Originally created by Belgian cartoonist Hergé, Tintin is one of the most recognisable and popular cartoon characters of all time. Hergé’s comic-book hero is one of the great creations of the 20th century. The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn is the first film in a planned trilogy based on classic comic book character Tintin. It is the first in the series of 3D motion capture films based on the iconic character created by Georges Remi, better known to the world by his pen name “Herge” . “The Secret of the Unicorn,” a title from the Tintin series of graphic novels published from 1929 to 1976, hugely popular in Europe but not nearly so well known in the United States.
Tintin’s first appearance in 1929-30 was a black-and-white rudimentary anti-Soviet potboiler, little more than propaganda; there then followed a trip to the Belgian Congo, which is childishly but still blush-makingly racist (yet still hugely popular in the post-colonial country); yet by the final completed work, Tintin and the Picaros (1976), Tintin is sporting a CND symbol, and helping, albeit with reservations and only on condition of non-violence, a group of not-quite-explicitly leftish guerillas gain power in a despotic Latin American country. It’s a long learning curve.
It was Hergé himself, Tintin’s creator, who, a few weeks before his death in 1983, anointed Spielberg as his preferred director to make a Tintin film; and this after he had seen, and loved, as we all do and did, the first Indiana Jones film.
Combining three stories – The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackham’s Treasure – the new film stars Jamie Bell as Tintin, the intrepid young reporter whose relentless pursuit of a good story thrusts him into a world of high adventure, and who discovers directions to a sunken ship. Also stars Daniel Craig as the nefarious Red Rackham. Bell and Craig are joined by an international cast that includes Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Gad Elmaleh, Toby Jones and Mackenzie Crook.
When Tintin (Jamie Bell) buys the Unicorn, a showpiece boat from the flea market for a pound, little does he know the model is part of an unsolved puzzle. Till he finally meets the seafaring, liqour-loving Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) who helps him solve the mystery… and find the treasure trove…Of course all along danger threatens in the form of the evil Sakharine (Daniel Craig) who is hellbent on getting the boat and wreaking his ancestral vengeance against the Haddocks. Tintin sets out on his treasure hunt with Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) and an escaped convict who is being chased by brother detectives
It could easily have ended up as a heady cocktail of the Indiana Jones and the Pirates of the Caribbean series, but The Adventures of Tintin is so much more than recycled headiness. And that’s because of its brilliant new technique of filming — motion capture animation — that literally brings to life Belgian artist Herge’s lovable parade of characters, led by Tintin, the irrepressible reporter and Snowy, the smartest dog in town.
The story too is equally enticing with loads of action to pep up the tenor of the film. What
starts of as a simple purchase for Tintin (Jamie Bell) soon turns out to be a ‘possible story’ for the reporter. The unicorn model, he realises, is the path to a bigger mystery — the secret of the hidden treasure. But finding the hidden treasure calls for decoding a few lost symbols. That’s where Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) of disputed ancestry steps in and helps Tintin find the gold believed to be buried in the oceans. But only after he fights his swashbuckling ghost from the past, Ivan Sakharine, who wants it all, by hook or by crook. Don’t miss the thrilling flashback where the 17th century ship, the Unicorn, meets its tragic end, the crazy biplane ride to Morocco followed by one of the most chaotic chases where the entire town seems to be on a roller coaster ride, except the blumbering cops Thompson and Thomson.
While Jamie Bell fits into the role of Tintin with ease, not just for his ginger quiff but journalistic appetite too, Daniel Craig stands out as the evil and hideous Sakharine. But the ones who really become objects of affection are Andy Serkis (watch him resist every peg that comes his way) and Tintin’s comrade, Snowy. The two actually bring ample comic relief when the endless journey seems a little stretched. And as Captain Haddock puts it, for there’s more treasure lying deep down in the oceans that needs to be found.
- Production year: 2011
- Directors: Steven Spielberg
- Cast: Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg