The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn - Review

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?) - Tintin and animation fans MUST watch it on the big screen
quick review:

The Adventures of Tintin, directed by Steven Spielberg, is a visual treat for lovers of animation films and fans of the comic book series. Though the story isn’t particularly great, the character quirks and perhaps the best animation seen to date ensure that the film keeps you entertained. The iconic comic book characters are brought to life in a way that the big screen hasn’t yet experienced. The dialogue will make you smile, and the action set pieces are thoroughly enjoyable. Purely for its visual appeal, this is a film that you might just enjoy on the big screen with family and friends.

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Wogma Review

When a little middle-class boy with big dreams in his eyes proclaims that he wants to make films, the first gentle rebuke he will probably hear is, ‘So, you want to be Spielberg?’

Such is the influence of the man – a man praised and criticized in equal measure. However, irrespective of which side of the fence you are on, there is no denying that few men have had the kind of influence on any facet of human history, as Steven Spielberg has had in the field of audio-visual entertainment.

Spielberg’s latest, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, is exactly that - an entertaining film that is perhaps the closest that a big-screen adaptation has come so far, in capturing the essence of some of the most endearing and enduring comic book characters of all time.

That Tintin, Captain Haddock, Snowy, and of course, Thomson and Thompson will bring a smile on your face is a given. Their quirks, their dialogue and their ‘unquenchable thirst for adventure’ have been brought alive by producers Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson in a revolutionary new way.

Motion capture combined with incredible detailing in VFX brings the animation to life in a manner never seen before. Every reflection, every droplet of water, every tiny movement of human hair is unbelievably life-like. Only the characters’ faces (and at times their actions) betray that what one is viewing is indeed animation.

Be it an incredible mid-sea battle amidst a raging inferno or a superb bike chase through the streets and homes of Morocco, the film is riddled with enthralling set-pieces that will make more than a few jaws drop. The film is rich in colour and more importantly, it is rich in atmosphere – something that goes a long way in sucking the audience in to the story. John Williams’ music score more than plays its part in enriching the atmosphere that the film manages to create.

While the 3D in this film isn’t as big a waste as it has been in so many films, one still suspects that watching the film in 2D will not detract from the visual experience in any way. If anything, the colours are bound to be richer once the dark glasses are off.

The department that the film suffers the most in is the script. The mystery itself isn’t as mysterious as one would have liked. The twists and turns are there, but there is really nothing that will make you sit at the idiomatic edge of your seat. However, the quirkiness of the characters, particularly Captain Haddock, makes up in part for the deficiencies in the script. The characters keep you entertained at all times.

Yes, that aspect which Spielberg is criticized the most for is present all over this film – the manner in which it is moralistically sanitized. The edginess, the layers, the nuances of real human behavior and the shades of grey that someone who is not a Tintin or an animation fan would want are noticeably absent. This is the one area where this film would fall behind iconic Pixar films like Finding Nemo, Toy Story and Wall-E.

Ultimately, The Adventures of Tintin is an entertaining film for children as well as adults, particularly those who enjoy animation. The realistic animation is a visual treat, and there would be few who would not feel an adrenaline rush at least once during the film. Make no mistake, as far as animation technique in cinema is concerned, the envelope has been pushed. Even we who feel that audio-visual entertainment and cinema are often worlds apart would have to agree.

This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.

Parental Guidance:

Advisable, but not absolutely necessary.

  • Violence: A number of action sequences and fist/sword fights.
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None whatsoever
  • Concept: An adventure involving popular comic book characters
  • General Look and Feel: Near-lifelike animation that is rich in feel

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3
  • Story: 2
  • Lead Actors: 4
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 3
  • Screenplay: 2
  • Music Director: 3
  • Lyrics:

The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn - Movie Details

The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn - Trailer

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Comments (1)

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Tintin:

The reviewer is really funny; these paras are too good.

"The department that the film suffers the most in is the script. The mystery itself isn=E2=80=99t as mysterious as one would have liked. The twists and turns are there, but there is really nothing that will make you sit at the idiomatic edge of your seat. However, the quirkiness of the characters, particularly Captain Haddock, makes up in part for the deficiencies in the script. The characters keep you entertained at all times.

Yes, that aspect which Spielberg is criticized the most for is present all over this film =E2=80=93 the manner in which it is moralistically sanitized. The edginess, the layers, the nuances of real human behavior and the shades of grey that someone who is not a Tintin or an animation fan would want are noticeably absent. This is the one area where this film would fall behind iconic Pixar films like Finding Nemo, Toy Story and Wall-E."

Really Mr Reviewer, what is the problem with the script? The film follows the story of the Tintin comics of the same name, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham's treasure. It is nothing that has been dreamed up by the script writers. Spielberg has stuck to the source material and that is it. It is totally swashbuckling; pirates, lost treasure, chases galore, near death situations, and redemption for Haddock.
Two, the Tintin comics were never "gray and edgy" etc etc; they were supposed to be good clean entertainment at least according to the author. But it is very well known that Tintin started life as a strip for a right wing magazine, in many ways he embodies the ideology of Aryan purity and white supremacy. There is a whole host of literature on the Tintin comics themselves which analyse the subtexts present in the comics. The racism and the colonial mindset is very obvious. But for a small boy who reads these comics none of these matters; what matters is the fabulous characters, the exotic settings, the literally hair raising adventures, and the final triumph of good over evil. The film captures all of this and more, not to mention some fabulous sarcastic asides by Tintin with reference to Haddock.

And I wonder whether you have any clue regarding the technicalities of animation? The film is an amalgamation of live footage, 3 D animation, motion capture techniques, as well as 3 D computer generated spaces and cameras.

I suggest you stick to whatever else that you do, and not write reviews which are unintentionally funny!

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