The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn

The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn

****

Reviewed by: Paul Logan

It has been a few years since Spielberg has made a movie. Some might think that he was hiding after making the atrocious fourth instalment of Indiana Jones. But, in fact, the director has been crafting his first foray in the world of 3-D motion capture.

A young reporter, Tintin buys a model ship called the Unicorn and is approached by a sinister gentleman called Sakharine who also wants the ship. Tintin learns that the Unicorn was a 17th-century warship captained by Sir Francis Haddock, and that Sakharine may be trying to locate Sir Francis’s treasure. Tintin, his faithful dog Snowy and the alcoholic Captain Haddock (a descendant of Sir Francis), must try and solve the mystery before Sakharine can reach the treasure first.

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What a vast improvement on Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. This is everything that film should have been - a rollicking, humorous rollercoaster ride with stunning set pieces. Not only that but it also feels like an Indy movie, with several references to the archaeologist's previous outings.

Spielberg also givves nods to his other movies from a Jaws gag to the Catch Me If You Can style credit sequence. This is a rejuvenated director who is showing that he is still as creative as he was in the Eighties.

The plot is based on various elements from Belgian artist Hergé's famous Tintin graphic novels, The Secret Of The Unicorn, The Crab With The Golden Claws and a Red Rackham's Treasure. The screenplay by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish is humorous and inventive, but some fans of the comic strip maybe upset that they have taken a few liberties with some areas. At times it can be a little confusing to follow,especially during the action scenes.

Performance wise, Jamie Bell makes the usually dull central character pretty interesting. Andy Serkis yet again shows he is the king of motion capture performance art with his funny and wacky take on Captain Haddock. While Daniel Craig appears to be having lots of fun in his villainous role of Sakharine. The real star, however, has to be said is Snowy who has the best comic and action-orientated moments.

Motion capture has always been a fairly lifeless affair. Robert Zemeckis tried to breathe life into his characters, but they suffered from the infamous dead-eyed look. Thankfully Spielberg and Weta have resolved this problem with characters who show more emotion than Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf did throughout Indy 4. There are moments that are so convincing that it is easy to forget that the movie is an animated film.

Herge had always maintained that Steven Spielberg was the only director capable of making a successful adaptation of his work. It appears that he was right, as the end result is a charming, fun old-fashioned action adventure. Peter Jackson has a lot to live up to for the planned sequel.

Reviewed on: 02 Nov 2011
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A young globetrotting journalist partners with an old alcoholic sea Captain to unravel a mystery.
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Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, based on the books by Hergé

Starring: Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell, Cary Elwes, Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Nick Frost, Toby Jones

Year: 2011

Runtime: 106 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US

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