some unknown director does a film about some unknown French lad

DIR: Steven Spielberg • WRI: Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish • PRO: Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy, Jason D. McGatlin, Steven Spielberg • DOP: Janusz Kaminski • ED: Michael Kahn • DES: Andrew L. Jones • CAST: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig

A 3D animated action extravaganza, The Adventures of Tintin is a fast-paced family film with all the fun and feistiness of a young Indiana Jones. You can’t help but be enamored by the brave, button-nosed protagonist and his trusty madra on this pirate-based escapade. Spielberg’s latest endeavor, this flick has all the innocent appeal of ET. But in 3D. And on Speed.

Set in England in the early 20th century, The Adventures of Tintin is the first in a series of adventures featuring the well-known Belgian exports: Tintin, a plucky young reporter with a ginger quiff and his shrewd, fluffy madra, Snowy. One day while the pair visit a busy market, Tintin excitedly purchases a model of a 17th century navy vessel, The Unicorn. This mysterious antique receives quite a bit of interest from some dubious shoppers, however Tintin refuses to resell and instead takes the ship home.

After his flat is ransacked and an American agent is shot dead on his doorstep, Tintin questions the history of The Unicorn. However his investigation is cut short when he’s kidnapped and taken aboard a hijacked ship heading to Morocco. While attempting to escape his captors, Tintin befriends drunken Sea Captain Haddock – and together the pair go in search of the secret of The Unicorn.

Shot using state-of-the-art motion capture technology; the aesthetics are breathtaking and feature beautiful landscapes, photorealistic cityscapes and some of the fluffiest hair ever on Snowy and Tintin. The performances from the top-notch cast are thoroughly enjoyable; Captain Haddock is played by Andy Serkis who’s no stranger to CGI after his role as Gollum in LOTR, also bringing home the funny-bacon are Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson. Billy Elliot’s Jamie Bell stars as the main man himself and the devilishly handsome Daniel Craig explores his more devilish side as nasty villain, Red Rackham.

There are a few drawbacks to this juggernaut of a film: the cast is a sausage-fest and the majority of the humour is derived from the messy antics of a drunken Celt. Now I’m not a slapstick snob but something more cerebral that ‘Ach, look how locked I am wee laddee’ would have added to the film. Loosely based on three Tintin comics – The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure, the plot is solid but brings nothing new to the adventure-hero-seeking-treasure genre.

That’s all just nitpicking. This film is absolutely great and cinema-goers will definitely get a bang for their buck where the 3D elements are concerned. It’s a truly gratifying cinematic experience that Hergé himself would be proud of. Here’s hoping writers Steven Moffat (Dr. Who), Edgar Wright(Shaun of the dead) and Joe Cornish (Adam and Joe Show) have something whopper planned for the nicely-set-up sequel.


Gemma Creagh

Rated PG (see IFCO website for details)

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of The Unicorn is released on 26th October 2011

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of The Unicorn – Official Website


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