Capt. Haddock is a Great Role Model For Our Children

Recently the Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson adaptation of the popular children’s stories – ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ – arrived on our screens. The movie itself is awesome, as discussed in our review. A few people on this wide internet of ours seem to have taken exception to part of the movie – discussions and arguments are cropping up on movie forums and some parenting blogs. The issue is this: Captain Haddock is a drunk.

He sure is!

And it’s a movie that CHILDREN might watch!

“However I do think that the concentration of Haddock’s alcoholism and humourous treatment of it is a bad thing and encourages underage kids to drink and have underage sex and kill animals and this is why this movie should be at least censored in part or at most, banned.”

As you can see some people are claiming that the movie should be banned, because a character drinks too much whiskey. Not wanting to confrontation, but this is a moronic stand to take. Some people have jumped onto the opposition and defended the depiction of the character because that’s how he was written in the comics. I don’t think this factors into the discussion as to whether or not the character being a drunk in a kids movie is suitable. No, I’m taking the position that this character is not unsuitable for a kids movie because he sets a good example.

No, I’m not claiming that he teaches little kiddies the virtues of grandfathers cough syrup, so read the rest of the piece before spamming the comments. Capt. Haddock has a problem with alcohol that casts him in a negative light every time he goes near the stuff. He doesn’t drink because it’s fun, he drinks because his life is crap and he’s miserable. Listening to him pitifully explain why he could never live up the families name does not paint a happy picture for future drunkards.

During the movie we see the effects that drinking has on Haddock in a number of different scenes. He frequently gets waylaid and distracted by the pursuit of a top-up, on more than one occasion putting his friends in danger to fulfill his selfish desires. This gets taken to the extreme at some points with him lighting a fire in a lifeboat under the mistaken belief that Tintin would appreciate the warmth. The man simply can’t help himself. Early on there’s the occasional chuckle to be had at this goofy behaviour, but it isn’t long before Tintin starts responding harshly towards him.

"You suck, Haddock".

It’s clear to the viewer that the man has a problem, and it isn’t a fun one. Even an amusing sequence in which Haddock and Snowy drinks zero gravity bubbles of whiskey leads to him putting both him and Tintin in peril. When he’s deprived of whiskey he starts demonstrating withdrawal, having to rely heavier on others and suffering delusions. It also begins to effect how others see him. In an instance where he’s been attacked in spits of trying to resist a drink, Tintin refuses to believe him, insistent that he was once again getting drunk instead of doing the right thing and accusing him of lying.

Painting a character as hopeless, desperate, pathetic, sick and a disgrace to others as a direct result of drinking might not be the worst message to give young cinema goers. Even at the end of the movies, when he’s remained sober for some time, he still gives into temptation when offered celebratory champagne and starts showing problem drinking symptoms again, demonstrating that even when not drinking he still has a problem.

If you’re worried that taking your child to see this movie will send them running to the liqueur cabinet for some Black Douglas, remember two things. Firstly, Little Billy isn’t going to want to drink after seeing this and secondly, get some better whiskey.

"Get me one while you're there, Billy."

If a character in a family movie, one that is going to be enjoyed by children, is going to be a drunk I’m happier for them to show excessive drinking as having negative consequences. The suggestion that this aspect of the character should’ve been dropped is ridiculous – trying to hide such issues from children will only breed ignorance. Let’s enjoy this movie for what it is – a fun, colourful adventure – and make sure we instill the right values in our children by being great role models ourselves.

I'll drink to that!