Review: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn 3D

16:08 26 October 2011

Tintin rides to the rescue (PA Photo/Paramount Pictures UK)

Tintin rides to the rescue (PA Photo/Paramount Pictures UK)

Written and drawn by Belgian artist Georges Remi under the pen name Herge, Tintin first sprang to life on the page in 1929 in the gung-ho adventure Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets.

The plucky reporter with the distinctive ginger quiff has travelled the world and even to the Moon, uncovering dastardly deeds with intrepid pooch Snowy by his side.

Now, thanks to Oscar-winning film-makers Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, the iconic character enters the 21st century using state-of-the-art motion capture, which translates actors’ movements into the performances of incredibly detailed digital characters.

The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn is the opening salvo of a proposed trilogy, amalgamating the plots of The Crab With The Golden Claws, The Secret Of The Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure.

Spielberg directs the first film and it’s a breathlessly entertaining romp, littered with eye-popping action set pieces that would simply be unthinkable - not to mention astronomically expensive - as live action.

A dizzying motorcycle chase through the winding alleys of a Moroccan marketplace is accomplished in a single take and Captain Haddock’s penchant for booze provides the hilarious spark for an explosive bi-plane flight.

A terrific animated opening reminiscent of Catch Me If You Can introduces us to reporter Tintin (Jamie Bell), who buys a model ship and is plunged into a centuries-old mystery involving Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Daniel Craig).

Ivan asks Tintin to name his price for the boat but the reporter refuses to sell, sensing the wooden vessel is far more valuable than it first appears.

Sure enough, a cryptic conundrum lies within, revealing that “only a true Haddock will discover the secret of The Unicorn.”

Blistering barnacles!

Assisted by trusty pooch Snowy, Tintin searches for more clues, meeting booze-sodden Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis), whose family history holds the key to the mystery of a cursed shipwreck.

The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn is a hoot, and the script co-written by Peter Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish delivers some big laughs such as when Captain Haddock reveals that one of his crew has no eyelids.

“Aye, it was a card game to remember!” growls the salty sea dog.

However, all of Spielberg’s directorial brio and the gorgeous visuals cannot distract from the lack of characterisation.

The film relies entirely on nostalgia, providing no back story about Tintin or any of his friends and foes, other than what is pertinent to the mystery of The Unicorn.

Like most thrill rides, we’re giddy during the film, caught up in the action and derring-do but once the film ends, there’s that nagging feeling that something is amiss: heart and soul.

Perhaps Tintin will unearth both in the second film, pencilled for release in 2013 with Jackson at the helm.

Rating: 7.5/10

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn 3D (PG, 106 mins) Animation/Action/Comedy.

Featuring the voices of Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Toby Jones.

Director: Steven Spielberg.

Released: October 26 (UK & Ireland)

Latest Stories

This image shows the original design for the Roundhouse, but the new version will keep Amy's trademark beehive [Image by Scott Eaton/The Roundhouse]

First we told you that a statue of Amy Winehouse was coming to Camden, and now we can show you what it will look like!

Read more
12:39
Jonathan Lynn was jailed for attacking six people with acid outside the Lightbox nightclub in Vauxhall (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

A man has been jailed for a ‘vile and disgraceful’ acid attack after he sprayed a noxious liquid over six people outside a Vauxhall nightclub.

Read more
09:44
Who'd have thought you could bed down here for the night? (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

How do you fancy a sleeping over on the 72nd floor of The Shard?

Read more

Top Stories

Promotions

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

Quizzes

I'm only going to say this once: Stand. On. The. Right.

James Bond is Britain’s most famous secret agent, and the capital is its most famous city, so it makes sense that 007 would live and work here when he isn’t gallivanting around the world.

Read more
Can you find the animals hiding in London station names? (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

You may not realise it but there are animals hiding in stations across London? Play our quiz and see if you can you find them:

Read more
Can you guess the Tube station just from the outside? (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

How well do you know your Tube stations? Can you guess these Underground stops from the pictures taken outside them?

Read more