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FILM: The Adventures Of Tintin - Secret Of The Unicorn (PG)

Published date: 28 October 2011 |
Published by: David Waddington
Read more articles by David Waddington


 

HERGÉ'S beloved quiffed journalist is given an animated make-over this week in The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn.

When Tintin (Jamie Bell) purchases a scale model of a ship called the Unicorn from a market, he makes an enemy of the mysterious Ivanovich Sakharine (Daniel Craig), who is desperate for the model himself.

The young journalist's inquisitive nature son lands him in the middle of a race against time to discover the secret behind the Unicorn.

Helped by the booze-swigging Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) and his helpful dog Snowy, can they beat Sakharine to the secret, or will the sinister villain solve the mystery first?

Hollywood team-up

A team-up between two of Hollwood's titans - director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson - surely sounds like a recipe for success.

Thankfully, the duo fail to disappoint in Spielberg's first foray into animated adventures.

Visually, Tintin is undeniably impressive. Motion capture CG offerings are certainly nothing new, but the digital wizards at Weta have pushed the technological boundaries once more.
Gone are the doll-like lifeless eyes and occasionally creepy facial expressions of films past, to be replaced by eerily life-like incarnations of the famous characters.
From microscopic hairs on cheeks to photorealistic furowed-brows; each pixel radiates with authenticity (which is accentuated in 3D).

Even Spielberg's regular cinematographer Janusz Kaminski's role as lighting consultant for Weta benefits the piece, giving the entire film a tangible and atmospheric quality lacking in other computer generated movies (while also giving it an unquestionnable Spielberg vibe).

Which, raises the question: why bother with the CG at all? Why not live action?

Caricatured features and tonal aesthetics aside, it is the impossible action sequences which lend themselves perfectly to the format.
Whether it's a dramatic airplane heist or a hectic motorbike chase, imaginations have run riot.
And although modern special effects could certainly handle it, the fluidity of the sequences would jar when attempting to meld the tangible with the fantastical.

Sterling turns

Behind all the rich animation, the motion-captured performances by the mostly British cast bring the characters to life.
Bell's very British titular hero stays on the right side of irritating, while Daniel Craig's devilish turn is a pleasure to watch.

But it is mo-cap king Andy Serkis who steals the show with his comedic and moving turn as Captain Haddock, who is only outshined by the brains of the film: Tintin's furry companion Snowy.

A script by a trio of British talents (Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish) ticks the action/adventure boxes, but Tintin purists may be let-down by the lack of Hergé's political bite.

Nevertheless, for an exciting action blockbuster suitable for all ages to enjoy, it certainly hits the mark.

7/10 - All-out adventure.

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Comments are closed for this story.

 

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