Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tintin : The Secret of the Unicorn

Rating : 9/10
Release Date : 11th November, 2011
Time : 107 minutes
Director : Steven Spielberg; Writers : Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, based on the comic series by Herge; Music : John Williams
Starring : (voices of) : Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Kim Stengel

The movie has plenty of ‘blistering barnacles’ and ‘thundering typhoons’ while setting a blistering pace from frame one and thundering its way to an exciting climax. Plenty of snappy one liners, goofy moments, an intriguing plot, great animation and some fantastic moments with Snowy and Cap’n Haddock ensure that this is the adventure movie of the year.

Tintin buys a model ship, ‘The Unicorn’, from a street vendor. Almost as soon as he has handed over the money, two different people walk up and try to buy it from him. Tintin being Tintin, refuses the generous offers, takes it home, then goes to a library to try and figure out the ships history. When he returns, the model ship is gone, stolen from his home. Add to this a man who dies on his doorstep, a gloved pickpocket, the irrepressible Thompson twins, a never found sunken treasure and the ominous Marlinspike hall and you have a perfect setting for the adventure that follows.

A few things struck me about the film. Despite being an animation, it was real almost to the point where I was giving the lead characters points for performance. The camera angles were brilliant, really innovative, again belying the fact that this was an animation. The film is crisply edited, doesn’t stray from its narrative for even an instant, so there is no back story (who is Tintin is sorted out in a few frames on his wall), there are no parents, and almost blasphemously for our films, there is no romantic angle (in fact I think there were all of two women for about 2 minutes in the entire film).

Captain Haddock steals the show, as in the comic. You cannot help but love this man, who is soaked in whisky most of the time and is useless when sober, but is up for a fight or adventure anytime. Snowy is almost a hero unto himself, finding clues, sensing danger and bravely coming to the aid of the hero on more than once occasion. And Tintin, well, he is the kind of boy most Indian mom’s would want to get their daughter married to. Sweet, earnest, curious, reputed, risk taking. An adventurer to the core. They don’t make them like him anymore.

As a kid, I’ve not been much of a fan of Tintin, preferring the more bawdy, in-your-face humour of Asterix instead. But this film, despite staying completely true to the comic, manages to infuse new life into the characters, making them more fun, endearing and human at the same time. Cant wait for the next instalment.


Tanmoy said...

Although the movie is an animation, the actors played the scenes out wearing white costumes. A new technology, the name of which I am unable to recall at the moment.

My point is, one can actually give points to the actors. Isn't it?

Apurv Nagpal said...

its motion capture technology, first appeared in Polar Express, then Beowulf. I think we give primary importance to actors for their expressions, not movement style (which is the only thing not animated here) so tough to give marks for performance here, but the animation was so life-like, the marks definitely go to the animators !