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



Action (2011)
106mins US/NZ

Starring: Cary Elwes, Jamie Bell, Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Toby Jones
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer(s): Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Tintin buys a model ship in the market and is plunged into the midst of a centuries-old mystery involving the shady Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine and his goons. Ivan asks Tintin to name his price for the boat but the reporter refuses to sell, sensing that the wooden vessel is far more valuable than it first appears. Assisted by his trusty pooch Snowy, Tintin travels around the world in search of clues, meeting booze-sodden Captain Haddock, whose family history holds one of the keys to the unfolding mystery.

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LondonNet Film Review
The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn

Written and drawn by Belgian artist Georges Remi under the pen name Herge, Tintin first sprang to life on the page in 1929 in the gung-ho adventure, Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets...

Tintin (played by Jamie Bell), Haddock (played by Andy Serkis) and Snowy find themselves in the Sahara desert. Copyright © 2010 DW Studios L.L.C. All rights reserved.The plucky reporter with the distinctive ginger quiff has travelled the world and even to the Moon, uncovering dastardly deeds with intrepid pooch Snowy by his side. Now, thanks to Oscar-winning filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, the iconic character enters the 21st century using state-of-the-art motion capture, which translates actors' movements into the performances of incredibly detailed digital characters. The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn is the opening salvo of a proposed trilogy, amalgamating the plots of The Crab With The Golden Claws, The Secret Of The Unicorn and Red Rackham's Treasure. Spielberg directs the first film and it's a breathlessly entertaining romp, littered with eye-popping action set pieces that would simply be unthinkable - not to mention astronomically expensive - as live action. A dizzying motorcycle chase through the winding alleys of a Moroccan marketplace is accomplished in a single take and Captain Haddock's penchant for booze provides the hilarious spark for an explosive bi-plane flight.

A terrific animated opening reminiscent of Catch Me If You Can introduces us to reporter Tintin (Jamie Bell), who buys a model ship and is plunged into a centuries-old mystery involving Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig). Ivan asks Tintin to name his price for the boat but the reporter refuses to sell, sensing the wooden vessel is far more valuable than it first appears. Sure enough, a cryptic conundrum lies within, revealing that "only a true Haddock will discover the secret of The Unicorn." Blistering barnacles! Assisted by the trusty pooch Snowy, Tintin searches for more clues, meeting booze-sodden Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), whose family history holds the key to the mystery of a cursed shipwreck.

Haddock (played by Andy Serkis). Copyright © 2010 DW Studios L.L.C. All rights reserved. The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn is a hoot, and the script co-written by Peter Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish delivers some big laughs like when Captain Haddock reveals that one of his crew has no eyelids. "Aye, it was a card game to remember!" growls the salty sea dog. However, all of Spielberg's directorial brio and the gorgeous visuals cannot distract from the lack of characterisation. The film relies entirely on nostalgia, providing no back story about Tintin or any of his friends and foes, other than what is pertinent to the mystery of The Unicorn. Like most thrill rides, we're giddy during the film, caught up in the action and daring-do but once the film ends, there's that nagging feeling that something is amiss: heart and soul. Perhaps Tintin will unearth both in the second film, pencilled for release in 2013 with Jackson at the helm.

- Kim Hu


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