The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn review by Melissa Orcine - Cinema Paradiso
Based on the beloved comic books by Belgian artist Herge, ‘The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn’ is an adventurous romp in 3-D motion capture animation. It’s an unusual fusion of traditional storytelling with digital presentation, and if Tintin fan boys would have it, this is just blasphemy at best. However, who says you can’t try? With that in mind, director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson pushed through with the project.
‘The Adventures of Tintin’ film lifts from three comic book titles: The Crab with the Golden Claws (1941), The Secret of the Unicorn (1943), and Red Rackham’s Treasure (1944), but with this 3-D CGI update, Tintin, his loyal pet dog/sidekick Snowy, and the rest of the characters look nothing like their counterparts in the comics. A bold and risky move for Spielberg and company, but with the re-imagining of the popular characters, come inspired casting with its voice actors. Jamie Bell is Tintin, Andy Serkis is the surly Captain Haddock, real-life bromantic actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are the bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson, respectively; and Daniel Craig is evil Sakharine. Such a stellar group of actors to bring the Tintin characters alive, yet somehow the film doesn’t exactly result in warm feelings.
Motion capture animated features have the curse of dead eyes amongst its characters. With ‘The Adventures of Tintin’, there’s a hint of a sparkle but still, no fireworks here. The action-packed sequences are adventure movie fare; this is where you can definitely see Steven Spielberg’s hand expertly at work. Frenetic, fast-paced, and amazingly detailed, Tintin’s run-ins with crooks and running to and from adventure make for intense thrills. Yet it could get a little Michael Bay senseless; the story at times put aside.
‘The Adventures of Tintin’ is a brave and interesting attempt at putting a new spin at an old classic. You must admit that it’s quite disconcerting to see Tintin and company in their CGI forms. Sometimes, it might be better if Tintin was filmed as a live action feature.