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The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011)

aka The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

"This year, discover how far adventure will take you."

Directed By: 
Details: 107 mins · English, Dansk

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Painfully Plain and Overly Absurd

There's this thing called "suspension of disbelief" that any viewer must retain when watching a film. Basically, the film must convince us that the world it portrays, with whatever rules it may represent, could exist. And this can work very well in even the most ridiculous of settings; Star Wars, for all its crazy alien species and technology, retains a believable setting because of the specific rules and details it creates. And, though viewers may know in their heart of hearts that Tatoonie and Coruscant can't exist, no matter how much they want to go there, their disbelief in these places are suspended while watching the movies because of how the piece is presented, allowing for these scenarios to be real as long as you are watching.
The Adventures of Tintin fails at this on all accounts, helping to make it a rather unbearable film to watch.
This is primarily because of the mixed messages the film presents us. For those who aren't aware, Tintin is a character in a comic book series ...(more)

There's this thing called "suspension of disbelief" that any viewer must retain when watching a film. Basically, the film must convince us that the world it portrays, with whatever rules it may represent, could exist. And this can work very well in even the most ridiculous of settings; Star Wars, for all its crazy alien species and technology, retains a believable setting because of the specific rules and details it creates. And, though viewers may know in their heart of hearts that Tatoonie and Coruscant can't exist, no matter how much they want to go there, their disbelief in these places are suspended while watching the movies because of how the piece is presented, allowing for these scenarios to be real as long as you are watching.
The Adventures of Tintin fails at this on all accounts, helping to make it a rather unbearable film to watch.
This is primarily because of the mixed messages the film presents us. For those who aren't aware, Tintin is a character in a comic book series who, alongside his trusty dog Snowy, solves mysteries, frequently historic in some capacity, like a young Indiana Jones. And so, it's to be expected that this film be cartoony in some manner to reflect this. However, while the animation is appropriately bright and colorful, how the characters are presented are rather lifelike, frequently looking like real people. And, combining that with the fact that this is all happening in real locales, and the film quickly creates an atmosphere in which these events could have reasonably occurred at one point. That is, except for the absolutely ridiculous and over-the-top antics that happen. And this isn't just in the sense of the action scenes being absolutely implausible, but people in this movie simply don't act like people. Whether they be overly simple archetypes drawn from the pages of the books, such as the overly silly and stupid Thompson and Thompson, or they just don't have the basic reactions that human beings do; a sleeping man is thrown out of bed and he doesn't even flinch. Someone breaks into their home and, rather than calling the police to get rid of their rival or perhaps torture them, instead waits for him to wake, taunts him a little, and promptly kicks him out. The alcoholic fumes of a man's burp fuels a plane temporarily. And, for characters existing in our plane of existence, fictional though they may be, this is taking things a little too far. Because of this, I quickly lost focus, finding the film both lacking in logic and any real interesting conflict.
This is because the plot is basically a chain of random occurrences coupled with frequent and lengthy chase scenes, I think half of the movie is just chasing, whether it be running after a pickpocket or running from captors. And the characters don't help this at all; Tintin, while the most bearable of them, can be reduced to a walking, talking computer, always speaking every thought he has aloud as he tries to piece together whatever mystery has fallen into his lap. Snowy is your stereotypical overly smart animal who is often more intelligent than the people present, which is both distracting and annoying, as it's very hard to relate to a non-talking being, despite it being the most intellectually capable being on screen. Captain Haddock, the third character on the cover of the DVD that isn't introduced until at least a third of the film is through, is incredibly irritating, a drunkard who is constantly doing stupid things because of how impossibly dumb he is, rivaling Thompson and Thompson in sheer stupidity. Meanwhile the villain is flat and disinteresting, retaining no memorable features. So, with the story and characters both retaining little in value or quality, there's almost nothing here to keep audience's attention, least of all the comedy, using the most tired and overused jokes in the book, mostly slapstick but without the proper punch to it..
Towards the end of the flick, there is some cool flashback scenes that are presented well enough, but even then it makes no sense as to how they are recalled, and that certainly can't redeem the whole movie, especially considering how long it takes to get there. Don't bother with this film, it's not worth your time. (less)

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Reimaginative

Reinventing a classic story is not an easy task. But the creators of 'The Adventures of Tintin; have done just that: they've taken a well-written and well-established canon of the original Tintin comics (from Belgium) and turned it into nothing short of a cinematic masterpiece.

I first saw this film in theaters with an old friend of mine; we are both men of the written word and had enjoyed the Tintin comics for many years (translated into English, of course) and were initially apprehensive to see what Hollywood could have done with one of our favorite pieces of literature. In the end, we were not disappointed.

The vocal performances of all the cast members were simply incredible. It was as if each character was chosen because their voices matched up perfectly to their character's “essence” (i.e. Elijah Wood playing the hero, Simon Pegg & Nick Frost playing two bumbling partners, etc.). What also worked along with their voices was the animation style, which overemphasizes certain ...(more)

Reinventing a classic story is not an easy task. But the creators of 'The Adventures of Tintin; have done just that: they've taken a well-written and well-established canon of the original Tintin comics (from Belgium) and turned it into nothing short of a cinematic masterpiece.

I first saw this film in theaters with an old friend of mine; we are both men of the written word and had enjoyed the Tintin comics for many years (translated into English, of course) and were initially apprehensive to see what Hollywood could have done with one of our favorite pieces of literature. In the end, we were not disappointed.

The vocal performances of all the cast members were simply incredible. It was as if each character was chosen because their voices matched up perfectly to their character's “essence” (i.e. Elijah Wood playing the hero, Simon Pegg & Nick Frost playing two bumbling partners, etc.). What also worked along with their voices was the animation style, which overemphasizes certain features on different characters for dramatic effect as well as homage to the comics. For example, the drunkard Haddock is animated with flush, ruddy cheeks and a bulbous nose, with which he was often drawn in the comics. It also adds to his overall look of clumsiness and ineptitude. The main antagonist is also drawn with sharp, pointed features and even has a pet hawk. If that doesn't scream BAD GUY, I don't know what does.

What struck me the most about 'Tintin' was the action sequences. One beautifully-animated chase scene, plane crash, or ship-to-ship battle after another exploded on screen, bathing the whole theater in its light. Just when you think they would end, something else pops up in the scene that keeps the sequence going, with all manners of mayhem, destruction, screeching tires, and yelling voices.

Despite the cacophony, it was still easy to distinguish what was going on in each scene, what the point was, etc. In other words, each sequence had a purpose and wasn't just there for thrill-seeking moviegoers, unlike SOME movies. I'm looking at you, J.J. Abrahams. (less)

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Great movie, but not a Tintin movie - it didn't have the right 'feel' at all. Thompson and Thompson were spot on, but neither Tintin nor Captian Haddock seemed true to the cartoon.

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Cast:

Small Red Rackham
Small Inspector Thompson
Small Pilot
Small Tintin
Small Captain Haddock
Small Thomson
Small Ernie
Small Lt. Delcourt
Small Silk
Small Allan
Small Pedro
Small Co-Pilot
No_movie_poster Afgar Outpost Soldier
Small Ben Salaad
No_movie_poster Lady in the Phonebox / Old Lady
Small Mr. Crabtree
Small Nestor
Small Sakharine

Crew:

Small Peter Jackson Producer
Small Steven Spielberg Director
No_movie_poster Kathleen Kennedy Producer
Small Edgar Wright Screenplay
Small Alice Teghil Casting
Small Steven Spielberg Production
Small Joe Cornish Writer
No_movie_poster Hergé Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Michael Kahn Editing

Taglines:

"This year, discover how far adventure will take you."

Plot:

Tintin (Bell), a young journalist, and his dog Snowy are browsing in an outdoor market in Brussels, Belgium. Tintin buys a miniature model of a ship, the Unicorn, but is then accosted by Barnaby (Joe Starr) and Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine (Craig), who both unsuccessfully try to buy the model from Tintin. Tintin takes the ship home, but it is accidentally broken, resulting in a parchment scroll slipping out of the model and rolling under a piece of furniture. Meanwhile, detectives Thomson and Thompson (Frost and Pegg) are on the trail of a pickpocket, Aristides Silk (Toby Jones). Tintin finds that the Unicorn has been stolen. He then visits Sakharine in Marlinspike Hall and accuses him of the theft when he sees a miniature model of the Unicorn, but when he notices that Sakharine's model is not broken, he realizes that there are two Unicorn models. Once Tintin returns home, Snowy shows him the scroll and after reading a message written on it, Tintin puts the scroll in his wallet, but the latter is stolen by Silk.


Later, Tintin is abducted by accomplices of Sakharine and imprisoned on the SS Karaboudjan. He learns that Sakharine formed an alliance with the ship's staff and led a mutiny to take over control. On board, Tintin meets the ship's nominal captain, Haddock (Serkis). Haddock is permanently drunk and thus unaware of the happenings on board his ship. Tintin, Haddock, and Snowy eventually escape from the Karaboudjan in a lifeboat but the ship's crew tries to ram the lifeboat. This fails because they instead notice an empty lifeboat that the Captain accidentally released before the escape and ram it instead. Presuming them to have survived by the number of lifeboats; Sakharine sends a seaplane to find them, which the trio seize and use to fly towards the fictitious Moroccan port of Bagghar, but the seaplane crashes in the desert.


Haddock hallucinates and remembers facts about an ancestor of his, Sir Francis Haddock (Serkis), who was a 17th-century captain of the Unicorn: Sir Francis' treasure-laden ship was attacked by the crew of a pirate ship, led by Red Rackham (Craig) and after his eventual surrender, Sir Francis sank the Unicorn, and most of the treasure, to prevent it from falling into Rackham's possession. It transpires that there were three Unicorn models, each containing a scroll; together, the scrolls can reveal the location of the sunken Unicorn and its treasure.


The third model is in Bagghar, possessed by Omar Ben Salaad (Gad Elmaleh). Sakharine causes a distraction in a concert that results in him successfully stealing the third scroll/ After a chase he gains all the scrolls by having his gang toss Captain Haddock in the ocean to force Tintin to go after him instead of saving the scrolls. After the boat leaves, Tintin is ready to give up but is persuaded by Haddock to continue. With help from officers Thompson and Thomson, Tintin and Haddock track Sakharine down, who is revealed to be a descendant of Red Rackham. They head back to their starting point and set up a trap but Sakharine uses his pistol to resist arrest. When his gang fails to save him Sakharine challenges Haddock to a final showdown. Sakharine and Haddock sword-duel with cranes and swords eventually resulting in Sakharine being defeated and pushed overboard the ship. When climbing ashore, Sakharine is arrested by Thomson and Thompson. Guided by the three scrolls indicating the location of Marlinspike Hall, Tintin and Haddock find there some of the treasure and a clue to the Unicorn's location. The film ends with both men agreeing to continue their search of the shipwreck.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2011-12-23 : United States of America

DVD : 2012-03-13 : United States of America