Film Review: The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn

Film Review: The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn

The original book series, ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ by Hergé was one of my favorite books growing up. Borrowed constantly from the library and read cover to cover, I always wanted to see a big screen adaptation of Tintin. But alas, Tintin’s heyday was far behind us, and even still, the series, at least in my time was never very popular. Mentioning it only brought the response, “You mean that show with the dog? Rintintin?”

When it was announced that Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg were going to be bringing the stories to life in a feature, it was a no brainer. One of my other favorite characters growing up was Indiana Jones, whose adventures, despite being inspired by the old Republic serials, had to be also inspired by Tintin’s adventures.

‘The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn’ is the first in a series of films being produced by Spielberg and Jackson. It stars Jamie Bell as Tintin, and Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock. The script really merges a few elements from the various books into one complete story.

Tintin, a well known reporter, comes across a model ship at an outdoor flea market. Purchasing it from the vendor, he instantly is offered money by a mysterious American, who warns him of the trouble behind the ship, as well as by a man we come to know as Sakharine (Daniel Craig).

When he takes the ship home, an accident causes the ship to fall, releasing from the ship a small scroll, that holds a strange paragraph. Tintin’s journalistic instincts take hold, as he investigates the interest in his model ship.

The investigation eventually leads him to Captain Haddock, a mostly drunken Sea Captain whose family background ties into the secret of the Unicorn, and the two combine their efforts and become fast friends on their adventure.

The film captures the spirit of the books completely. Even to the point where I completely forgot where the lines of the different books they combined were. Also great are the characters of Thompson and Thompson (played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost), hopefully the next film features these characters more prominently.

I’m not the biggest fan of motion capture, or 3D, but I thought the animation looked great. Not so realistic looking that it begged the question, “why do it this way,” and not so fake that it looked like a Veggietales film. One of my favorite parts of the film was a street artist in the opening scene sketching Tintin. The resulting portrait is literally a Tintin as drawn by Hergé.

While many who aren’t familiar with Tintin might not enjoy the film, it is easily accessible to all ages. It’s a fun, unique family film, that for once, does the source material great justice.

Spielberg & Jackson Talk “Tintin”

In a video taped for some sort of comic convention in Europe, we have the first look at Steven Spielbeg and Peter Jackson talking about the upcoming “Tintin” project.  Both Spielberg and Jackson appear in the video, wearing bowler hats a la the Thompson Twins, and talk a little about the upcoming movie.  You want to check it out, click here.

Word on the project is quiet at the moment, but from what I understand, Spielberg has either wrapped or is close to wrapping his production of the first film.  Production now heads to New Zealand where WETA will take over and begin the animation process.  (Spielberg will check in on-line and not make the flight.)

“The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn,” is scheduled for release in 2011.

DVD Review: Jumper

DVD Review: Jumper

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Science fiction films always have to stand across a difficult chasm: on one side there is a believable story with believable characters and on the other is conjecture, a world where anything can happen.  The makers of sci-fi films have to both set up this world and it’s limits, yet at the same time make it something of interest to viewers.  Sadly, Doug Liman’s “Jumper” doesn’t do either particularly well. [Read more…]

Tintin Has Been Cast

Tintin Has Been Cast

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There is more exciting news about the upcoming Tintin movie, based, of course, on the popular Belgian comic book character.  The movie started shooting on Monday, and there has been some announcements made about casting. [Read more…]