Based on one of my favorite childhood comic books, comes one of the best ever animation motion pictures of this year. The Adventures of Tintin (2011) does a fine job in keeping the audience entertained while compromising a bit on the original story line.
Plot: The Secret of the Unicorn is not the first book in the Adventures of Tintin and neither was the character of Captain Haddock introduced in this book. But I am not complaining 🙂
The plot kicks off right from scene one where Tintin unsuspectingly buys a three-masted sailing ship. The floor is immediately set for an adventurous journey. Far too many people seem interested in buying the replica model which sets the young man thinking, that it may hold secrets to something very important.
An attempted murder, a car chase and a burglary later he is proven right. Only that the perpetrators of the crimes failed in their desperate attempt to get what they wanted – a piece of parchment hidden in the replica.
Meanwhile, we are introduced to the twins from the police force – Thomson and Thompson, who are in search of a notorious pick-pocket. They do manage to lay their hands on their target using an ingenious technique only to let him slip away (as you would expect from these comical characters)!
As soon as Tintin gets back home he is kidnapped. The rest of the story revolves around the journalist trying to escape from his captors, the introduction of Captain Haddock, the story behind the Unicorn and the secret treasure that lays at the bottom of the ocean floor. The hunt is on now… in earnest.
Special Effects: I watched the film in 3D and, to say the least, I was blown away – not by the 3D effects but rather by the Performance Capture technology. It was scintillating to see the visuals. It was hard to believe the world I saw on the big screen was virtual. The audio effects adds up to the amazing graphics and sets the mood for a fantastic adventure ride.
Be it the noise of pencil scribbling on paper or the pumped up car chases with everything getting blown away, every sound and frame stand out as perfect. This is definitely one of the best visual treats and, needless to say, was a pleasure to watch!
Cast and Performance: Any avid Tintin fan would stand up and applaud the choice for the cast. It was perfect in my opinion. Everything from their voice to their demeanor matched my imagination. It was as if the characters of Hergé had magically come to life! Definitely two thumbs up for the cast.
It would be interesting to lookout for the casting in the sequel(s) (hoping there are many more to come). Surely, interests for doing voice overs in this series will spike; its about to get crowded with the best in the business eager to pitch in somewhere.
Though being an animated film, I would still go ahead with the performance section of my review. Because you realize, while watching this film, that this is simply NOT cartoons on canvas – anything but that!
Jamie Bell as Tintin, Daniel Craig as Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Thomson and Thompson all shine through quite easily and have been poignant in the rendition of their fictional characters. The others are not far behind by any means. The characters of lesser importance in the plot of the film, too, walk away with acknowledgment of a job well done.
But even out of this great cast, I am inclined to pick Andy Serkis rendering of the character of Haddock as the best. One will end up being mesmerized by the perfection that has gone to recreate THE most animated character in this comic book series.
Direction: You have moments of adventure, that of good humor (there are way too many characters to take care of this) and thankfully no drama. The film rolls on without any noticeable flaws. The performance extracted out of the characters, as I already mentioned, only add to the positives.
An average Tintin fan would expect nothing short of brilliance in direction. This is a Steven Spielberg film. PERIOD.