The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Studio: Amberlin Entertainment, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, Nickelodeon Movies, WingNut Films
Publisher: Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures
Release Date: December 26, 2011
Tintin is a massively famous and internationally popular franchise, spanning generations, which started in 1929 with hugely loved characters and amazing settings and journeys. Tintin speaks to so many people through their love of adventure, mystery, thrills and some humour along the way. Will the movie be as much of a joy to watch as the comics were to read?
The story of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn follows the storyline of the comic of the same name, with Tintin coming across a model ship that starts off a series of events that lead him on a massive adventure (as can be expected from Tintin).
There are a few altered parts to the plot, clearly, with Tintin and Captain Haddock meeting each other for the first time as well as a lot more plot to flesh the story out. Given that some of the people seeing the movie might not be too familiar with the comics this is a great way to introduce people to the characters. The characters are totally loveable (excluding the villain, but even the evil henchmen are kinda funny). Plus, I absolutely adore me some Snowy, he’s the most adorable sidekick animal in anything ever.
For those who have read the comic, or decide to read it again to jog their memory previous to going to watch the movie, there will be some moments which are a reference to the comic which will make you snicker, but at large it is a different story. The bone of the story is the same, but it quickly departs from it and allows those familiar with the comic to also go on a journey with the story instead of expecting what is to come. I actually like some of the changes they’ve made to the story and the role the characters play, I think there is a lot more of a cyclical nature and a lot more tied together than it is in the comic (which is more suited to modern film audiences).
The movie is only 107 minutes long, but it feels a lot longer given that there is just so much story jam-packed in to each scene. It sets an absolutely cracking pace, and even when it lets you catch your breath it’s off once again.
All this being said, this section is for parents or the younger crowd that might be interested in seeing Tintin. The movie keeps quite faithful to the comics in the way that the themes are a bit adult. The Captain has a bit of a drinking problem (just like Snowy is a bit of an awesome dog), and if you’ve got a young ‘un with you there are going to be moments in scenes where you’ll kind of wish they weren’t there. Just because this film is based off comics and is animated, don’t be tricked, this is not a movie for children.
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is in 3D, and usually I don’t really love the whole 3D thing, but it actually works amazingly for the movie. I also had some reservations about the way that it was animated, due to the crazy photorealistic way that the animated people are depicted. In the trailers I was still iffy about how they would look, but I was proven completely wrong. Not only does the animation not look weird, but it actually works incredible well and works much better than if it had been live action, especially considering the way Hergé’s characters are drawn.
The transition between each scene is incredibly inventive and hugely impressive visually. It was like they actually challenged themselves to make each scene transition as well done and amazingly visual as possible.
The settings are amazingly put together, the detail and beauty that goes in to the countries is mind-blowing. You will seriously be blown away by some of the visuals, especially in one particular scene when there is the most epic old school ship battle. It isn’t any of that pansy shoot-cannon-balls-from-afar business, no it gets messy and insane and totally awesome.
The voice acting is great. Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot) and Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) are absolutely great as the leads, and they have some great chemistry. Bell’s portrayal as Tintin manages to make some Tintin’s little affectations come a lot more naturally than some may have been able to pull off.
Daniel Craig’s performance as the villain Sakharine is great, no one would ever think he was also Bond, I actually didn’t hear his own voice come through at all, so that is a great credit to him. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Thompson and Thomson is an inspired choice, and does it ever pay off. I don’t think I could have picked a better comedic duet for the roles of the bumbling police officers.
As someone who personally adored Tintin and always chased after dog-eared library copies until I had read them all, I walked into this movie having high expectations. There was just so much to recreate, not just characters, but the feelings behind characters, the nostalgia and love that these characters have gained over the years. So does it transfer over?
Well, yes, I think it does. And (I may have been the only one) when there was that open ending hinting towards sequels I didn’t groan like I usually do. I say, bring it on! Because if the sequel is half as fun, fast-paced, adventurous and awesome then I will be eagerly awaiting it.