Quite a fantastic journey
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Direction: Steven Spielberg
Cast/Voices: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis
The comic book creation of the Belgian artist Herge, Tintin has captivated the imagination of generations of readers since his first appearance way back in 1929.
Fine-tuning the performance-capture technology pioneered by Robert Zemeckis, Hollywood's numero uno entertainer Steven Spielberg has fashioned a 3D animation romp that will likely satisfy Tintinophiles while reaching out to broader audiences.
Culled from three different stories in the comic-strip series, the script captures the pace and tone of the source material with admirable dexterity. The eponymous young reporter (Bell) buys a model of a ship at a flea market in Europe, circa the 1930s. It turns out that the replica of a real boat called ‘The Unicorn' is also coveted by a bearded baddie (Daniel Craig). Our intrepid hero's curiosity launches him on a high-seas adventure involving a hard-drinking captain (Serkis, splendid as ever) and bloodline feud with a notorious pirate. With Tintin's faithful fox terrier in tow, the trio careen around the globe in search of an enormous treasure before it falls into the wrong hands.
The cutting-edge computer animation seamlessly blends the voices, expressions and movements of the actors. The background vistas achieve an appealing retro look, consistent with the original drawings that Herge did for his cartoons. Action set pieces, including a roller-coaster chase on the streets of a Moroccan port town, alternate with scenes of banal slapstick. (anytime the two bumbling Interpol agents appear on screen). The film benefits from the swirling music score by John Williams which includes snatches of an aria by the fictional opera diva nicknamed the Milanese Nightingale.
His last picture, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), was a bit of a let-down. The Adventures of Tintin…, happily, reconfirms Steven Spielberg's status as King of the Blockbusters.