Friday, 18 November 2011

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Jaime Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Daniel Mays, Mackenzie Crook

Certificate: PG

Rating: 4/5

Steven Spielberg’s and Peter Jackson’s The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn takes the cinematic experience to new found heights, presenting Herge’s literary creation in a format unlike ever before. Upon discovering a secret contained within a model ship, Tintin and his dog Snowy battle to uncover the secret and avoid those who insist on obtaining the secret for themselves. How long does he have, and who can he trust?

One of the most impressive and apparent features of the film is the animated style in which it is produced. Often considered gimmicky and unnecessary, the motion capture used in the film is some of the best that has yet to be put on the screen, building upon such films as Avatar, A Christmas Carol and The Polar Express and creating something that is gorgeous to look at and mind numbingly realistic. Not only has that but the motion capture helped the film to attain a cartoon aesthetic, remaining truer to Herge’s original stories than any grand live action attempt. The cast is superb and, if you know your television and cinema, are easily recognisable, with Billy Elliot’s Jaime Bell and King Kong’s Andy Serkis taking the roles of at the legendary Tintin and the permanently drunk Captain Haddock respectively. The film is carried along with slapstick humour from the characters of the hapless detectives Thompson and Thompson, grand action scenes that make your eyes explode with excitement. It is a visual and stunningly realistic treat. 

The collaborating writers of the script are, if I may say so, not who I would have expected: Doctor who’s Steven Moffat, Scott Pilgrim’s Edgar Wright and Attack the Block Joe Cornish. This concoction of writers of sci-fi and humour you would think may cause the film not to remain true to Herge’s original creation, however fear not, as all three are lifelong fans of the stories and you can instantly tell by the care and attention that they have incorporated into every line, producing a fantastic and well paced script.

One thing however that I still cannot put my finger on, was who was the audience the film aimed at attracting? In the cinema there were numerous age ranges and group sizes, ranging from children with their parents up to couples in their fifties. Was this a kid’s film or not? I feel that if you are expecting Tintin to be a kid’s film you would be wrong, the only possible appeal that this film could have for children is that it is computer animated. The story, although not too complex, kept me hooked more than I imagined it would have done so for the younger audience members. So if you have kids who want to see the film, don’t expect fluffy white animals with celebrity voices, this is a film. It was a brilliant film that the whole family can enjoy, but not strictly just a children’s film and one that may disappoint kid’s who wanted to see it. This is another of the intentions that Spielberg and Jackson had by making the film in this way, removing the notion that just because a film is animated it will attract children and establishing that motion capture could potentially be the future of cinema. Motion capture is not just for children, but a new format of making films like never before.

Overall I found the film incredible to watch, the script was brilliant and the visionary work of both Jackson and Spielberg was ingenious. The acting, although you barely see the faces, was superb, and each actor performed their role perfectly and made a computer image feel lifelike with an existence that simple CGI could not offer. However as I mentioned previously this is not a children’s film in the same way as Pixar and Disney films appeal to kids, although children will love it as much as the adults, it may be a tad confusing for them to understand the plot fully. However I feel that anyone who sees this film cannot help but marvel at it, as it is a groundbreaking cinematic achievement that has already produced two further sequels that will go into production in the next few years. A brilliant cinematic romp.

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