Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg
Synopsis: Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures Present a 3D Motion Capture Film “The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn“ directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot, Defiance) as Tintin, the intrepid young reporter whose relentless pursuit of a good story thrusts him into a world of high adventure, Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock (Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Daniel Craig (Quantum of Solace, Defiance) as the nefarious Red Rackham. Based on the series of books “The Adventures of Tintin“ by Hergé, the film is produced by Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and Kathleen Kennedy.
Review: The most famous comic-book reporter since Peter Parker and Clark Kent with millions of teenage fans following his every adventure around the globe is majestically recreated by none other than the most-renowned director for his captivating visuals, Steven Speilberg.
This nostalgic trip begins with an animated credit sequence with nods to both Saul Bass and Speilberg’s very own “Catch Me If You Can”. We first catch a glimpse of Tintin (Jamie Bell) while he’s getting his portrait sketched by an artist very closely resembling Hergé. With the nom de plume as Hergé, George Remi was the Belgian cartoonist whose brain child is “Tintin”. From originally being published in French in 1930, “Tintin” has flourished into a multinational, multilingual franchise with various animated films, two movies, several theme stores, a museum and even a study known as “Tintinology”.
Adapted from Herge’s original story, the movie follows Tintin as he joins forces with the scotch-guzzling, foul-mouthed, Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) in a race against the despicable Ivan Sakharine (Daniel Craig) to pirate treasure and the secret of a lost ship, the Unicorn. Bell’s Tintin is flat and the bowler hatted twin detectives, Thomson and Thompson (Nick Frost and Simon Pegg) have a fair comic rapport. The successor with the funny bone is Serkis. His mastery from “The Lord of the Rings”, “King Kong” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” transcends all. From laughter to tears to vile pirate curses, audiences will lap up his every performance. Haddock comes across as the most amusing character.
Spielberg’s decision to use the state-of-the-art 3D performance capture technology to serve up a good ol’ fashioned adventure flick rightly does justice to the comic legacy. The boy sleuth with his trusty, white terrier come to life in a dazzling combination of wit and digital splendor. With the performance capture technology, live actors are recorded digitally before being layered with computer animation to create a finished characters and sets. And it’s all crafted by the same animation dudes who gave you “The Lord of the Rings”, WETA visual-effects house of director Peter Jackson. But what makes “Tintin” slick and exhilarating as opposed to “Avatar” and “The Polar Express” is Speilberg. His ability to keep it realistic (far from artificial epic worlds) and creating action with less bullets but more ideas, successfully enthralls his audiences.
The only question that comes to mind is will Tintin purists be charmed even after the ample liberties taken in script? Hmm…watch it and decide. For the rest of us, it’s irresistibly delicious!
Verdict: A nostalgic journey that brings to life the adventures of the boy-sleuth and his white terrier.