Movie Review: Adventures of Tintin

Read anothr point of view at the Economist

Blistering Barnacles! That iconic quiff has finally arrived on the big screen in The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn. Tintin‘s creator Hergé stated before his death that ‘if anyone can bring Tintin successfully to the screen’, it would be Spielberg, and he has done exactly that, along with producer Peter Jackson. The film follows Tintin (Jamie Bell), his faithful canine companion Snowy and Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) as they set off on a hunt for The Unicorn, a sunken ship commanded by Haddock’s ancestor. But the dastardly Sakharine (Daniel Craig) will stop at nothing to beat them to the treasure.

Herge’s world has been lovingly recreated, from the delightful animation of the opening credits, as Tintin’s silhouette sneaks from the typewriter page into re-enactments of his original adventures, to the intricate detail of the shelves in his office. Although a controversial choice, performance capture has allowed Spielberg and Jackson to take the 1930s settings into a wonderland of digital detail, a blank canvas where the most ambitious visions (see the sand dunes of the Sahara transforming into ferocious waves) can be created.

Jamie Bell brings to life the courageous spirit of the titular hero, whilst Andy Serkis, a mo-cap veteran, is hilarious as the often intoxicated Captain Haddock. More comedy comes from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Interpol’s worst agents; Thomson and Thompson respectively. And Snowy the dog is every bit as loveable as you’d expect.

The film is by no means perfect. There are a few too many chase sequences, and elements of the plot are perhaps overcomplicated for the young target audience, but Spielberg has lovingly brought to life Herge’s hero; bringing his adventures into the 21st Century without losing sight of the charm and spirit of adventure that has made Tintin an enduring character for every generation.

4 out of 5 stars.

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