Saturday 17 March 2012

Today's Review: The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn

I dabbled in Tintin when I was a boy, but I can't say I was a fanatic. My heart lay with Asterix, as my year 5 teacher recommended them to me. Still, Tintin was always a good read, and I was quite excited when I found out this movie was being made. Even more so when I found out it was written by Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish. Oh baby.

The Secret Of The Unicorn is an adaptation of a few books in the series. I may have read them but I certainly don't remember them too much. Jamie Bell plays Tintin, a young reporter who gets tangled up in an adventure to find a lost treasure, teaming up with drunkard sailor Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) in a race to find clues against the nefarious Ivan Sakharine (Daniel Craig).

This movie is indeed computer animated, but uses the motion capture technology seen in many movies recently to full effect. The character animations are absolutely stunning, details and facial expressions are perfect, and if I wasn't paying full attention and happened to glance up at the screen, for a split second I thought the people I was looking at were real. The set pieces are astonishing too, especially the water and fire effects that pop up throughout. This certainly is a beautiful movie.

There is also a whole lot of action crammed in. While it sounds like cramming three books into one movie could make it feel a bit rushed, I found the pace to be just right. There are enough calm parts that serve to advance the plot, but they're not around for long before an action scene takes place. These are all beautifully choreographed and executed. There are plane rides, car chases, sword fights, and a sea battle that even puts Pirates Of The Caribbean to shame. These action scenes are where the movie shines, but the story and dialogue written by some of Britain's finest really pull it all together.

The performances are great too. Obviously due to the motion capture technology the actors' facial expressions are carried into the film, and the emotions portrayed are great. Serkis does an excellent job as the rowdy sea captain, screaming and thrashing around like there's no tomorrow. Smaller roles from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Thomson and Thompson are also wonderfully done.

The Secret Of The Unicorn is a great movie. I'm trying to think of some faults but I find myself coming up short. It looks great, has great performances and action sequences, and is all wound up with some wonderful music. There seem to be a lot of people in the industry nowadays who are doing a great job of revitalising franchises with some really good movies. I just hope they can carry on.

My rating: 5/5

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