Newest Review: ... resemble the voice actor portraying them, it helps remove the creepy factor that the soulless CGI Tom Hanks gave people in The Polar... more
TinTin was FunFun
Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn (DVD)
Member Name: SpiderJamb
Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn (DVD)
Date: 26/06/12, updated on 26/06/12 (48 review reads)
Advantages: Superb animation and motion capture, Great voice acting
Disadvantages: Awkward mix of the realistic and the cartoony set pieces
**FILM ONLY REVIEW**
As a child, I was a fan of the Tintin series of graphic novels, although I did prefer the Adventures of Asterix and his plucky village of Gauls. It was the Tintin animated series that used to run on Channel 4 in the mornings that really caught my imagination with that thrilling opening theme song. As such I had a passing recollection of the stories adapted for this 3D CGI version of Tintin. The books adapted for this film were: 'The Crab with the Golden Claws', 'The Secret of the Unicorn' and 'Red Rackham's Treasure'.
My first impression of this new adaptation was how life-like the animations were. There were moments when I actually felt as if I was watching real actors on the screen, which is a feeling I've never quite experienced before when it comes to CGI animation. The quality of the animation has improved greatly from the human motion capture of 'The Polar Express'. Because none of the characters resemble the voice actor portraying them, it helps remove the creepy factor that the soulless CGI Tom Hanks gave people in The Polar Express animation.
There's a cute little nod to the previous incarnations of Tintin, with our hero receiving a portrait by a street artist, whose final result looks rather familiar to fans of the book and television series. The adventure follows the story of Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell), a reporter with a nose for trouble and his pet dog, Snowy, as they discover a mysterious model of a boat known as The Unicorn, which holds many secrets.
The initial half hour seems to be a bit bland and oddly paced, with some less than thrilling moments but the film kicks into a whole new gear with the introduction of Captain Haddock (voiced by Andy Serkis) and he immediately steals the film from under Tintin's quiffed forehead. Haddock injects the film with a livelier pulse and a more adult sense of humour that carries it through the next hour or so, although the film does falter at the end with a rather anti-climatic finale which seems rushed and awkwardly paced compared to the slower aspects of the film.
With Spielburg's involvement, comparisons are naturally made to the Indiana Jones trilogy, in as much as they both feature hidden treasure with a european flavour, although there are no Nazi's in this film. Unfortunately Tintin doesn't quite hold the same level of momentum as the Indiana Jones movies (even Temple of Doom!) and there are moments where the film struggles with it's identity - does it want to be a realistic treasure hunt or a slightly cartoony world where physics do not apply? My main gripe with the film is a moment when the plane Tintin and Captain Haddock are inside is about to run out of gas and plummet into the desert, but Haddock saves the day by utilising his alcoholic nature and breathing 'fumes' into the engine which manage to keep them going a bit further to have a relatively safe landing. Immediately, the universe that Spielburg and Jackson had built up until that point fell apart with that 'gag'.
However, the cartoony action does pay off in a later sequence where Tintin, Haddock, Snowy and their enemy are chasing after the three pieces of paper that will reveal the location of the treasure and the chase sequence expands into a breath-taking downhill race to reach the bottom, which looked amazing in 3D and conveyed a feeling of movement that threatened to pop my eyes from their sockets.
Overall, I enjoyed the film and although there was moments where I felt they expected me to suspend belief too much, it was a fun reimagining of the Tintin character for new audiences (most of North America were unfamiliar with Herge's books and the Television series) and a brilliant showcase for the advances in CGI animation and motion capture. With the characters established, perhaps a sequel would be better paced, with a more thrilling mystery at its center and less outlandish plot devices.
[This Review may also appear on Amazon & Ciao]
Summary: A great adaptation of the classic books which has potential to grow into a classic franchise