeeming feature. The point, I think, Herge was trying to make was that there's really no difference between Carreidas and Rastapopoulos, both being cast from the same mould, both immoral in their own ways.

As for the aliens, as other posters have said, it really is just a sign of the cultural times in which the book was written. Erich von Däniken has already been mentioned, although it does seem clear that, as in other books, Hergé had to scramble to fit the story into the format.

I think it's a small price to pay for such a wonderful piece of cartoon art and wealth of dark humour.

UK Correspondent
#29 · Posted: 15 May 2005 13:28
Welcome to the forum, Rich !

I have to agree with a lot there, especially about the cinematic cutting of the album. The landing of the jet on the island, for example, is phenomenal - for speed, excitement and tension, I don't think much comes close to it anywhere else in the series. I also find the volcanic eruption to be incredibly exciting, and I love the sequences set in the underground caverns - Haddock's recovery from almost falling into the lava is brilliant.

I've already said in another topic that I'm not too fond of the alien notion, but for all Hergé had done overall, I think we can spare him. :o)
#30 · Posted: 15 May 2005 15:27
It's my second favourite Tintin after The Calculus Affair.
Stars above! Great snakes! Blistering barnacles! Me too!

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