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

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

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

Spielberg's latest effort sees a return to form after the disappointing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with a beautiful, exciting action packed family adventure....

Tintin is Spielberg’s latest action packed romp fit for all the family. The film has been in development for a good many years using motion capture technology made famous by Robert Zemericks, but Tintin is a long way off the glassy-eyed uncanny valley efforts seen previously. Many people have perhaps wondered why Spielberg and Jackson chose to use motion capture ahead of live action and the reason is simple, not only are they able to present stylised characters true to Hergé's original designs but also feature fun over the top action which would simply come across as cheesy in a live action affair. The film is quite simply stunning to look at and the 3D never felt tacky and was there to supplement the superb CGI. There’s a playful humour littered throughout the film, which treads the line between serious and fun perfectly without feeling too forced or ridiculous.

Combining the stories of The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham's Treasure, the film depicts Tintin's (Jamie Bell) first encounter with Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) as they race against the dastardly Sakharine (Daniel Craig) to discover the truth behind Sir Francis Haddoque and the legend of The Unicorn.

The film quickly kicks into high gear and rarely lets up, it truly is an adventure film from the get go, with not a dull moment in sight. The only problem I had with this was that I felt it perhaps caused some characterisation to suffer a bit, with Tintin’s motivations perhaps lacking at times. Despite this the protagonists have a charm and likeability which has you rooting for them the whole way through, and I am glad that they avoided the origin root so many films go for with Tintin’s backstory being told quickly and succinctly through framed newspaper articles.

As for the voice cast, Jamie Bell puts in a great performance as Tintin, whilst Nick Frost and Simon peg bring their comedic A-game to bumbling detectives Thompson and Thomson. However it is Andy Serkis’ turn as the drunkard Sea Captain Haddock who really steals the show with a truly inspired performance.

The real star of the film is Snowy, Tintin’s canine companion, who not only bails our heroes out of trouble (and near death) on several occasions but also puts Batman’s detective skills to shame more than once. The film doesn’t end on a quiff hanger as such (I am so terribly sorry but I couldn’t resist one hair related pun) but sets the scene for Jackson’s sequel and definitely leaves you wanting more.

It might not be Spielberg’s greatest piece of cinematic work (I’m not even going to begin to think about what is) but once again he has brought something new to the cinematic table and shown why he is arguably the greatest director of the last 30 years. Will the film win any Oscars? Probably not (well maybe for visual effects) but it is a great fun action film for all the family with more than a twang of classic Indiana Jones in there, it really is a true comic book movie, and dare I say it possibly my CBM of the year (sorry Matthew Vaughn).

4.5 (out of 5)

The Adventures of Tintin is out October 26 in the U.K, and December 21 in the United States

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