It's the nineteen thirties: an age of empire, an age of heroism
and an age of dodgy cultural stereotypes. Blake and Mortimer
bestride the world with their oldie worldie imperialism. An
age of innocence, where the bad guys are easy to spot. Well,
they are usually jonnie foreigner, so that alone makes them
untrustworthy. I think I feel sullied already...
anyone who has read any reviews of mine should have worked
out that I'm the good cop. My personal impression is that
anyone who has got as far a producing a body of work should
be encouraged (anyone else feel a "however" coming
on?) However, Blake and Mortimer is pants of the worst
kind and I've got four whole discs, twenty six episodes, to
plough through. And you, dear reader, will suffer along with
to start? The animation is appallingly block coloured. If
a coat is grey,
it's grey all over. This is a land without shadows, hue or
subtlety. Poor Mortimer looks like someone has painted his
ginger hair and beard on. A few characters fair better, but
they still look like someone has crazy foamed their heads.
The stories are excruciatingly slow and dull, and the word
"engaging" never entered my head. I was even happy
to defend the cringing jingoism and cultural stereotypes,
but without any other redeeming qualities it just adds to
the awfulness. That said, and I'm dragging the depths here
to think of something positive, you do get a lot of episodes
in this box set, but no extras.
The animation is based on the series of books by Edgar P.
Jacobs and appeared in the original Belgium Tintin
comic in 1946. Maybe that's the problem. The show is directed
by Stephane Bernasconi, so we're looking at someone else's
idea of what it is to be British. It's not even as if this
was a seventies animation (I feel a rant coming on); this
was made in 1997 for goodness sake, on what? A shoe string!
Ok, I'll agree that there is an audience for this sort of
thing. Blake and Mortimer is not only a comic book
but has also spawned other merchandise, including stamps and
postcards. Not sure what this says about the target audience,
but I'm sure you can guess what went through my mind. I can
see the Dan Dare sort of thing going on but it's more
lobotomised than Dan ever was.
first disc opens with the Mystery of the Great Pyramid;
it's the usual guys in fez's and stupid policemen, though
on a strange note the information about Tutankhamen and his
progenitors is oddly very accurate. The Yellow Mark
sees the crown jewels being stolen. Swordfish Versus Delta
Red moves into a more sci-fi Dan Dare arena, with
the flight of a new needle like plane. The Atlantis Enigma
opens with a couple of badly drawn paper plates pretending
to be flying saucers being shot down, but were did they come
from, and who really cares, is beyond me.
to disc two, and the will to live is slipping away. I won't
bother you with the turgid details of the three episodes on
offer, but for collector's the disc has Heavy Weather,
The Infernal Machine and The Ghost and the Necklace.
three, and I've rented a dog to chew my leg off just to keep
me awake; you really can find anything in the yellow pages.
This contains another three episodes: Professor Sato's
Three Formulae, The Francis Blake Affair and The
Viking's Bequest, and the words "dogs" and "b*ll*cks"
still aren't springing to mind.
on to the last disc... and at this point I've found an Albanian
dwarf to pull my teeth out (she normally does other more erotic
work but after I showed her one of the episodes she really
understood my need). So we have The Secret of Easter Island,
The Alchemists Will and The Druid. If there
had been another disc I would have had to hire the girl out
to pin my eyes open with needles.
what is there to say? There is obviously an audience out there
for this stuff, but I'm not sure I'd want to meet these people
in a pub.