>> The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn (2011)

Title: The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn

Genre: Action/Adventure, Animation

Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg

Director: Steven Spielberg

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Runtime: 107 minutes

In Theatres: December 21, 2011

MPAA Rating: PG

Rating: 2.91 (out of 4.00)

Grade: B-

Official Site

Over its near 50 year lifespan, The Adventures of Tintin created many memorable characters that were brought to life through its comic book pages. The franchise has been a cultural phenomenon that has spanned the likes of television, radio, and film. It is only fitting, then, that acclaimed director Steven Spielberg team up with Peter Jackson to bring the first performance captured 3D film of the series to the big screen.

Jamie Bell stars as the young journalist/detective Tintin as he embarks on the most dangerous story yet. The film combines three storylines from the original Tintin books, and has Tintin teaming up with the drunken Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) in search for the legendary treasure of the Unicorn, a ship carrying precious cargo that was lost at sea. They’re not alone in the search as Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine has been attempting to decipher the mystery of the Unicorn for years and will stop at nothing to reach his goal. The Adventures of Tintin is filled with adventure, danger, and mystery, or as Tintin would put it, just another story that needs to be told.

The film is Steven Spielberg’s first venture into animated features. You wouldn’t notice, though, as it looks absolutely fantastic. Without a doubt, the visuals are stunning and would give even Pixar a run for their money. Character animations look realistic and there are plenty of lush landscapes that showcase the beauty of the technology. The motion capture style animation of Tintin works best to bring the pages of the comic book alive. Had it been a full live-action film, I don’t think it would have worked as well.

While the visuals are some of the best around, the same cannot be said for the story. Spielberg does his best to portray Tintin as this young, Indiana Jones type lad whose sense for adventure overcomes all else, but ultimately it isn’t very convincing. The plot is highly predictable and aside from Captain Haddock, there doesn’t seem to be any motivation for the characters. Tintin constantly puts himself in danger, and it’s never really clear why. Also, why must all bad guys be horrible at shooting a gun? If Tintin can manage to take down a flying airplane with a single shot from a pistol, then I think some bad guys could manage to shoot a moving target 15 feet away with a machine gun. The film falls in line with all the stereotypical aspects of the adventure genre.

That being said, it’s difficult not to be drawn into Tintin’s world. The bumbling detectives Thomson and Thompson (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) are good for a laugh whenever they appear, and Tintin’s trusty Wire Fox Terrier sidekick Snowy always manages to save the day. The detail given to Snowy’s character really makes him come alive as a human, rather than just another canine companion.

The Adventures of Tintin may not be Steven Spielberg’s best work but it does introduce the Tintin franchise to a whole new generation of viewers. It’s a visual masterpiece, and while it could use a bit of work on the story, the film gives you that sense of adventure you once got reading the comics.

Follow me on Twitter @Majiesto

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