Granted there’s a difference of opinion regarding whether or not motion-capture should be considered animation and granted that I myself haven’t made up my mind as to which side of the argument I’m on, but for the sake of this project, we’re gonna say that motion-capture DOES count as animation. Why? Because that lets me talk about Sakharine from the 2011 film, The Adventures of Tintin aka The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.
I’ve been an avid reader and lover of the Tintin series since I was very young and when I heard that Steven Spielberg was working on a film adaptation of the series, I was ecstatic. And when I heard that the main book that he intended to base the film on would be The Secret of the Unicorn (my 2nd favorite in the series), I was doubly ecstatic!
For those who don’t know, the Tintin books feature a young reporter named Tintin who, along with his dog, Snowy, and other characters, get themselves into adventures.
In The Secret of the Unicorn, Tintin buys an antique model ship for his friend, Captain Haddock, at an outdoor market. Not long after, a man, whom we later find out is Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine, approaches Tintin and offers to buy the model ship from him for any amount that he desires.
Sakharine is a model ship collector and wants this particular ship for his collection. Much to his disappointment though, Tintin refuses to sell the model ship to Sakharine.
In the film, The Adventures of Tintin, Sakharine, played by Daniel Craig, is re-imagined as a villain and his interest in the ship isn’t limited to him just wanting the ship for his collection. He’s actually after a treasure. Apparently, hidden inside the model ship is a container containing a piece of paper that gives clues to a sunken treasure.
Someone might think that this makes Sakharine a very vanilla villain (say that three times fast), since it appears that he only wants to be rich. But Sakharine’s desire for finding the treasure is fueled by more than just pecuniary pleasures. Rather, it’s a personal vendetta.
You see, the treasure was sunk many years ago after an altercation between a Sir Francis Haddock and a pirate, Red Rackham, resulting in Red Rackham’s death. Coincidentally, Captain Haddock is the descendant of Sir Francis and Sakharine is the descendant of Red Rackham!
So it’s finally clear as to Sakharine’s intentions: he wants to seek revenge on Captain Haddock for his ancestor and he’s willing to do whatever he can to do it (i.e. he doesn’t just stop at trying to obtain the model ship meant for Haddock). Sakharine’s driven so much by his pride of his ancestry that he kidnaps, steals, poses under false identities, and even attempts to kill Haddock once and for all!
In a film that is quite underrated, Sakharine stands out as a villain that is easy to relate to. He’s someone just trying to live up to his family name…even if it means committing crimes to do so. His inclusion and portrayal in the film is one of the rare cases where a movie makes an improvement over its original book. If you haven’t seen the film, watch it now or Sakharine may come to steal your model ship!