The teaming of two of the most profitable filmmakers in the world to date was never going to be a shy affair. And yet with the current string of failed remakes and slammed sequels, this still had to be a project to make people sit up and what better subject material than a series of stories that strike right at the childhood chords of global audiences.
The teaming of two of
the most profitable filmmakers in the world to date was never going to be a shy
affair. And yet with the current string of failed remakes and slammed sequels,
this still had to be a project to make people sit up and what better subject
material than a series of stories that strike right at the childhood chords of
As if Spielberg, Jackson and TinTin weren’t a big enough
spectacle, the redefinition of computer animation could be interpreted as pure
showing off if it wasn’t so incredibly well done. Taken from Hergé’s classic
series of graphic novels, The Adventures of TinTin: The Secret of the Unicorn
follows our ginger journalist and loyal dog Snowy as they strive to solve a
cryptic mystery, hotly pursued by fuzzy-chinned baddie Sakharine (voiced by Craig) and his brawly bunch of thick
The narrative is foolproof stuff; clues and capers take
TinTin across the globe as he unravels the Unicorn’s secret, providing ample
opportunities for chases, fisticuffs and breathless near-misses. Stumbling
alongside our short hero as he traipses the Earth is the boozy Captain Haddock
(Serkis), whose forgotten ancestry
could prove a vital clue to solving the puzzle.
The initial material shown in the first released trailer did
little to stimulate a healthy fanatical sense of excitement. The technology
behind the performance capture in itself was predictably flawless but little
time was given to the characters that fans have grown up with, as well as a
promising script from British writers Steven
Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish.
Not that this matters especially as the film is guaranteed
big bucks come opening weekend and thankfully with good reason. TinTin, in a
very rounded sense of the word, is perfect. Described by one Tweeter as “The
best Indiana Jones film that isn’t Indiana Jones,” this is the sort of giddy
adventure film that appeals to every ounce of cinematic expectation for both
adults and children in equal measure. Oozing boyish adventure in every second,
this is a return to Spielberg at his peak, proving that classic material and a
bold story have a far better impact than questionable jerks into the future (A.I., Minority Report).
The performance capture is nothing short of incredible, just
shy of the gimmicky impression often left by 3D cinema and making full use of
the animation to achieve shots and movement impossible to achieve in reality.
Moffat, Wright and Cornish’s script effortlessly reflects the genre; if you
were to read it you could picture the chin scratching and fist shaking clearly
whilst it still maintains a little old-fashioned British humour, personified in
Pegg and Frost’s Thompson and Thomson.
The only damage that seems to be caused is to die hard
TinTin fans. While the film’s title sequence is a gorgeous homage to the series,
outrage has surfaced as the alleged subtleties of Hergé’s stories have been forced into the garish lights of the
Hollywood system, losing all complexity in the process.
For those entering the theatre without the influence of the
source material gripped tightly within them, this will be entertainment at its
blockbuster best. Andy Serkis again proves his worth as one of the best
character actors of the last decade, mirrored in every slur and swagger of the
well-intentioned Haddock, while Bell and Craig fill the boots of hero and
villain satisfyingly and Snowy frankly steals whole damn show.
With a less than subtle open ending, this no doubt will not
be last we see of this little Belgian reporter. For now however, The Secret of
the Unicorn will serve as a wonderful cinematic experience for (almost)
everyone that decides to invest their time in it.