The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011) Review

Regardless of how good it would be to see characters you loved as a kid, brought to life in a live action movie, sometimes animation is the best way to tell those stories. That is certainly the case with Tintin, which is one of the greatest animated spectacles I have seen in a long time. I don’t think you could achieve, or afford, the same sort of action sequences that are seen in Tintin, using live action.

That is the biggest appeal of the Tintin movie. It’s non-stop. There isn’t a moment to wait and collect your thoughts, piecing together the clues of the mystery that the young journalist is investigating, because he is being chased in a motorcycle or in a plane, or a boat or just on foot. Its one impressive action spectacle after another.

The action and pace of the film is non-stop.

This would seem quite shallow if it wasn’t done so brilliantly. Steven Spielberg manages to increase the amazing chases or battles every single time, until you are eventually lost in the action and forgetting how thin the actual plot of the mystery really is.

There aren’t many films that I would like to see in 3D but this is one I wish I had. Watching Tintin escape from a Moroccan palace on a motorcycle which slowly loses all its different elements until he is just using the handlebars as a zip-line is fantastic and would be much better in 3D.

One of the only films I wish I’d seen at the cinema, in 3D.

The moment I was most in awe of, which convinced me that this film couldn’t be done in live action, was a battle between two pirate ships. This is one of the coolest and most spectacular things I’ve seen in an animated film and would outdo anything Pirates of the Caribbean would have to offer if it could ever be achieved in a live action film.

This is the main attraction and the huge positive element of the Tintin films. It’s all show and very little substance. It tries to recreate the mysteries that Tintin used to solve but it’s really a chase around the world, with the clues very handily laid out for our hero. It just about manages to distract you from this point with each action sequence until the movie seems to end abruptly and the credits roll.

Each of the characters in perfectly cast…

Although they may not have managed to bring the fantastic stories that Tintin was known for, they certainly have done a great job of bringing the characters to life on-screen. Almost all the favourites are present and voiced perfectly. Jamie Bell is a great choice for Tintin, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost couldn’t be better as Thompson and Thomson but the best casting of all is Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock.

Tintin is another example of good an actor Serkis is and although all he seems to be offering is a voice-over, he manages to bring the character to life and steal the whole film. The minute Haddock is in the movie, its improved dramatically.

…particularly Andy Serkis’ Captain Haddock.

So although its very shallow in places, it impressed me most with how well it used the animation and delivered breathtaking action sequences. I’m sure a sequel is in the works and I’m not sure how they could improve on the fantastic action that was shown in this movie, but I can’t wait to see them try.

Overall, although it is shallow in plot and the mystery isn’t really that much of a mystery, you’ll soon forget as you watch the brilliant action sequences. Each set-piece outdoes the next and proves that sometimes animation is the only way to present a story with this much going on. Tintin is brought to life fantastically and I hope the sequel can outdo the good work that has been achieved here.

Rating 4.5

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

I just wonder if they can improve on some of the better elements of this film for the inevitable sequel.

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