More than 80 years after the comic strip was first published in a right-wing Belgium newspaper, The Adventures of TinTin will have a chance to captivate yet another generation’s sense of wonder through the exploits of the now infamous young reporter.
What strikes you from the opening scene is the breathtaking quality of animation. The ink-lined doodles of cartoonist Herge have been replaced with innovative, almost life-like 3D animation. Hair flows in the afternoon breeze while an artist captures TinTin’s likeness in a bustling European square. It’s a scene that grasps so near reality you can’t help but second-guess the validity of what you’re witnessing. Is it animation or a normal live-action flick?
It’s a relief to see the round-faced reporter make a rather seamless transition to the three dimensional big screen. His boyish complexion is mature enough to make his world travels fathomable and he retains enough youthful exuberance to keep pace with the fast moving script.
The cast and crew transverse the spectrum – tackling land, sea and air – on their hunt for the ship wreck of Captain Haddock’s ancestors. Do they find it? You’ll have to watch and see for yourself. But rest assured, even after more than eight decades TinTin still has a few tricks up his sleeve.
Director Steven Speilberg, along with the help of producer Peter Jackson, has managed to bring the old European feel of the comics well into the 21st century.
From start to finish, the feature is the action-packed adventure ride a lifelong-fan may hope for. Purist may object to the plot, a combination of early Herge classics, but those new to the TinTin storyline (this is a kids’ movie, after all) will appreciate the introduction to some classic characters.
The antics of Captain Haddock and bumbling slapdash humor of detectives Thompson and Thomson are in no short supply. Long cliché stunts somehow work in the new narrative. It turns out, yellow canaries circle after a wallop to the head can still be hilarious.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter if you’ve read every TinTin book or never heard the name, “The Adventures of TinTin: The Secret of the Unicorn” offers something the entire family can enjoy. The only downside may be that the plot and TinTin’s thought process moves too fast for younger viewers, but at least there are the gorgeous animation and out-of-this world action scenes to keep us all on the end of our seats.
But don’t fall off! The Secret of Unicorn looks to be just the first installment in a series of TinTin blockbusters.