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The Adventures of Tintin: the Secret of the Unicorn

Nov 10, 2011
By Laurence Boyce

The Adventures of Tintin: the Secret of the Unicorn

 Director: Steven Spielberg

After seeing “Raiders of the Lost Ark” soon after its release, someone pointed out to Steven Spielberg how similar the adventures of Indiana Jones were to those of the Tintin, the boy reporter created by Belgian artist Herge. Spielberg had not heard of the intrepid globetrotter and sought out the books. He promptly fell in love with the character and vowed to bring him to the big screen. More than two decades later he has finally succeeded.

After buying a model ship, Tintin finds himself drawn into a web of intrigue when it turns out the boat hides the secret to buried treasure. Pursued by the mysterious Mr. Sakharin, Tintin teams up with Captain Haddock and travels the world attempting to unlock the secrets of the Unicorn and its former captain.

After a stupendous opening credits sequence – which distills the history of the character into a glorious couple of minutes – the film thrusts us into the world of Tintin. Filmed with motion capture (actors were filmed and then overlaid with computer animation) the look of the film is initially slightly unsettling. But it soon becomes normal and the mixture of the real and the cartoonish captures the spirit of Herge’s original perfectly. The performances are brilliant with Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis being a fine double act as the heroic lead, whilst Daniel Craig relishes the chance to be a bad guy.

And the action just never lets up: from a brilliantly staged aero plane chase to a heart-pounding confrontation in a desert city, Spielberg has re-discovered a zest for action that has not been there for a while.

Fans of the original may find a few of their memories spoiled (did anyone imagine Captain Haddock as Scottish?) but most should find this a great interpretation and a riotously entertaining film in its own right.

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