Movie Review: The Adventures of Tintin : The Secret of the Unicorn (2011) - Secret is Unveiled!

The Adventures of Tintin : The Secret of the Unicorn (2011) English Movie Poster

November 11, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations): A thousand thanks to the French reviewer of Raiders of the Lost Ark, whose repeated references with Tintin, drew Spielberg’s attention to Herge’s immortal creation! Fascinated by it, he immediately decided to “make Tintin into a movie”. Impressed with Peter Jackson’s work in the Lord of the Rings, Spielberg decided to collaborate with him, and the result is undoubtedly one of the greatest gifts to the modern movie goers.

Film Trailer: The Adventures of Tintin : The Secret of the Unicorn (2011)

‘The Adventures of Tintin : Secret of the Unicorn’ is a treasure hunt that transports us to a world of “unapologetic shameless adventure”, as Spielberg put it, and we willingly accompany, Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock, in this extraordinary, witnessed-never-before, screen adaptation of Herge’s creation.  It brings together the plots and characters of ‘The Crab with the Golden Claws’, ‘The Secret of the Unicorn’ and the ‘Red Rackham’s Treasure’ and weaves pure magic with them, to give the Tintin lovers around the world with 107 unforgettable minutes of nail-biting, edge-of-the-seat adventure.

When two great narrators and passionate filmmakers work in tandem, the result is ought to be extraordinary, admitted Andy Serkis, playing the insult-hurling-whiskey-loving, but trustworthy and dependable Captain Haddock in this memorable recreation. He was Jackson’s first choice for portrayal of admirable and loving sea faring captain. Jamie Bell, as Tintin, does not fail to impress us with straight-from-the-heart performance, which evidently proves his passion for the “fearless and adventurous” character since childhood. The sinister Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine has received an extra shade of evil with Daniel Craig’s surprise portrayal of a villainous character, much against his well accepted image.

We absolutely love what the performance motion capture technology has done to our beloved boy detective’s trysts with treasures and truth hunting expeditions. It has simply breathed life to the Herge’s Ligne Claire portrayal of characters, which according to Spielberg was the ‘best way to honor Herge..’ Used by Peter Jackson during the filming of The Lord of the Rings series, motion capture combines the best of live action and animation and does complete justice to the characters.

“Tintin is myself”, Herge had once confessed. The adventures started with the Land of Soviets (1929-30). Since then it has been a mad rush of continuous clue-finding-trails. In ‘The Adventures…’ we are introduced to Tintin and his ever-faithful-companion, Snowy, in the backdrop of an outdoor market, where he gets his hands on a model ship named Unicorn, which (as we come to know later) conceals a parchment scroll with clues to finding a 400 year old treasure.

At this point, Sakharine enters, with his accomplice Barnaby, trying to buy the ship from Tintin. After failed attempts to do so, he abducts Tintin to SS Karaboudjan. And, this is where Captain Haddock comes in, as the ship’s nominal captain. Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock’s escape from the ship amidst a roaring thunderstorms and what follows, surely deserves a watch to be experienced.

‘The Adventures of Tintin’, goes way above the expectations of the crazy Tintinologists, who have waited with baited breath to catch a glimpse of their favorite reporter turned detective fighting it out against the evil forces of Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine and Barnaby, in an attempt to avoid them from laying their hands on the 400 year old treasure. Adding on to the sense of mystery is the background score and the soundtracks, composed by the award winning, John Williams, who has given the Adventures a unique musical interpretation with his signature, orchestrated style. Comparisons invariably come with the Tinin’s symphonic theme by Ray Parker, Jim Morgan and Tom Szczesniak, composed for the TV series, but none scores over the other, in fact they are perfect complements of the time and technology, influencing their respective creations.

For someone who has touched cinematic excellence with The Schindler’s List and Munich and commercial success with ET and Jurassic Park series, Spielberg’s unquenchable thirst for seeking the unknown and childish curiosity is what connects him with Herge’s Tintin and brings him into delivering another blockbuster.

The box office seems to be more than delighted with The Adventures of Tintin. With the first day opening in UK, France and Belgium drawing a whopping $8.5 million, the final collections after a worldwide release, can only be imagined!

Rating: 4/5

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