The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

No person other than Steven Spielberg could have directed this film. Even the creator of the comic book series from which this film is adapted, Hergé, was quoted as saying that Spielberg  was the only man who could do it- and after watching The Adventure of Tintin it’s hard not to agree with him.

The eponymously titled Tintin tells the story of a famous young reporter (Jamie Bell) who finds his life turned upside-down by the introduction of the villainous Ivanovich Sakharine (Daniel Craig) and his search for the treasure of the sunken ship, The Unicorn.

Taking storylines from three of Hergé’s original comic books, The Adventures of Tintin is an almighty romping action flick with allusions to its noir/pulp comic origins. With action and comedy at every turn and flawless usage of CG technology to render the actors and the world in which they inhabit, it’s very easy to enjoy this film and to forget you are watching an animated one.

Many times whilst watching this film I was constantly reminded of Spielberg’s other directorial work on The Indiana Jones movies. But this isn’t just Indiana Jones without Harrison Ford, Tintin stands on its own as a film worth recognising. Tintin is, first and foremost, a reporter and this is always reinforced for the audience. Where Indiana Jones may leap from his bonds, punch out a guy, steal his gun and shoot his way out of the situation, Tintin must concoct some elaborate scheme to escape his predicament rather than use his fists- not to say that he doesn’t but more often than not he won’t be the one to engage in a fight, leaving that to his friend, the drunken Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) while he finds a more covert way to resolve the situation. This film also feels very European mainly because it is set in Europe but it retains an old world feel to its adventures; Tintin is the adventurer who is pit against the odds in a world where unlikely people become your allies. With the writers (Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish) all being British and the source material being Belgian in origin this was inevitable but it doesn’t feel overtly stylised to feel European, it merely happens as a product of the film which happens in a very effective way.

Where this film really shines, however, is its ability to imbue the characters with more of a sense of depth than most films out today; Captain Haddock’s sudden burst of excitement as he acts out his ancestor’s exploits, Tintin’s detective abilities and sense of optimism throughout the film really acts as the counterpoint to the action, another thing that Spielberg can do very well as shown in almost every single one of his previous films.

The blending of the secondary storyline with Thomson and Thompson (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) is also very well done and you will not get bored with this story of the bumbling detectives in their efforts to catch a pickpocket.

To fans of the comic book series or even the TV series made in the early 90’s, the seamless blending of the three stories it adapts from is completely unnoticeable and it still manages to capture Hergé’s original style, of action mixed with humour.

The only criticism I would levy against this film is that it is a typical Spielberg action film, don’t go into the cinema and expect heavy dialogue with overly emotional moments, this is an action flick for everyone to enjoy pure and simple. And enjoy it I did.