The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (PG)

Film

Family films

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Mon Oct 17 2011

Many questioned director Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson’s decision to render Hergé’s classic series of comic-book Boy’s Own-style adventures in performance-capture animation. But it’s hard to imagine that either live action or traditional animation would have been capable of producing the thrilling blend of high drama, physical authenticity and visual invention found here. Ending a three-year hiatus following his disappointing ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’, ‘Tintin’ finds a re-energised Spielberg atoning for that misstep with a film which, in both its rip-roaring, globe-trotting narrative and its visceral dedication to pure white-knuckle thrills, is the true successor to his original ‘Indy’ trilogy.

We first meet our ageless hero sitting for an artist’s portrait in the market square of his unspecified home town (in the first in a long series of witty, self-reflective sight gags, the caricature looks just like a Hergé drawing). Tintin’s eye is caught by a junk stall and a model ship on display. This is the Unicorn – a sixteenth-century three-masted galleon which went down with all hands and a belly full of booty. The hunt for this treasure will send Tintin, his faithful dog Snowy and a mounting cadre of supporting players on a voyage across oceans and deserts, by ship, plane, jeep, motorbike and, perhaps most memorably, haulage crane.

Sticking to Hergé’s idea of Tintin as a relatively passive, colourless hero surrounded by outlandish archetypes, Spielberg and a crack team of British comedy writers – Joe Cornish, Edgar Wright, Steven Moffat – fill the screen with wonderfully bizarre and memorable characters, chiefly the inimitable Captain Haddock, a floundering, whisky-breathed soak gloriously realised by Andy Serkis. And while this means a few characters get overlooked – we never get a handle on Daniel Craig’s moustache-twirlingly villainous Sakharine, for instance – it does make for a notable absence of dull moments.

Visually, the film is astounding, as Spielberg takes full advantage of the freedom of his chosen medium. A mid-film flashback sequence, as Haddock recounts the sinking of the Unicorn, must rank as one of the director’s finest set-pieces, a dizzying mish-mash of impossible tracking shots, manic action and some of the most inventive scene transitions ever devised. This level of visual intensity can become bewildering – a later Moroccan chase sequence pushes things too far, resulting in sheer confusion – but for the most part, it’s exhilarating.

So, while it may lack the depth and humanity of masterpieces like ‘Jaws’ and ‘ET’, ‘Tintin’ is without doubt the finest example of Spielberg’s family-friendly fun side since ‘Jurassic Park’. It’s also the most creative, enjoyable and invigorating blockbuster of the year.
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Release details

Rated:

PG

UK release:

Wed Oct 26, 2011

Duration:

107 mins

Cast and crew

Cast:

Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis

Producer:

Peter Jackson

Director:

Steven Spielberg

Users say

0
<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:9
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:4
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|39
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Deeper Into Movies

For all the millions spent on this production, it's hard to picture how anyone could generate such a generically lackluster teen hero. Only HAL 9000 might warm up to Tintin, a carrot-topped boy journalist who stumbles into a mysterious plot thick with thieves, treasure and ships in bottles. Despite his G-rated retorts (“Great snakes!), this kid also bizarrely packs a handgun, setting off a slew of frenetic chases and shootouts befitting a low-caliber action movie. For a director who went so far as to digitally delete the guns in his E.T. re-release, Spielberg seems to have sailed off into a weird new dimension, and a shallow one at that. (Entire review now playing at deepintomovies.blogspot and on Facebook as Deeper Into Movies.)

Jeremy

Having read all the Tintin books as a child I was delighted by this film in trying to capture the feel and pace that Hergé put into his works. Many of the viewer who knock this film do so without the understanding of the books and the characters within them. This has been very apparent by many of the American reviews which seem to what everything spoon fed and totally focused on being polictically correct. Tintin comes from an age which has long pasted and many of the characters portrayed in Hergé work could be considered offensive by todays over sensitive reviewer. What really matters is at the end of the day are families going to enjoy this film and bring joy to many a young viewer. Congratulations on making a great film.

Jeremy

Having read all the Tintin books as a child I was delighted by this film in trying to capture the feel and pace that Hergé put into his works. Many of the viewer who knock this film do so without the understanding of the books and the characters within them. This has been very apparent by many of the American reviews which seem to what everything spoon fed and totally focused on being polictically correct. Tintin comes from an age which has long pasted and many of the characters portrayed in Hergé work could be considered offensive by todays over sensitive reviewer. What really matters is at the end of the day are families going to enjoy this film and bring joy to many a young viewer. Congratulations on making a great film.

Utopian indigent

Excellent technology, action and humour. The core of the story is an alcoholic's battle against failure. This is excellent entertainment and multi-layered enough for a second viewing.

Utopian indigent

Excellent technology, action and humour. The core of the story is an alcoholic's battle against failure. This is excellent entertainment and multi-layered enough for a second viewing.

violetta

Moving movies into a 3D format does not assure an enjoyable experience - and this film proves the point that technology is not enough. The visual content is fantastic but it rushes by at a rate where most of the cleverness is easily missed. It gave me a headache of disappointed anticipation.

anna

i love tintin and loved him when i was a kid and the new tintin i so cuit and he has a cuite quif.he is jaw droping.

anna

i love tintin and loved him when i was a kid and the new tintin i so cuit and he has a cuite quif.he is jaw droping.

Mahi

It has a light touch, a brisk pace and considerable charm, perfect family fare for casual viewers.Watched first day first show at wave cinemas it was superb experience

Observant

Wow ... the Hollywood movie industry's jumped in to this review and posted plenty of comments to try and bump up the ratings. I thought it was so-so. And bearing in mind I saw it in its first week, I was surprised by how empty the cinema was. Given this was a 3d film, Tintin came across as a one dimensional character. There was little to warm to in this movie. Not in the league of Pixar - and as for Snowy - what a waste of an opportunity. Not Spielberg's best - by a long chalk.

Pam

My son and I thought this was a superb film and hugely enjoyable. The amazing technology made it look fabulous and, although I never read, Tintin as a child (thought of them as boy's books, I think), may well do so now. Rather like an amalgam of a Pixar and Indiana Jones film - teh attention to detail was superb and it made a rollicking good ride ! And Snowy stole every scene he was in !

Pam

My son and I thought this was a superb film and hugely enjoyable. The amazing technology made it look fabulous and, although I never read, Tintin as a child (thought of them as boy's books, I think), may well do so now. Rather like an amalgam of a Pixar and Indiana Jones film - teh attention to detail was superb and it made a rollicking good ride ! And Snowy stole every scene he was in !

Mike

Never having warmed to TinTin as a kid, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy this film. But the list of scriptwriters, and Spielberg’s name as director lured me in. The story’s reasonably entertaining, though at times I thought Haddock’s flashbacks a little too much for younger children to follow and make sense of given the PG certificate. I still feel 3D animation’s got some way to go – not only is it fairly limited in TinTin, occasionally characters are a little fuzzy. On the whole not bad, but not in the league of Pixar’s carefully crafted characters and humour. (Generous) three stars.

happy filmgoer

Agree with one of the reviwers here, who said the trailer looked dubious - I was also pretty sceptical about the motion capture cg animation look - but ended up really enjoying it. It was very Indiana Jones-y (another good guy with a gun) and the only issue I had with it was Captain Haddock being Scottish (I'm a Scot and never imagined him with a Scottish accent when I read the books as a kid) - the accent was pretty good, but it didn't really make sense. And he had a gigantic head. He wasn't that ugly in the books and head more or less normal-sized, I thought?! Jamie Bell great as Tin Tin, and Snowy was gorgeous. Brilliant animation - but as usual the 3D was redundant.

Chris McColl

I agree wholeheartedly with the views of Kerryanne. This film is NOT suitable for young children. I thought it was just the usual American trash and doesn't even rate 1 star. I had to have a fatherly chat with my 5-year-old son afterwards to explain to him why I hated this film. Anyone with young children should avoid this film at all costs. Don't give them your money if thie is what they think kids should be watching.

long cat

Tiresome infantile trash. Yeah the computer animation is clever but the story was so watery I knew what was coming and very nearly dozed off. Great for three year olds but not adults

Ian

The film looks good, the 3d imaging and motion capture are great. It is just a shame the script and acting aren't really up to match it. I hoped for and expected more from the writers, Spielberg and Jackson. Its not bad just not that great. It should have been much more than it turned out to be. More than a 2 star but struggles to make 3. Maybe 2 and 3/4.

gazsibb

I also grew up reading Tintin and I still love the stories. Cigars of the Pharaoh and The Blue Lotus are probably my favourites. To start with my expectations were pretty low. From the trailer I was unhappy with the look of the characters, their voices and weirdly hated the way they had redrawn Milou/Snowy Tintin's faithful dog. But when I saw the actual fim, all my prejudices melted away. Somehow Spielberg captured not only the motion so to speak but the spirit of Tintin too. I loved it and I can't wait for the sequels.

Kerryanne

I was disgusted to know that this was a PG I took my 8year old son to see it a couple of days ago, the amount violence, including shooting and lots of smashing bottles, was not needed to make a good story, there were few 'happy' moments and lots of questions left unanswered. It wasn't all that easy to follow, and my son asked why Tin Tin had a gun as he was a good guy. I was concerned for the much younger children sat behind us. A great film but in my eyes completely unsuitable for the intended audience!

FilmFanNL

We were among the lucky few to have the opportunity to see this movie first on the European continent as this movie opened in the whole of the Netherlands much earlier than elsewhere, since yesterday, much to to the delight of the many Tintin fans here: this movie is one of Steven Speilberg's best films ever as far as I am concerned! Highly recommended.

angie

i also loved Tintin books as a child. Saw the film today and thought it was fantastic. Can't wait for the next one!

angie

i also loved Tintin books as a child. Saw the film today and thought it was fantastic. Can't wait for the next one!

Christopher Jackson

disappointing i am tinitn fan since a child , why add these ridiculous ly overdrawn r=dramatic sequences , a tinitn story stands up on its ow

Riju

I grew up reading Tintin. In-fact the first Tintin was Red Racham's Treasure. The movie is an absolute disgrace. Its an insult to the Original classic by the great author Herge. Too many additional gimmicks too much unwanted add-on to the original. Its dragging and downright boring compared to the true version that is the book. However if you are new to the Tiitin title you will enjoy this film. In my view this is an abomination. Please DO NOT watch if you love what the great author Herge has written. Spielberg you made a mockery of a great story just to make a quick buck. Pathetic...! What was seen cannot be un-seen Damn you Spielberg. Stay away please do not see this. This is the worst movie I've seen in quiet some time. All this time I've waited for a dud. Damn you Spielberg, all you wanted is to exploit the title to make a quick $ and shame on you for not stopping there, you wanted to make sure there will be a sequel. Read the book first then you will understand how crappy the movie is.

Iain Robb

I like Iain Nathan's review of this also, though it's maybe a touch self-parodic. Anyway, I'm giving 4 stars to this a bit grudgingly, because it's one of those types of movies that manage to be suberb and a bit underwhelming at the same time. The main trouble is with Captain Haddock, where the decision to make him Scottish had previously alienated some who felt the character might be turned into a comedic caricature. Now I'd actually assumed as a child that the character might be Scottish, though it wasn't vulgarly telegraphed. The decision to turn the character into a drunken, limelight-hogging buffoon works drastically a lot of the time against the forward thrust of the movie. Not only does it choke the story up and clog the action sequences with too much exagerrated emphasis on the character and a bunch of variable comic moments, but it also impedes development of other characters, such as Tintin staples The Thomson Twins, or even the villain of the film. That said, it does look gorgeous, the storyline is well pieced together from what I remember of its sources, and the geographical detail and action is mostly grand. I'd just prefer a bit more Tintin and less frantic mugging from a sidekick who wasn't so caricatured in the books.

scrumpyjack

SUPERB start to finish 3D (please see it in this format, even jaded types) and some excellent scenes somehow doesn't add up to an "excellent" film. Very good (in 3D) ? yes.four star (in 3D) ? skin of teeth, yes. But why does 100 min feel like 2 hours? not a good sign and won't, by any of his standards, be remembered any further than, say WAR OF THE WORLDS, though great, one off entertainment (in 3D, in case you forgot!) 7+/10