REVIEW: 'The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn'

REVIEW: 'The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn'

REVIEW: 'The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn', Flicks.co.nz
Captain Haddock points out the unicorn's secret to Tintin...

4 stars

Two giants of cinema, Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, team up to bring Hergé's comic book characters to life. Now playing nationwide, click for movie times and trailer.
*Also showing in 3D

Steven Spielberg has two films out this summer, but for my money this is the one to see. Merging plot elements from three of Herge’s books (The Secret of the Unicorn, Red Rackham’s Treasure and The Crab with the Golden Claws), the resulting adventure is never short on detail, packed to the hilt with incident and mystery.

Technically the film is top shelf, with beautiful noir-ish lighting overseen by Spielberg’s regular cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski. The 3D aspects are not overplayed, instead creating a rich depth to near-photoreal images. John Williams’ helter-skelter, Euro-flavoured score accompanies the busy and inventive visual storytelling (Spielberg’s first venture into animation fits him like a glove).

Tintin himself verges on being a slightly vanilla lead here although Jamie Bell does his best to infuse him with a sprightly and persistent energy. Mo-cap veteran Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, King Kong, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) plays the frequently sozzled Captain Haddock (purists may question the Scottish accent) as a child-like and befuddled grump. It’s Tintin’s canny canine companion, Snowy, who steals the show.

The action is very over-the-top at times (an amazing and seamless chase sequence in a flash-flooded North African town being a highlight) but on the whole the film is a very faithful adaptation of Herge’s material, with plenty of affectionate details, in-jokes and references for the fans. Younger audiences, in particular, will be won over.

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