Intrepid reporter Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock's ancestor.
Having bought a model ship, the Unicorn, for a pound off a market stall Tintin is initially puzzled that the sinister Mr. Sakharine should be so eager to buy it from him, resorting to murder and kidnapping Tintin - accompanied by his marvellous dog Snowy - to join him and his gang as they sail to Morocco on an old cargo ship. Sakharine has bribed the crew to revolt against the ship's master, drunken Captain Haddock, but Tintin, Snowy and Haddock escape, arriving in Morocco at the court of a sheikh, who also has a model of the Unicorn. Haddock tells Tintin that over three hundred years earlier his ancestor Sir Francis Haddock was forced to scuttle the original Unicorn when attacked by a piratical forebear of Sakharine but he managed to save his treasure and provide clues to its location in three separate scrolls, all of which were secreted in models of the Unicorn. Tintin and Sakharine have one each and the villain intends to use the glass-shattering top Cs of operatic soprano the Milanese Nightingale to secure the third. With aid from bumbling Interpol agents the Thompson Twins our boy hero, his dog and the captain must prevent Sakharine from obtaining all three scrolls to fulfil the prophesy that only the last of the Haddocks can discover the treasure's whereabouts.
As a young teenager I avidly borrowed as many of the Tintin comic books from my library as I possibly could and indeed many years later as an adult, bought them all to have them permanently. I was therefore more than curious to see what Steven Spielberg would do with the character, with this, the first big-time movie feature of the young Belgian reporter and his faithful dog Snowy.
I really appreciated the title sequence with the lettering in the original style of the books but must admit that afterwards I found it difficult to completely accept the motion-capture technique employed. I guess it's a similar criticism which was levelled at say "The Polar Express", where the characters depicted are more human than cartoon, putting at odds somewhat the toon-town type various stunts and action sequences which occur to almost-human looking characters.
I also felt that there just too many of these big set-pieces which gave me battle-fatigue in the end. There's no shortage of ingenuity or spectacle in some of these scenes but coming in rapid succession as they do, they got a bit too commonplace in my view. Characterisation not unnaturally is shallow and distinctly one-dimensional while the story is relentlessly episodic. When Tintin and / or Captain Haddock miraculously escapes death for the umpteenth time, it takes a little of the suspense away for what comes next.
Of course it's difficult to comment on the acting given it's all done in the animation and to be honest I barely noticed the big-name voice actors employed. I wasn't impressed by the super-confident reference at the end to a sequel which four years after first release still noticeably hasn't seen the light of day.
Don't get me wrong, quite a lot of the movie I did like and there were some spectacular directorial flourishes to enjoy, none more than when a handshake between Tintin and the Captain dissolves into a landscape. Still, I found it on the whole a bit too loud and crash-bang-wallop for my tastes, so that the characters were almost overpowered by the action raging around them.
Would Herge have approved? I'm not so sure, this looks a wee bit like one of those vanity projects big-name directors can indulge themselves in without completely taking their audience along with them. Went along to see this ( at Peter Jacksons 'Roxy theatre - great location) in 3D with my 9 yr old daughter. I thought it may have been more of a boys movie, however that didn't end up being the case. I knew/enjoyed the comics as a kid - however although the characters were all knew to my daughter, she was also impressed. Plenty of action, and a storyline that was easy enough to follow. I felt it kept both kids and parents interested throughout - some of the action sequences were particularly well done. I wasn't too sure about the format i.e. sort of in-between cartoon and realm characters, but it works well in this instance. In usual Jackson/Speiling/Hollywood tradition the ending is left open for a sequel ... which no doubt will follow. I Wont say its an all time great film, but compared to some of the current kids holiday rubbish around ( i.e. chipwrecked ) I think its well worth the entry fee. Even a filmmaker as dazzling as Steven Spielberg has to create characters who lure us into their point of view, and the trouble with Tintin is that we're always on the outside, looking in. What all that motion can't capture is our hearts. It was decided to set the film in 1949 but we cheated a little because no new cars were being developed during the war. We really wanted to use vehicles like 2CV Citroëns and all the cool cars seen in the original books. So the year 1953 became the absolute cut off point for objects and vehicles. Past 1953 and it starts looking like the 1950s and not like the source books anymore. No. In the original book Sakharine is a mysterious—but harmless—model ship collector who persistently irritates Tintin by trying to buy the Unicorn model off of him. The Bird Brothers were Tintin's enemies in the original story. Yes and no. While Haddock was an alcoholic in the original book, he was much more violent and quite scary when he got drunk. At one point he even broke a bottle over Tintin's head. In the film his alcoholism is toned down greatly, becoming more comic than violent. a5c7b9f00b
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