Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A Boy, His Dog, A Drunk, and Some Treasure

This is not your normal comic book adaption. There are no super heroes, no amazing gadgets, and no Marvel or DC. Just a boy, his dog, and a drunken sailor. Finally it's time to see Hergé's classic comic on the big screen and with such a fine cast and crew behind it, what could go wrong. Let's talk about The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn. (Woah, mouthful!)

Tintin (Jamie Bell) and his dog Snowy innocently buy a model boat at a street stall. Suddenly, the boat receives a lot of interest from a couple of mysterious men. Intrigued, Tintin keeps a close eye on the boat... Until Snowy knocks it to the floor. Inside the mast is a secret message. A clue. Clearly this is what one of the mysterious men was after as the flat is broken into but the clue remains safe. Tintin teams up with Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) and foolish inspectors Thompson and Thomson (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost respectively) To unveil the secret of the Unicorn before Ivanovich Sakharine (Daniel Craig).

There's no witty caption here. Just look at how wonderful that CG is.

Now this cast would be outstanding in any live action movie, and it’s just as spectacular in Motion Capture. It is important to remember that this is motion capture and not animation.  They’re not just voice actors, they’re actually acting. And yet, not a single character seems too much like the actor playing them. If you weren't aware which actors were in the film, you wouldn’t be able to tell. Try to tell the difference between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, I dare you. Daniel Craig is also superb. At no point did I realise that it was him who played Ivanovich Sakharine. Andy Serkis is absolutely hilarious as Captain Haddock. Only once did his comedy seem to dip into ‘dumb humour’, (Burping into a plane engine in order to keep it flying.) but that's a writing issue... I literally have no complaints about the acting in this movie.

Visually, this film caused my jaw to drop like no film has since Avatar. The very first shot of a person’s face caused a communal intake of air from every person in the cinema. It was simply breathtaking. And the transitions between scenes were completely flawless. Not only that, they were stunning. I've never been so captivated by a scene change. Even the opening sequence was a treat for the eyes. A miniature Tintin adventure as the creative teams names float around the screen. On top of all these things, the movie contains action sequences that rival any big scale blockbuster and they'll also make you laugh until it hurts. The first of two notable examples is a city wide chase sequence. There are bazookas, tanks, floods and a hell of a lot of chaos, and all in a single shot! The camera never cuts away from the action. The second incredible action sequence comes in the form of a flashback to the days of pirates. The story of the unicorn. A battle involving two ships with action on a scale to match, and beat, battle scenes in any Pirates Of The Caribbean films. I was in awe of this scene. The fire jumped off the screen, perhaps due to the 3D, and every single gun shot or cannon fire made me hold the edge of my seat. The whole scene is cleverly re-enacted later using cranes. You'll understand. I don't want to put any spoilers. And all that with just over half the budget for Avatar.

Captain Haddock thought he was in his favourite movie, North by Northwest and was overjoyed
Directed by a man considered a legend in the film making world and produced by an man of equal stature. Both Oscar winners, Steven Spielberg (director) and Peter Jackson (producer) know what they're doing. Hegre was even quoted to say that he believed on Spielberg could do Tintin justice. Personally, I have very few criticisms of this movie. My only big one being that it was too short (even at 107 minutes). Fortunately, there is going to be two more movies, so that's good. I laughed my socks off and was completely hypnotized by the picture. Sometimes, jokes did fall flat and admittedly, snowy was a better detective than Tintin at points, but the movie is a major achievement. I highly suggest it. However, I can't find myself able to give it the full five stars. It misses something. I'm not sure what.

Best bit? Personally, the battle between the two boats was just so outstandingly done I have to say that. It was simply stunning as well as incredibly exciting. 

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