BLISTERING BARNACLES! It seemed that artistic marriage between Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson really did pay off in Spielberg’s first foray into a full digital film with the adaptation of the beloved Herge’ classic, the Adventures of Tintin!
If you’re a child of the 80s and 90s then you should know who Tintin is. The movie is actually an adaptation of two Tintin classics: The Secrets of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure. For those thinking how combining two books under 2 hours would fare, you guys can rest easy and know that Spielberg isn’t one of the world’s renowned directors for nothing.
Tintin is the story of, well, Tintin—ginger ace reporter with an inkling for adventure—and his white fox terrier, Snowy, as they both accidentally plunge themselves in the midst of a thrilling treasure-hunting adventure. The movie opens as Tintin, voiced and acted by Jamie Bell (Billy Eliot, Jumper) buys a seemingly harmless model ship named the Unicorn at a flea market only to be intruded by the nefarious Mr. Sakharine (voiced most splendidly by Daniel Craig). Curious as to why people have been flogging him to get their hands on the Unicorn, Tintin investigates the ship’s origin which unfortunately lands himself, and his dog, being kidnapped by hired hands of Sakharine and shipped off to Morocco along with the now debunked ship’s captain, a very drunken Captain Haddock (voiced by Andy Serkis – Gollum, LoTR) as prisoners.
Of course a ship full of armed men won’t get in the way of Tintin’s adventures. As the the trio escape (Tintin, snowy and Captain Haddock), they must now out-race Mr. Sakharine and crew towards Morocco to find the last piece of the Unicorn puzzle and solve an ancient-old lost treasure that is linked back to Captain Haddock and his lineage.
With thrilling set-pieces and gorgeous settings, Tintin magically places you in the world that Herge’s must have imagined when he was writing the books. The adaptation really made good use of the medium and I can’t think of any better way to go about it. With the medium, Spielberg was able to get us as close to the action as possible and crafted one of the most memorable chase scenes I’ve in years. In all honesty, this is what Indy 4 should have been (watch out for the big chase scene in Act 3–that one was splendidly and marvelously fun to watch).
Working with Peter Jackson and Weta, Tintin employs full motion capture to get the performances out of the actors and not just the typical voice over dubbing. Meaning, these actors are actually the ones behind the actions and movements and stunts seen in the movie. Don’t want to believe me? Check this link out.
Mind. Blown. I know!
It’s the same technique used in Lord of the Rings that brought Gollum to life. This is why Captain Haddock is so well animated as compared to the other characters; Andy Serkis already knows how to get the most out of his performance using the medium.
Overall Tintin gets the magic done, even with the lack of a memorable theme by legendary composer John Williams (seriously, the TV series opening was more memorable than any of the scores in this movie). However, that said, the music did work the way it’s supposed to in these film: it sets the grandness of scenes, tickles you in the right place and helps pump action to the already action-filled scenes you’re seeing. Still from the makers of iconic music such as Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Harry Potter, I’d wish Tintin did receive the same iconic treatment in the music department. That would have sealed the deal and really help make this movie EPIC.
Overall, Tintin is a good film. It’s nothing superbly spectacular but it gets the job done and will make you leave the cinema feeling better than when you go in. And I don’t mind watching this on 3D Imax either. So if you have enough saved up, treat the family to a really grand adventure with Tintin and the gang!
The Adventures of Tintin: Secrets of the Unicorn opened November 30 and is still making rounds in the local cinema circle.
Unbox score: 3.5/5